Vistaprint.com has made quite a splash in the online printing business. Before the company opened shop in the 90s, it was hard to find a store or service that would provide professional quality printing in short runs without charging a ton. It was at least partly because Vistaprint was doing such great business that OfficeMax and Staples began offering similar services for small businesses and individuals. The Vistaprint.com business model is ingeneous: Print small orders for online customers in large batches, by grouping similar orders (for example, all the flyers to be printed on orange paper with black ink are printed at the same time on the same machine) and printing them as if they were huge orders of the same document. Their process for grouping similar orders from hundreds of different digital orders is technical and complex. In fact, many of the processes involved are trade secrets protected by a number of patents.
The basis of Vistaprint.com is standardization and automation. They rely on algorithms and computers to do the heavy lifting for them, and this is part of the reason they have become so profitable and successful. The company has grown in profit and number of employees consistently over the last few years and is the 4th fastest growing printing company in the world.
Standardization, automation, and size come with tradeoffs. It is difficult to take care of customers individually when your company is the size of Vistaprint.com. Design is left up to the user and their desktop computer for the most part, and the service is not much good if you need formatting help or design advice. The services are cheap and easy to use, but come at the price of impersonal service and little help if users aren’t designers themselves.
A customer service based printing company like The Printing Peach offers many of the advantages of a big company like Vistaprint.com without so much automation and standardization. We do what we can to keep overhead low and deliver great print products to our customers for low prices. The difference comes down to people. We don’t want to leave real people out of the design and printing process. We have real people handling orders along with computers and algorithms, and we always have people talking with customers about their orders, making sure the process is as efficient and pleasant as possible.Posted in Print