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Blog / How can entrants survive when print giants rule the show?
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How can entrants survive when print giants rule the show?

Printing is one of the oldest industries and surely has giants ruling it. It’s one such industry which runs highly on thin price margins and high entry costs, if one wants to enter into complete printing set up. According to an article by PRWEB.COM, the printing industry in USA is highly fragmented, with the four largest printing companies accounting for approximately 25.0% of the industry’s revenue. This is the story of more or less major printing markets in the world.

Printing industry is ruled by multinationals like R.R. Donnelley, QuadGraphics and Cimpress . The rise of digital printing and a decreasing in domestic demand has encouraged this industry for globalization which is expected to increase over the next five years because industry operators look abroad for new markets. As these multinationals have abundant resources, huge marketing budgets, IT skills and infrastructure, powerful brands, seasoned managerial and management skills and customer reach, it’s easy for them to diversify their business beyond local boundaries.

Still, majority of printing companies operate on a local or regional basis, customers being within a 100 miles to 300 miles radius of facilities in order to limit transportation costs and delivery time.

With such a situation what can be strategies adopted by print entrants or local printing businesses for surviving in such competitive market. Here are some tips for you to combat this print war –

Introspection of your business

No matter whom your competitor is, the most important thing is to define your business objective clearly, identify what you actually want to sell and profile your customers so you can serve them better.  Recognize that a larger business is not necessarily your competition. Ask yourself how you are different. If the competition is larger they will have a lot of advantages that you won’t because of their scale and size. So don’t compete on those levels. Recognize that you have a lot of potential to be better and stronger in ways they can’t—likely you are more nimble and ready to make change and adapt to trends and customer requests and you can connect on a more personal level with customers. Use these differences to your advantage and compete as a different business.

Enrich Customer Experience

After all customers is the king for multinationals as well as for small printers too. Customers always look for delightful experience or something beyond their expectations. Establish longstanding relationships with customers that are simply unavailable to foreign companies. Offer distinctive products that appeal to local tastes, which global companies may be unable to produce cost effectively. Capitalizing on these internal strengths can definitely give undue advantage over print giants.

Online Presence is Important

Offering printed and personalized products online (as an eCommerce business) is still one unrealized, untapped and big market. eCommerce for fashion, food, travel and all other industries are booming because of customers being online 24*7*365. Similarly, online printing portal can be such option where one can easily reach customers. Adopt such cutting edge technology means to expand your reach and embrace more customers offering convenience and better customer support.

Prepare yourself for web to print implementation with this free webinar –on 24th August 2016.

Additional Services

Forward and backward integration is not new for businesses considering expansion, and with technology in place, it’s easy. As a printer and one equipped with online presence you have so many business models you can explore. Before deciding what are you going to add in your portfolio, go for customer survey. Look what most of your customers are looking for in your existing portfolio, are they looking for design services, or for media mailing services or multichannel enablement or variable data printing or any other service. With this study, you can setup one stop solution for most of their needs.

Pricing Competitively

Big companies have advantage of keeping prices low and still earning profits. Small firms don’t enjoy these benefits but they can keep them at par by adding more services to their portfolio and switching to value based pricing models. A customer never hesitates to pay more if he is getting more than what is expected out of vendor. Value based pricing can be based on anything like offering personalized products, sending them e-mailers on birthdays or special occasions with discount coupons, helping them in designing graphics, suggesting them good way of maintaining their print marketing campaigns and many more.

With some of these strategies in place, one can easily create a niche market for his business. But there should be continuous efforts to improve each and every important aspect of your business for your customers. After all it’s only you who knows your business and customers better than anyone.


CEO and Co-founder at Design'n'Buy.