Online or Traditional Printing? Make the right decision!
Each printing company is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages. Online and traditional printing companies offer very different services, we have listed these differences to help you make the right choice, according to your needs.
Online printing services
Online printing is often cheaper since online printing companies have larger production means and an automated printing process. Ideally, if you have flexible deadlines, wait until they make price discounts or special offers to order, because they often do.
A certain freedom and flexibility
Many online printing services highlight their advantages in terms of speed and ordering ease.
In general, you can ask for quotes, order and pay on their websites. The fact that everything can be done online saves a lot of time. However to be efficient the site must be well done, understandable and easy to use.
These printing services are self-service, which means that you can order from their website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from your home or your place of work.
The advantage is that you aren’t dependent on opening hours as you can be when you have to work with a local printer.
Most websites offer you to organize the delivery by choosing, at your convenience, the place and date on which you wish to receive your printing products. But the delivery options depend on the printing company.
About the product quality
If you’re demanding or looking for a specific, original or luxurious product it may be better to contact a traditional print shop. In general, online services have larger production means, but their product quality has nothing to do with what physical print shops offer.
It makes sense, remember that processes are automated and that production is often done in large warehouses filled with professional machines.
For example, your products may be printed with the same machine and on the same sheet as other products with different color curves, to use most of the space on the sheet. This can have an impact on their colors. Colors are an essential part of your visual communication and branding, you don’t want them to be altered.
Online printing is the perfect option to print standard products without breaking the bank. But you get what you pay for in terms of quality and choice. The range of products is more limited. Generally, online print shops only offer the most standard supports, sizes, and weight options. They’re not your best option if you are looking for originality.
If you do not know much about design, it’s better to have your files checked by a graphic designer before sending them to print online. Indeed, the files must be prepared to avoid errors and ensure you have the result that you expect.
The customer relationship level
You don’t have the same customer service as in physical printing, but if you have a problem you can sometimes contact the customer service by email, on a chat or by phone, depending on the print shop and their website.
You can ask for as many quotes as you want without feeling annoying. However, with local printing services, this wouldn’t be necessary since the staff listens to you and guides you to the most appropriate solution for your project and your needs.
With online services, order preparation time is fixed. If you have an urgent order, you will not have the opportunity to specify it for faster processing. Besides, once you’ve confirmed the file, you can’t cancel the order anymore.
Many online services guarantee the best quality. This is an important argument as the risk of having failed impressions one of the biggest worries of the customer. But this risk will always be higher with an automated service, because the control is limited. Your files will be printed exactly as you send them, design errors won’t be corrected, you better master the creation of printing files.
A well designed flyer once printed
A poorly designed flyer once printed
With online printing services, you can only have a digital printing proof, so you may be disappointed when you receive your order. Indeed, the colors that we see on a screen are in RGB while the colorimetric system of the print is in CMYK.
Customer reviews are one of the few means you have to judge whether or not you want to order with a certain website.
Online payment has the advantage of being fast and secure. Most sites offer you to go through a secure payment platform like PayPal for example.
By cons, as for most online services, you must pay when placing the order, there is no other choice. This can be a problem if the print job is bad, because you must make a claim and processing times are often long, whether you want a refund or a reprint of your order.
Traditional printing companies
Working with a local print shop, your customer experience will be completely different.
These printing companies usually offer support and personalized advice to customers.
They are also more available and easy to reach when it comes to informing and reassuring you when you have doubts or questions about your project. Their trained staff can make suggestions you would not have thought of to improve the quality of your products and give you the best printing results.
Safety and comfort
They offer a complete service and can take care of everything from the creation of the file to the delivery, if you wish so.
For example, imagine that your design skills are limited, that you don’t know how to add bleeds and trim marks, and your files are not ready for printing: your local print shop will always check your files, something that online services simply can’t offer.
In addition, you can have a “physical” proof to know exactly what your products will look like and not be surprised when the delivery is made.
More accommodating services
Most local print shops offer a variety of payment options to choose from, such as payment by installments or cash on delivery, so you can see your products before payment.
They also provide better control over production and delivery times. If you need your order for a specific date and time and your local printer agreed to do it, you can be sure that they will meet the deadlines.
Physical printing companies are teams of trained professional printers that offer you their expertise. They are familiar with the products and techniques that exist.
Their passion for the world of graphic arts and their years of experience are a plus.
If you are looking for an original or specific product, printers will advise you because it’s their job. They know what’s available on the market and what’s new.
In addition, they have encountered all the most common printing or design problems, and they can solve them.
In a local print shop, you will have more choices in terms of supports, sizes and printing techniques.
Often, if they don’t have the technology for a particular printing process, they rely on their network of suppliers. They will know who to contact to have the best price or the best quality. So you don’t have to waste time looking for new suppliers, you have a single contact who takes care of everything.
But priced accordingly
The care taken at work has a price. Printers can advise you, but this step requires time, which explains higher management fees.
Printers have higher commercial leasing costs and salary costs. This is why their prices can sometimes be higher than those of online services. But it depends on the order and the products.
For example, they can be a more expensive solution for small orders, since the cost of preparation and handling work is a large part of the final amount.
How to make your final choice?
Not sure whether placing an order with your local printer or an online printing shop? Your choice will depend on the type of product you are looking for, the size of your business, your knowledge of design and technology, the quality of customer service you want, and your geographic proximity to a print shop.
Get informed online. Visit the websites of the printing companies, you will be able to see the range of products that they offer and judge their expertise by reading their blog posts.
Sometimes they also have social media pages, so you can see if they share product pictures and check out their news to get an idea of their services.
Also take into consideration the reputation of the service and the final cost. Read customer reviews and feel free to ask for quotes to compare prices.
There are “hybrid” services somewhere between traditional and online printing services.
For example, small printing companies that have an online store where they only sell their most standard products. Or online print shops that offer a customer service that equals the one you can get in the local ones.
What about PCG in all this?
At PCG, we specialize in digital printing, offset printing, large format printing, last-minute printing, and the design and production of eco-friendly cardboard furniture.
We are a company that has values. Our team is committed to protecting the environment. Our actions include:
- Recycling our surplus production
- Recycling of your products, we will do it for free on request
- The use of ever more environmentally friendly means of production, for instance thanks to our HP Latex 335 large format printer and its ecological inks
Our team has more than 10 years of experience. We are used to working with any type of client, but especially with companies participating in professional events (trade shows, conferences, …) or with freelance. We do our best to offer you excellent product quality and impeccable customer service.
Our premises are located in the city center, in the 22@ technological district of Barcelona. You can come to our workshop if you wish, to talk directly about your project with our printers and our sales team.
Our offer includes standard printing products:
As well as more creative products:
- recyclable cardboard furniture
- white ink prints
- printing on creative media
- shops and booth decoration
You can see pictures of our products on our Instagram account.
We do our best to adapt to you and your needs. We also offer various means of payment (bank transfer, credit card, cash, online card payment, discount).
You can also pay by installments or on delivery, this way you can see the printing results when paying.
Contact with PCG
If you need a personalised quotation or would like our team to provide you with assessment for your projects, please feel free to contact us. We are a team of professionals from the sector that will look after your project from beginning to end.