be.print is the name of Lead-Print’s new online print ecosystem, which is designed to connect print shops and corporates easily, quickly and seamlessly with each other and, if required, with external service providers. With the new 360° mass customization platform, the Willich-based provider of B2C and B2B store environments aims to take web-to-print and print procurement to a new level, according to an official press release.
Lead-Print managing directors André Hausmann and Gopal Nath formulate the background to be.print as follows: “We are convinced that successful online printing will consist of many special services in the future. Print shops will have to react even more flexibly to the needs of companies and keep up with the pace of innovation in modern marketing departments. The software used must also support this: It must be modular, ready to use quickly, and able to ‘talk’ to other market players in a barrier-free and transparent way and exchange information via interfaces. This requires an open software architecture that takes a comprehensive approach, i.e. does not exclude any side.”
What is behind be.print?
At the heart of be.print is the be.open API, a middleware programmed from scratch to act as a production interface linking companies and print service providers and enabling the exchange of quotes and jobs based on attributes such as metadata, prices, delivery times, and so on. They say it operates in a similar way to a large producer database, which not only allows companies to find the right service provider for their products, but also enables print shops to network with each other and, true to the dropshipping principle, offer and use products as well as services.
As Hausmann and Nath explain, the be.print Concepts form the second pillar of the new ecosystem. These, in turn, conceal predefined presets of functionalities and services for specific purposes, such as for classic closed-shop or open-shop order portals, for multichannel marketing campaigns, dropshipping and reseller stores, or for customizable products. The functional scope of a be.print Concept can also be expanded with more than 250 additional modules.
Less setup, more doing
The interaction of be.open API, be.print Concepts and the consistent benefit orientation should enable users on both sides – regardless of whether they are a print service provider or a company – to implement the solution more quickly without, according to Lead-Print, “having to deal with the technical setups.”
Incidentally, Lead-Print describes in detail in a white paper how be.print is structured and functions, and which be-print concepts will be available at the planned launch in fall 2023.
Why the platform idea is timely and correct
At first glance, be.print naturally focuses on the be.open API as the interface and main technical component – and rightly so, because the know-how and logic it contains are extremely valuable. However, what is much more exciting is what is made possible by the API: Not only that orders from corporates will no longer be placed because there is no other way per supplier contract, but can be routed to the ideally suited print shop in each case on a product-related basis. Smaller print shops will also be able to access corporates via the be.print ecosystem and expand their own portfolios by bringing their own jobs into the online print ecosystem. Keyword dropshipping.
However, the platform approach is not something fundamentally new. After all, well-known print brokers such as sourc-e or WMD are based on a similar idea. However, the special feature that Lead-Print brings to its 360° mass customization ecosystem can be described as a real asset: That’s because the Lead-Print team has long since built a solid foundation with the open and closed store environments that have enabled printers to enter e-commerce or connect with corporates for more than 20 years.