E-Productivity Software (EPS) used its EuroPrint user conference event in the UK to provide an insight into the development direction for its MarketDirect suite, previewing developments scheduled for release later in 2023 and into 2024.

Charlotte Tueckmantel, GM/VP, Global eCommerce, Publication & Enterprise Print, outlined the generic benefits of web-to-print, namely winning new business, fuelling overall growth and growing share of spend within existing customer accounts, also noting that customers generally want to work with fewer vendors, thus  simplifying their supply chains.

Reiterating the ‘platform’ nature of the MarketDirect suite , comprising the StoreFront, PackCentral, Cross Media and Fulfilment modules, Ms Tueckmantel outlined changes being rolled out in version 14 of StoreFront through 2023 and beyond. An improved buyer experience, particularly on mobile devices, is key to this, aiming to have the ‘fewest clicks to check out’. The incorporation of touch controls is also seen as something to engage both e-commerce customers and development staff within print companies.

SmartCanvas  tools are being rolled out across the suite components to facilitate easier site design and development, enabling updating of user interfaces and improving compatibility with mobile devices. These will also enable customers to personalise products for themselves. StoreFront already has integration with the Picscart image generation tools announced at Connect in January 2023 and these are expected to help solve the ‘content problem’ via ‘Moonpig-style’ templated designs for corporate or academic users who don’t want to tie up in-house graphic design resources; contextual online help and tutorials will also be available to help.

Coming in the autumn 2023 release of SmartStore will be increased SEO optimisation and a unified experience across desktop, tablet and phone implementations, while the Fulfilment module will gain support for trade show services and products. Another development will be SmartMatrix, a way of handling products that come in multiple versions or variants: a T-shirt offered in a choices of four sizes and five colours could mean 20 separate products to set up and manage, but they can all be administered as one product, for example. Plans for 2024 include the ability to include additional HTML pages within the StoreFront structure rather than linking to separate sites, more dashboard facilities and more intuitive workflows.