VistaPrint has taken a new look at an unloved industry, printing, and combined it with an up and coming market: the microbusiness, or SOHO. Printing, while unfashionable, in a huge, global industry. And it's very fragmented too with a couple of titans like RR Donnelley, and hundreds of thousands of small mom & pop print shops.
What VistaPrint does is achieve convenience, low cost, and massive economies of scale, by combining the internet, self-service design and ordering, and a patented workflow that standardizes, aggregates, and automates thousands of orders a day, from all over the world. The end result is that VistaPrint can produce short-run commercial printing (in quantities of 100 to 250), with the economics of long-run industrial printing.
This is a transformational model, and VistaPrint will do for printing what Amazon did for book selling. In books, the original offline vs. online contest was played out by Barnes & Noble vs. Amazon. In printing, we can see the same battle in FedEx Kinko's and their thousands of print shops vs VistaPrint and its one virtual print shop.
This is the big picture, and VistaPrint has a bright future as one of the major players in a huge global market. However, you can argue that this is just my opinion. Luckily, VistaPrint has a track record of aproximately 8 years since the launch of its online printing service (in summer of 2000), with 3 of those years as public company (since fall of 2005). My contention is that this is that VistaPrint's track record demonstrates the competitive significance of its business model. Numbers simply don't lie, and you can see VistaPrint's potential written large in the following:
(1) 15 million: with this many customers, VistaPrint is already the world's largest print shop.
(2) 90%: with this share of the online printing market, the company is way ahead of its competitors.
(3) 3.5 billion: this is how many free business cards they've printed in their long-running viral marketing campaign. These cards are promoting not just VistaPrint's customers, but VistaPrint too -- thanks to the "printed by VistaPrint" on the back of the card.
(4) 7.5m: is how many visits to www.vistaprint.com in June 2008. Compared to FedEx Kinkos, which received less than 200,000 visits. VistaPrint is almost 50:1 in terms of site visits. That's why VistaPrint is the Amazon of printing.
(5) 33,000: number of average daily orders during Q4 2008 (ending June 2008).
(6) 28: quarters of sequential, organic growth from pretty much $0 in early 2000, to $110m in Q4 2008 (ending June 2008).
(7) 2: major strategic partnerships with OfficeMax and Intuit for own-brand versions of the VistaPrint site. Both big, reputable companies, who don't enter into strategic partnerships unless they see it making a significant contribution to their bottom-line. And certainly don't enter into partnerships without considerable due diligence on their prospective partners.
(8) 50% plus: annual growth rates, consistently maintained since launch. Most recent years, from $91m -> $152m. From $152m -> $256m. And from $256m -> $400.7m (FY 2008, ending June 2008).
(9) $540m+: company guidance for FY 2009 revenue.
(10) $700m+: Goldman Sachs outlook for FY 2010 revenue.
(11) $1bn: the revenue milestone that I believe this company will achieve, most likely by FY 2012.
(11) 8% to 11%: the company's effective tax rate, thanks to its offshore (headquarters in Bermuda) financial structure. For comparison, in the US, the marginal federal corporate rate ranges from 15% to 35%. A lower tax rate means the company has more money to re-invest relative to its US-based competitors.
(12) 38%: the amount of revenue derived from outside the US. In these days of the weak dollar, it's a smart strategy to invest in companies that do large amounts of business in foreign currencies. This is exceptionally high for a relatively early stage ecommerce company (for example, Shutterfly is 2%).
(13) 120: number of countries where the company has customers.
(12) 64%: the amount of revenue derived from repeat customer purchases. Only successful companies which deliver in terms of quality, pricing, and overall customer experience, achieve such high repeat customer purchases.