Online printing is a very convenient service that provides low-cost and accessible print solutions for entrepreneurs as well as individuals who are looking for any printable done efficiently on the go.
Printers are now building websites to offer their customized print services across the globe and across the product range, right from customized t-shirts, jerseys, shoes to business cards, brochure and flyers to anything on designing and printing. As margins are shrinking and printing costs continue to rise, more and more print service providers are implementing online web to print shop to cut down on internal expenses and increasing profit margins.
For the curious and interested, here are the six successful examples of printers who decided to take their printing business online, how they were able to leverage the benefits of the power of internet and changing customer behaviour and why they continue to thrive.
Next Day Flyers is an online printing company that delivers top-quality printed marketing materials with one of the fastest turnaround time in the industry. They offer same day and next business day printing, as well as 2-4 day services, online ordering, and free design templates as per your needs. Their online printing services specialize in full color printing of custom business cards, brochures, greeting cards, postcards, as well as specialty die cuts and other marketing materials. When you’re up against a deadline or need to get the word out about your new products or services ASAP, Next Day Flyers could well be the online printing service you need.
David Handmaker founded the state-of-the-art printing company in a modern 36,000 square foot facility near Los Angeles International Airport in 1998. In 2012 he added a 30,000 square foot printing plant in New Jersey.
NextDayFlyers USP – 100% Money Back Guarantee
They print products that make customers smile. So when you’re not happy, they’re not happy and hence they back their every order with a 100% Money Back Guarantee!
According to Ray Pinard, the CEO of 48HourPrint, the company was founded in 2001 as Advanced Media Corporation, still the parent company today, and was publishing a nightlife magazine for the City of Boston called 411. The three founders, whose expertise was respectively in business, software development and website development, noticed that the online printing business was picking up and believed that it might be a better way of making money than selling ads for a nightlife magazine. They bootstrapped themselves to the point where the business was launched in 2003 and have been focused solely on online printing since that time. Today, the company has 90 employees and generates about $21 million in sales (yes, the sales per employee is $233,333 versus a commercial print industry average of about $150,000 to $175,000).
Pinard, who joined the company in 2006 and runs it with two of the original founders, has been focused on growing the business in several different areas, including increasing the range of product offerings which has now increase to 40 from 20 products being offered in 2016. Pinard has also grown the customer base to 25 identifiable market areas today, everything from service industries to manufacturing, non-profit, and political organizations. The company also receives offset work from a stable of small digital printers. For the last few years, they have been focusing on sticking to their mission of providing high-touch services to the customers. This included a continuous improvement in the functionality of their website and their automatic online proofing engine. Pinard says, “Once an account has been established, a customer can literally place an order in a couple minutes. That is important to us and to our customers.”
48HourPrint USP – Going Mobile
48HourPrint has also developed a mobile app, with versions for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry which is available in Amazon’s Android marketplace, Apps for Android. The app offers a convenient way for customers to gain instant pricing, track print orders and directly connect with Customer Service with a one-click “Call Us” button and an email option.
This second-generation app is focused on dealing with orders already in the system as well as reprints. This is largely due to the limitation with mobile devices as far as uploading the type of large graphics normally associated with a print file.
Zazzle, an American online marketplace allows designers and customers to create their own products with independent manufacturers (clothing, posters, etc.) It has partnered with many brands to amass a collection of digital images from companies like Disney and Hallmark. They claim to have over 300 million unique products listed on their website.
Zazzle was launched from their garage by Robert Beaver, Bobby Beaver and Jeffrey Beaver, and went live in 2005 as an ecommerce provider and used small color printers to produce its work. The company received an initial investment of US$16 million in July 2005 from Google investors John Doerr and Ram Shriram, and an additional investment of $US30 million in October 2007. The site was recognized by TechCrunch as 2007’s “best business model” in its first annual “Crunchies” awards, and has been noted by industry experts, such as B. Joseph Pine, for its easy-to-use technology. In 2010, Zazzle was recognized as one of the “Hottest Silicon Valley Companies” by Lead411. It is based in Redwood City, California.
Zazzle.com offers digital printing, and embroidered decoration on their retail apparel items, as well as other personalization techniques and items. The future is bright at Zazzle as the team applies their creativity to making the most of that of their customers. Already, exciting new applications for home décor and other uses are in planning stages, and the company looks forward to continued double-digit growth and an intimate partnership with HP.
UPrinting.com is a leading socially responsible online printing firm that have established itself as a major player in the industry being online since 2000. It serves thousands of on-demand business printing and graphic printing orders online daily, using high-quality press printing and a robust yet simple and easy-to-use online ordering system, resulting in high-end printing services and reliable color printing at discount printing costs.
With its signature easy-to-use website interface, UPrinting.com has earned customer loyalty by offering more customizable offset printing, digital printing and large format printing options than other online printers. The company is popular for its Free File Review, a complimentary proofing service which requires no upfront payment. UPrinting.com also offers convenient marketing support such as print design services, custom online printing quotes and direct mailing to help the small or medium-sized business grow.
Uprinting USP – Eco Friendly Printing
UPrinting.com is committed to social responsibility and eco-friendly printing initiatives that support non-profit organizations and environmental sustainability and have taken steps forward to truly offer an environmentally friendly green printing service. They recycle all unused paper scraps, printing plates and ink waste. Their vegetable-based inks offer a safer work environment for production staff by reducing harmful fumes and VOC emissions
They proudly use vegetable-based inks which have lower levels of VOC than traditional petroleum inks. This reduces harmful carbon emissions while creating a safer work environment.
When Robert Keane launched Vistaprint in 1995, he never could have envisioned it would become the world’s leading provider of printing services to small businesses. What are those printing services? For many, it’s all about the low-cost business cards Vistaprint has become synonymous for. But it’s much, much more than that. The company later also launched branded apparel to add it to its extensive list of offerings for small businesses.
Vista Print is based in Venlo, Netherlands and employs over 5,100 employees globally in its offices and printing facilities. The company’s U.S. offices are in Waltham, Massachusetts, while its European offices are in Barcelona, Spain. Today, they have manufacturing in three locations around the world (which total almost 800,000 sq ft)—Canada, the Netherlands and Australia—to serve all of their customers.
In 2007 the company was listed in the annual Graphic Arts Monthly 101 listing, as the 40th largest (by revenue) and the 4th fastest growing printing company in North America.
As they’ve grown bigger, they still realize who their core customers are. “In North America and Europe combined, there are about 50 million businesses with less than ten employees. Among those, about 90% are less than two employees and 80% one-person enterprises. So in fact, there are 40 million home-based or single-person firms. And we understand that their needs are different than a 10- or 20-person business. Those needs tend to be self-service and maintaining a professional image, all while dealing with a more constrained budget. That’s where we fit in.” Says Robert Keane
VistaPrint USP – Patented Technology
Through the use of its own patented technology, Cimpress aggregates large numbers of customized orders from each of its brands and print them in automated production facilities in North America and Europe. The company maintains a customer service call centre, Vistaprint Jamaica Ltd., in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It has been staffed by company employees since it was opened in November 2003.
Launched by founder Brett Heap in 2003, Overnight Prints has risen from a twenty-man operation set in an office and today is one of the most advanced printers around.
Overnight Prints’ website accounts for 100 percent of its business. The home page is constantly changing with a variety of offers. A table on the order page lets the customer choose rush delivery (overnight), fast delivery, standard or economy; prices pop up as the customer scrolls over each option. As long as the home page clock still shows time remaining, the client can submit an overnight order. The cut-off for rush orders paid by credit card is 8:00 pm Eastern Time. The only exception is printed full-bleed envelopes, which require three-day delivery times but may soon be shortened to overnight as well.
As a testament to the company’s quality and service, Overnight Prints boasts a large percentage of loyal repeat customers. When ordering business cards, the customer can upload a design in a variety of file types. Another option is a customized business card using an online library of industry- and theme-specific design templates. Or a card can be interactively designed using a wide choice of backgrounds, with an easy interface for adding personalized copy and uploading a company logo.
Overnight Print USP – Technology
Everything is under the control of a highly sophisticated system that begins in the firm’s IT department instead of a traditional prepress department. The company’s “in and out the door” process is designed for maximum production, highest quality and utmost precision. Just as Overnight Prints relies on its factory workers to produce the product, it also depends upon what seems to be an army of computer programmers, who can be found at the company headquarters in Irvine, California, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and even in Russia and Germany. A ticking deadline clock gives the precise time an order must be placed to ensure the overnight-rush delivery option. “Overnight Prints” is the name of the company, and they really mean it.
The secret to their success – a simple formula: Combine high quality products with eco-friendly practices and make sure it’s all delivered to you exactly when you need it… even if it’s tomorrow.
All the above companies have carved their way out and established themselves as preferred printing service provider to their customers. There are also many other examples of printing businesses that have used the web-to-print technology to boost up their business. But the crunch here is that, the ones discussed here have done it right at the right time and still pursuing it major revenue source!
Printing business is lucrative – it seems that you can make a fortune, simply by answering to the market demand with use of technology and invention and building your network to offer one stop printing solutions to your retail and corporate customers. In today’s world customer experience and convenience rules the game for any enterprise and printing is not an exception. Indeed, the demand is there but all you need to do is to understand the demand and have a strategy to fulfil it. There are many entrepreneurs jumping into the printing bandwagon but many of them fail due to lack of right business strategy or knowledge about the industry. Needless to say, the industry has a lot to offer and with a right web to print solution, serving as the cherry on the cake, you can start your own online printing business leveraging all the opportunities the print industry offers along with the changing customer expectations.