Earlier this week, Vistaprint N.V. ( VPRT) changed its corporate name and ticker symbol to Cimpress N.V. (CMPR). According to the company, the change in the corporate name is a conscious effort to distinguish the corporate entity and its technology and operational mass customization platform with the growing portfolio of customer-centric brands like Vistaprint, Drukwerkdeal, Albelli and Pixartprinting. The namesake and other brands will continue to be an integral part of the company with their respective brand identities and will continue to facilitate customized marketing solutions for clients.
In addition to the name change, the company announced it will invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” over the next five years to develop proprietary software and production technology to evolve its operational capabilities into a shared mass customization platform (MCP).
According to PrintWeek’s Simon Nias, the new MCP will also support the production of the growing range of non-traditional print products available via the Vistaprint brand, as well as continued development of its browser-based design and editing tools.
“We recently introduced a beta site called PromoSpot, which can be found as a tab off of our Vistaprint site, that offers personalised, decorated apparel and soft goods. Customers can embroider clothing, bags, and even beach towels,” Cimpress founder and chief executive Robert Keane said.
The Boston Globe reports that Cimpress, which currently employs 850 people at its North American headquarters in Lexington, MA, will add some additional software developers to help build the MCP platform. Every company under the Cimpress umbrella will eventually use the new software, starting with its planned debut in June 2016.
COMMENTARY: CHANGE OR ELSE
It was particularly interesting to read Keane’s quotes in Dan Adams’ Boston Globe article.
Keane said Cimpress’s main competitive advantage remains its sophisticated computer-managed manufacturing process, which allows the company to schedule, print, and package millions of unique products without pausing to adjust equipment between each order. Because such expertise is so valuable — and so expensive to build — Cimpress said it will move away from its strategy of reeling in customers with free initial orders.
“We realized the strength of our brand goes way beyond price,” Keane said. “We still want to offer good value, but we’re moving toward having much more customer service and higher-quality products.”
Cimpress is a $1.5 billion company. If it can’t afford to give away printing neither can any of its considerably smaller fellow printers. Indeed, Cimpress hopes some smaller operations will essentially use it as a trade printer. Any printer currently doing a lot of commodity work will surely have to have its ducks in a row. Take a page from Cimpress’ playbook—diversify, automate and eliminate freebies!