Vistaprint was founded in Paris, France in 1995 to close the gap in the printing industry’s market with regard to the micro or small business, with short run, high volume printing.
Vistaprint provides graphic design services to consumers and small businesses worldwide. Its product offerings include brochures, calendars, business cards, flyers, letterhead, photos, note cards, newsletters, and invitations.
Vistaprint’s “secret sauce” is its printing technology. Its website uses a proprietary software – which it’s continually tweaking to make more effective and easier to use – that allows customers to create and order ultra-sharp print products.
Using advanced technology to group similar orders in large groups, Vistaprint produces large numbers of orders in short runs. This allows for consumers to get quantities in low volumes, as low as ten for example, rather than thousands. Using the Internet as a medium, graphic design is offered through online design studios. Anyone can then design a product and order it through the site. These processes and manufacturing methods have been incorporated across the company’s vast product line.
Vistaprint applies the principles of mass production to printing, Vistaprint uses presses and processes of industrial printing for short-run commercial printing, while achieving units costs close to that of industrial printing. Using proprietary technologies, Vistaprint has managed to shift the conventional cost-volume curve, so that relatively short runs are still relatively inexpensive. This is a major competitive advantage, with many aspects of the process patented.
In the past, small businesses had to choose between designing and printing a brochure in-house (or at the local copy shop) or hiring a designer and paying a lot of money for a high-quality brochure. Vistaprint offers customers the best of both worlds. Its website gives customers access to graphic designs, content suggestions, and more than 70,000 photographs and illustrations.
Vistaprint minimizes user selectable options typical in the low volume commercial printing world. They print standard types of printed materials, such as business cards or postcards. Within each category, it supports a specific size, paper stock and ink colors. This results in higher numbers of similar jobs, which can be ganged together. It also results in faster changeovers because there's less need to change paper or inks between jobs. Vistaprint has more than 17 million customers in 120 countries.
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