6 Workflow steps you really need to efficiently manage your print publishing as a retailer
Print brochures (inserts/flyers) continue to be an important part of a retail chain’s marketing, as has often been mentioned. They are an important orientation for the shopping consumer. If they are created by modern software designed for this purpose, they can even provide real-time information and offers for digital formats.
The process for creating these marketing pieces can be complex, tedious, and expensive. Layout planning can be done on handwritten notes, separate Excel spreadsheets, or both. Asset management and page design can be just as laborious – manually finding, opening, or placing images and text in InDesign, using a separate server with no DAM. Proofing and approval can consist of physical proof output and markup, accompanied by long email and phone conversations. The final product can then consist of individual PDF files for each version, and so does not yet have a link to the retailer’s online advertising space.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are six highly automated workflow steps that can eliminate manual drudgery.
1. Campaign Planning
Retail product managers and designers are often scattered around offices worldwide, especially with the recent rise in remote working. Comosoft LAGO provides a common whiteboarding environment for all stakeholders. Marketing managers can easily select the products to be featured based on profitability, availability, and other factors, and designate where they should appear in the circular. They can also insert store specials and other variables. The data for these decisions are available instantly from the retailer’s integrated Product Information Management (PIM) system, Digital Asset Management (DAM), and related databases. Once a campaign is underway, the marketing manager can track the success of a particular product or group of products.
2. Asset Management
In LAGO, the marketing manager and designer do not have to manually locate and update the many images, descriptions, SKU numbers, and countless other variables associated with each retail product. Instead, LAGO’s integration with DAM systems pulls in and allocates all of these elements – plus special offers – as “blocks” of related visual pieces for a designer to finesse in Adobe InDesign. If a product image or other component is replaced or changed in the DAM, it is automatically updated in the layout until shortly before printing.
3. The Production Process
Adobe InDesign is the most common software for designing and editing print products, but manual editing is resource-intensive and prone to errors. In the design process, retail brochures are prone to content inconsistencies because each product on the page contains many related text and image elements that must be transferred from other systems. LAGO provides you with a design management environment that automates manual tasks and reduces errors. Related product information and images stay connected to their respective data sources.
4. The Proofing Process
Manually created proofs and disconnected markups are a thing of the past. Instead, LAGO can automatically generate a digital proof of any project (and its localised versions) for online review and annotation. Timestamped comments and corrections can be easily found, creating a reliable and secure audit trail. The user-added correction marks are linked at the offer and/or page level and overlaid directly on the document in InDesign. Change requests are easily and automatically conveyed to the production designer.
5. The Approval Process
During the proofing process, it is normal for more than one person to review the product with all promotional components for accuracy and approve proposed changes or corrections. In the past, this was an extensive process that was passed from one person to another – even for digital documents. With LAGO, the approval process is parallel and highly automated. Authorised managers are notified of pending page reviews and can approve or modify them from anywhere in the world. LAGO’s integrated, visual approach reduces the time required for approval and significantly shortens the overall time-to-market for multiple flyers and their regional or branch-specific versions. In addition, the status of each component of a campaign can be tracked and easily monitored so that potential bottlenecks can be easily identified and resolved.
6. Production Output
Print runs for multiple versions of a complex retail brochure have been a logistical challenge. Retailers spend many resources customising the various product offerings based on regional and individual input – with each manual edit introducing the possibility of errors. Comosoft LAGO automatically creates and manages an unlimited number of versions of each brochure. Each version is tailored to the needs of a region or branch, while maintaining a solid link to PIM and DAM data. Thus, a designer’s work in creating a flyer is automatically reused for multiple, region-specific versions, all under the control of the company’s marketing strategy.
Printed circulars also have an online companion – the retailer’s mobile app or browser-based content. Each offer in a circular or version must also have the same offer online, with the same region- or store-specific variations. Fortunately, this does not have to involve “re-inventing the wheel”. LAGO campaign data for printed circulars export to an online mobile app – including product availability and location in a particular store.
The drudgery of creating circulars and other retail marketing material is a costly burden for any organization. Thankfully, manual labor is significantly reduced via intelligent integration of a company’s data sources with the workflow automation available in Comosoft LAGO.
Contact us for a demonstration of how Comosoft LAGO can multiply your efficiency in producing print and digital retail marketing content.