Print Three Case Study
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Print Three

Case Study: Print Three Drives Significant Online Growth Using Racad Tech’s Web to Print Technology

The Situation

Print Three is a Canadian Print Franchise network of 46 franchise locations across Canada that provides print and marketing services. For over 40 years, Print Three has prided itself on consistently leveraging technology to meet the changing needs of its customers. Subsequently, Print Three realized in the early 2000’s that enabling customers to order print online would only increase in importance over time, and positively impact their bottom line.

Print Three needed a solution with the flexibility to solve two primary issues:

  • Providing a consistent and reliable method for customers to submit files online to any location in Canada
  • Providing its franchise owner the ability to easily create and support customized storefronts for their business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) customers

Print Three then realized it had to complement their web technology initiatives with a marketing strategy that reflected its advancements within the industry.

Part 1: The Web to Print Solution

Print Three wanted to provide customers with a convenient way to submit files for printing that would minimize the interaction needed between the print shop staff and customers, while improving the quality of the files being received. Developing a more automated job submission process would free up resources at owner-operated locations (which typically have fewer than five staff members) to focus on more value-added tasks. Finding an easy-to-use tool would also enable customers to submit work on their own and improve their overall experience with Print Three.

Print Three had researched several web to print platforms to aide in their initiative to offer B2B storefronts for their corporate clients.  Print Three reviewed Press-Sense by iWay, Digital Store Front by EFI, Job Ready by Adobe and Four51, to name a few. Print Three concluded that its online order system needed to be flexible enough to meet a wide variety of customers’ needs. The company invested in ePOWER Online (, now called Web to Print Technology, powered by Go ePower (W2PTech, from Racad Tech, which offered multiple ways for customers with varying skill-sets to easily order print online. The investment has helped Print Three better serve customers and maintain production efficiencies. For example, Print Three offers customers the ability to print from their own software applications (e.g., Microsoft Word, Publisher, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, etc.) using a client-branded print driver powered by Racad Tech’s GOPrint2 technology, while simplifying the online ordering process by enabling B2B portals with a catalogue of commonly ordered products by that client.

What Print Three favoured about Racad Tech’s solution was their price point and the willingness to respond to custom demands required by their network. In retrospect, Print Three felt that it avoided a “train-wreck” for their network since:

  1. EFI was too cost prohibitive and would not assist in adaptability of their web stores
  2. iWay went out of business despite being backed by all the large OEM’s at the time.

The RACAD technologies have proven to be consistent with the best practices over the years, adapting to the needs of printers and their customers and their customers alongside the ever-changing technological waves of best practices.

For other customers, Print Three leverages Racad Tech’s uDraw technology, which allows users to upload, start with an existing template, or create an entirely new document.

Custom B2B Store Fronts

The Print Three network found that it was difficult to establish a storefront that would accommodate for its diverse B2C and B2B customers because most of the standard solutions were too rigid to be practical. There are structural differences (e.g. open vs. closed account access) when creating a storefront for B2C or B2B audiences, but all customers tend to have a different set of requirements in regards to how the site looks and functions. To this end, Racad Tech offers several methods for customizing the look of the website. Programmers can use the Bootstrap front-end framework to control elements of HTML, CSS, and Javascript for complete customization of the site. Non-programmers can use the included menu-driven selections for basic customization. In either situation, the solution can be customized for that particular client’s needs. Overall, the Racad Tech solution offered Print Three and its customers the flexibility to meet their unique needs.

Part 2: Investing in 1-to-1 Marketing – Incorporating XMPie

In 2007, Print Three took “one step backwards, two steps forward” when they decided to jump into the 1-to-1 Marketing space by investing in XMPie desktop licenses for some of their top performing stores. Unfortunately, the network found the web store components too limited in their capabilities, while the design components of the technology were too cumbersome and technical. This resulted in non-usage for the better part of a year.

Determined to simplify the process, Print Three asked Racad Tech to analyze the capabilities of XMPie and incorporate their capabilities within Web to Print Technology, powered by Go ePower. Within the year, Racad Tech had incorporated XMPie within their W2P Tech systems in order to justify the investment in XMPie and simplify the process in ordering 1-to-1 marketing pieces from W2P Tech’s library of XMPie-related files.

Using RACAD’s platform, the Print Three network gained the confidence to spring board into the 1-to-1 Marketing space, leading to more complex projects that leveraged 1-to-1 technology. The merging of the technologies increased the buy-in of additional XMPie desktop licenses and improved the B2B offering within the Print Three network.

Multiple File Formats with W2P Tech

Print Three also found that a single solution approach would not offer franchises enough flexibility for creating, hosting and supporting variable data applications. Print Three uses:

  • uDRAW for HTML5 for configurable products whereby a design online interface is required
  • PDFlib for simple document structures (i.e. form fill)
  • XMPie for more complex document/data structures

Leveraging multiple technologies, Print Three could exploit the strengths of each while offering the customer a unified customization and ordering process through Racad Tech’s web-to-print platform, Web to Print Technology. PDFlib is an inexpensive developer toolbox (largely due to flexible licensing and support options) for creating PDF files where “blocks” can be defined within the PDF file for the variable data elements. Racad Tech has simplified and enhanced the implementation of PDFlib through the use of block commands.

By using PDFlib and block commands, Print Three has cut the time needed to create simple, form field driven variable data products (e.g. business cards, letterheads and envelopes) by 50% compared to other methods such as XMPie.

But not all variable data needs can be met by using PDFlib. In cases where the customer requires:

  • Sophisticated variable data documents
  • Multiple or more complicated data sources
  • Multi-channel campaign features,

then, XmPie technology is used.

How the variable data field is presented to the user within W2P Tech, powered by Go ePower, for PDFlib or XMPie products, can also be fully controlled using simple HTML/CSS (cascading style sheets) within the Bootstrap framework that’s embedded in W2P Tech. In fact, the Bootstrap framework is an effective way to control the styling of the entire site, and inexpensive templates are readily available for purchase online to ensure your website always looks cutting edge.

Print Three has routinely found uses for these types of features that Racad Tech incorporates into their web-to-print software and appreciates their “technology forward” approach, which ultimately allows Print Three to better serve their customers.

Part 3: The Marketing Solution – A Franchise Model

Print Three Franchising Corporation has always been dominant and progressive when it comes to the adoption of new technological and marketing initiatives. Print Three was no stranger to search engine marketing. With a consistently long track record for positive results on their corporate website  since 2001, Print Three had the determination to dominate the top search results for print shop and print-related service key words in Canada.

Print Three sourced top talent and technology to facilitate their web-to-print strategy and maximize their exposure nationally for all of their print locations across Canada. They then created an intuitive website management system that governed all of Print Three’s highly optimized websites, all equipped with the best-of-breed, web-to-print technology. All individual store locations and franchise owners were interviewed to offer maximum content differentiation on their personalized geo-localized websites.

Print Three Franchising eventually made it its mandate to subsidize all their stores with web-to-print capabilities. They began with the launch of RACAD’s File Upload product. In subsequent years, additional web-to-print capabilities were added to include the following:

  • Web to Print Technology, powered by Go ePower – client facing B2B portals
  • Print Three Mailer – a  W2P Tech customized application
  • Go Print 2 – FTP replacement + PDF print driver + web upload file transmission
  • Print Three 1-to-1 Marketing – using XMPie within
  • Website Content Management System and Search algorithm for custom content and natural, high ranking search results

The Result – Supporting National Brands

  • Print Three network tripled its traffic in a few short months post-launch
  • Individual stores experienced increase in loyal customer acquisition and online orders
  • Multiple listings on page 1 for relevant stores, which is rare in corporate scenarios
  • Won 2 NAPL Marketing Plus Award for Web Presence & Corporate Identity

Print Three franchises offer services that were previously out of reach due to cost, technical and support reasons. The solutions provided by Racad Tech have allowed these small business owners to focus on growing their business instead of running the technology powering it. In fact, online orders from franchise owners increased by 26% over the last year and now represent several million in revenue.

And thanks to Racad Tech, Print Three became, and still is, the ONLY franchise network in Canada that can accommodate national accounts for national brands because of their subsidized web-to-print program, which is uniform across all stores within Canada.  Because Web to Print Technology, powered by Go ePower,  removes the worry of managing the web-to-print system and creating templates, Print Three could advance the needs of its franchise and those of its customers, wholly focusing on sales and production.