Online Print Estimating Software:
Nearly any standard e-commerce system and shopping cart would be a sufficient medium for most industries to sell their wares. However, the same is not true for the printing industry for two reasons. Most widgets are manufactured and sold as they are with very few options to customize or personalize. In print, it is simply not so. Everything in print is a customization from the content you want printed to the medium that you want it printed on. The materials can change, the shapes can change and the turnaround varies from consumer to consumer. What also adds a complication to the mix is that production prices may vary significantly based on the machine that is used to produce the product(s). All these variables make printing complicated and make the mediums for ordering very sophisticated.
To that effect, online print estimating software has been in some cases very difficult to master for both the technology providers and for print vendors looking to cut their quoting time or display it publicly to offer varying product and service options with their product offerings.
Online print estimating software in their simplest form have also been one of those necessary evils in Web to Print to allow the customer to consider an offset path. But the public display in pricing has demystified the industry by making print a competitive market space driven by the cheapest price.
There are at least 50 different printing estimate softwares that have crossed my desktop and there are probably over double that in the market place.