It's a Whole New Vista for VistaPrint

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It's a Whole New Vista for VistaPrint


By Chantal Todé


ATLANTA -- Its new status as a public company wasn't the only news custom printer VistaPrint had to report at DMA¥05 this week. The Lexington, MA-based firm also has a new catalog, a greatly expanded line of holiday cards and a new, highly automated printing facility.


VistaPrint dropped the first copies of its new catalog Sept. 30 to 100,000 of its best customers, which are mainly small businesses with 50 employees and fewer. Another 100,000 went out Oct. 10 to prospects. A final round of 100,000 copies mailed to inhouse names, some of which also received the first mailing.


VistaPrint.com was founded in 1999. Today it has 5 million consumer and BTB customers and gets 3.6 million unique visitors a month. The company offers a wide variety of customizable print products, from business cards to brochures, thanks in part to several patented technologies that automate the printing process and the design process for customers.


The 24-page catalog, VistaPrint 2005 Holiday Card Collection, showcases a selection of the 300 customizable cards the company offers at its site, vistaprint.com. That number is up from the 50 cards it offered in this category last year, the first time VistaPrint offered holiday cards.


"Our goal is to double our revenue in this category this year," VistaPrint chief marketing officer Janet Holian said.


Types of cards on display in the catalog include traditional, humorous, religious and international themes as well as company/logo cards, photo cards, invitations, caricature products and Special Olympics cards. There's a wide breadth of designs that customers can customize themselves, Holian said. Prices start at $3.99 for 10 4-by-8-inch postcards. The cost of 100 folded cards is $49.99. Orders as large as 20,000 are accepted. The catalog directs customers to a special landing page, vistaprint.com/holiday, or a toll-free number to place their orders.


A green circle on the front cover of the catalog highlights a promotion offering half price on holiday cards and free seven-day shipping.


VistaPrint also plans to mail a business products catalog soon that will highlight the Web site's customizable offerings, including business cards, logos, postcards, brochures and presentations.


"With the upgrade to the designs that we've made, we need to get [samples] into people's hands so they could look at them," Holian said of the decision to start doing catalogs.


In addition, VistaPrint showcased a new capability to handle smaller orders with a special offer to DMA¥05 attendees of 100 free postcards. Previously, 250 was the smallest offset printing order accepted. Any orders smaller than that were done by laser printer. However, since June, when VistaPrint opened a highly automated printing facility in Windsor, Ontario, the company can handle offset printing orders as small as 100 and still keep prices low, Holian said.


Set-up time for each job is less than two minutes at the new 68,000-square-foot facility, which regularly prints more than 10,000 customized orders in one day. By aggregating the orders and printing them in a highly automated facility, VistaPrint reduces costs associated with traditional short-run printing. Processes that are automated at the new facility include the loading of the color plates and the cutting process.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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