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VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

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  • VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

    Hi, everybody.

    Clearly, VistaPrint is the big gorilla in the online B2B printing world, but I'm wondering if anyone else out there is making serious inroads into competing with them. I know that ExpressCopy is doing well, but it's focused on the real estate niche. Then there are companies like 123print, AmericasPrinter, and iPrint, but is there anyone who comes even close to VistaPrint in size? Growth rate? It's so hard to tell from doing any kind of Internet search -- the online world is the great equalizer. Any opinions?

    (I'm not really thinking of PrintingForLess as a competitor since their business model [service-oriented rather than price-oriented] is so different.)

    Thanks,

    Heidi Tolliver-Nigro

    Edited by: Heidi Tolliver-Nigro on Oct 29, 2007 5:32 PM

  • #2
    Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

    Do a Google search for "business cards" and you'll see all the competitor's advertisements.

    Although I wouldn't consider myself anywhere close to being in the same league as VistaPrint.com, I've had a competing site (cardconnection.com) up since 1999.

    Other veteran competitors include OvernightPrints.com, PrintsMadeEasy.com, GotPrint.com, DesignYourOwnCard.com and IPrint.com.

    Everyday I see new sites popping up. In my opinion, the competition is making it very difficult to make money online anymore. Even with the commercial solutions currently available, a storefront package such as Pageflex with all the online creation features will run you close to $70k and require a year's worth of man power to configure and stock with enough templates to compete with VistaPrint. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that by giving business cards away for free or at best charging $3.99 it's going to be a while before you break even.

    Not sure what the future of retail Web-To-Print holds but it's definitely not the same as it used to be when competition was slim and search engine listings were free.

    Edited by: tarsi on Oct 30, 2007 1:30 AM

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    • #3
      Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

      Thank you. Yes, if you do an Internet search, all of the competitors pop up. That's why I was asking for insider insights. All competitors look equal on a website and a Google search.

      I'm also looking for input on differentiation in this marketplace. What I'm seeing so far is either a copycat of VistaPrint, with whatever services these sites can afford to offer now, or like ExpressCopy.com, an attempt to differentiate by developing a vertical market niche.

      Anyone out there competing on anything different? Making a run for VistaPrint's market by offering something unique? Or doing it substantially better?

      If there is, I'm not seeing it. I'm just double-checking to see that I don't miss anything.

      Thanks,

      Heidi Tolliver-Nigro

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      • #4
        Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

        What differentiates us is our raised print (thermography) products. VistaPrint doesn't offer what's known as "raised print".

        In 1999 when my site first launched it only offered raised print business cards. Digital presses weren't as readily available as they are today and as a consequence, full-color business cards were still cost prohibitive. Today, raised print (thermography) is actually more expensive than full-color because of the lack of any direct-to-print technology in the arena. Fortunately, there are still a few professions which prefer the more traditional look of thermography (ie legal, medical etc) to the more whimsical full-color printing.

        IMHO, to compete with VistaPrint on price with a comparable product is a loosing battle. You need to offer something that they don't (ie thermography, embossing, foil-stamping, die cutting etc.) The challenge is to convince people to pay for these additional services after seeing VistaPrint's advertised prices.

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        • #5
          Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

          I just took a look at ExpressCopy.com and aside from offering numerous technical issues which make it painfully slow, confusing and all around frustrating to navigate their site, I was wondering what they offer that VistaPrint doesn't? I'm not seeing any reason why I'd choose them over VistaPrint. Please enlighten me.

          Edited by: tarsi on Oct 30, 2007 4:22 PM

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          • #6
            Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

            Interesting question. I think it would be professional suicide, of sorts, to attempt "a run" at VistaPrint, as they have been known to sue those who try (See: [http://www.piworld.com/story/story.b...6020&var=story)|http://www.piworld.com/story/story.bsp?sid=56020&var=story|Sued Companies Deny Any Patent Wrongdoing]. It seems that a lot of smaller printers would love to have a piece of that action, but to build a machine the size of VistaPrint would require deep pockets, the likes of which most of us do not have. Modern Postcard may have a similar business model, but VistaPrint is positioned for the online consumer market.

            Jeff Lazerus
            Director, Digital & Imaging
            Annex Print and Mail Solutions
            Denver, CO
            [www.annexmail.com|http://www.annexmail.com]

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            • #7
              Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

              Best way to make money with VistaPrint - join their affiliate marketing prog and take the four bucks per referral! You can still sell your own specialised print, but the VistaPrint button will make you money for nothing.

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              • #8
                Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

                does anyone know what the 3 patents they are that were in question? I thought all they did was sell printing online, how can that be patented?

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                • #9
                  Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

                  I usually would go for [www.uprinting.com|www.uprinting.com] for printing needs.

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                  • #10
                    Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

                    Max, the 3 patents they have ain't worth the paper their written on. The whole business is a scam. Just search for Vistaprint Scam. The printing quality is usually crap, customer service non-existent and you gonna get signed up for a monthly charge from an unnamed discount club paying thru the nose for the cheap deal you got.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

                      Heidi, your best bet is to go for a niche market. There is plenty of business sitting around waiting to be picked up.

                      Just as an example, one of our printers set up templates for a popular franchise and approached individual franchisees.
                      The trick was that the master franchise tried to enforce where the printing is sourced from. You can guess what sort of prices the franchisees had to pay for their printing.
                      So, these guys set up templates, approached franchisees and started taking orders for like 1/2 the price, but the printing quality was even better and no deviation in branding.
                      The whole thing got blown out of proportions by the master franchise sending us, the [web2print provider|http://zetaprints.com] , a request to remove that printer from our system. I just told them to get lost.
                      I think they dropped the printing prices after that to avoid the embarrassment, but that printer still gets a steady stream of orders.

                      Feel free to contact me on max@zetaprints.com and I'll be happy to help you identify a good vertical market.

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                      • #12
                        Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

                        *There have been many who made a Run for Vista.*

                        --Print123 has beaten them to a #1 position on Google.
                        --Kodak launched $2 business cards to compete with them [Story here|http://printceoblog.wordpress.com/20...eff-hayzlett/]
                        --Mimeo has raised $25 million saying that they’ll compete with Vista [Story here|http://www.printaction.com/default.p...news-07-27-07]
                        --Lulu has stated that they will compete with them upon buying [Story here|http://printceoblog.com/2007/10/lulu-print-on-demand]
                        --allbusinesscards.com is beating them to position #1 on Yahoo for key term "business cards"

                        Vista is not permanent at the top. It will take any company with a good brand to launch one TV commercial and they'll be the top dog. All they need is [web to print|http://www.amazingprint.com] software that can give them conversions, enabelment and stickiness to their current offerings.
                        And speaking of brands.... what will happen to VistaPrint’s brand once Microsoft Vista becomes more popular? What would Google serve as a #1, 2 or 3 result when people search for Vista print? Print drivers anyone ?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: VistaPrint: Anybody Making a Run for Them?

                          Why would you at this point. How many competitors have stepped up to challenge Walmart?. Vista's value proposition seems to be derived from Walmart..."Always low prices" or "Save Money. Live Better ". They generate revenues through volume and work to streamiline operations to create profitability. Of course, the lowest manufacturing costs are realized using the latest digital print technologies which come with highest price tags so it limits the market participants to begin with. Going head to head in the retail market will lead to downward pricing and Vista, the Walmart of the space can afford to price competitors out of the market if they choose to do so.

                          So, let them have the space and focus on building value around custom Web to Print solutions to corporate customers. The goal should be to drive additional value by leveraging existing customer accounts. Offering Web to Print to corporate clients that already trust you with thier brand, image,digital content and customer data is more stable and creates a "hook" that helps you realize the Long Term Value of a client. Think of it this way, will a corporate customer give Vista thier annual report, employee benefit packages or customer bills and statements?

                          Successful W2P corporate implementations create new applications that drive incremental and profitable revenue. These leverage the content of the customer you already own and help them create not just static applications, but use the web to create targeted and integrated communications programs that achieve higher response rates, allow them to cross-sell and up-sell and realize substantial internal cost savings.

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                          • #14
                            GotPrint.com is very good in quality, pricing and customer service.

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                            • #15
                              We are attempting to compete with Vista Print... we are Blue Ink Monkey Printing Services... you can find out more about us by visiting our website at Blue Ink Monkey Printing Services - Home... but you can take an online tour of our facilities by visiting our online tour.

                              I think we have a good chance, we have so many marketing plans in place... wish us luck.

                              Curtis Palmer
                              Blue Ink Monkey Printing Services

                              Comment

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