Printing Impressions 400 Outstanding Performer Series: Cimpress Adds Mass Customization
As an extension of our annual Fast-Track Firms feature in the December issue on printing companies among the 2015 Printing Impressions 400 that showed solid year-over-year growth, we will be featuring (throughout 2016) additional snapshots of other PI 400 performers that demonstrated outstanding growth.
MOST RECENT FISCAL YEAR SALES: $1.5 billion
PREVIOUS FISCAL YEAR SALES: $1.27 billion
CHANGE: +18 percent
Hard to believe, but it’s been more than 20 years since Robert Keane came to market with Vistaprint, and the company turned into a worldwide icon for the small business sector, bringing marketing tools that had long been unaffordable and inaccessible to this space. Today, the company has garnered household status with its ubiquitous television and internet advertising spots, illustrating how mom-and-pop businesses can benefit from brochures and business cards, along with a growing menu that includes invitations, announcements, calendars, promotional products, photo books and signage, to name a few.
Cimpress recently made a significant investment in its mass-customization platform, a network that brings the company’s manufacturing and production capabilities together with its merchants, suppliers and partners to meet customer needs. The platform builds upon the gang-run philosophy, with infinite product selection options — i.e., product type, size, finish and delivery speed.
Now boasting a platform that includes Albelli, Drukwerkdeal, Pixartprinting and Exaprint, Cimpress produced more than 46 million uniquely designed and manufactured items for customers around the world.
According to Keane, some of the success Cimpress has reaped can be attributed to the company’s long-term approach to planning and investing. Vistaprint, for example, benefitted from investments to improve the quality and selection of its products, improve pricing transparency, increase customer service and reinvent the way the firm goes to market.
“We have also invested heavily in our manufacturing, software and technology capabilities to build a shared, mass-customization platform,” Keane notes. “That platform remains in its very early build stage, but will eventually offer a vast array of products that can be customized with almost infinite variability, something that will drive tremendous customer value.
“It’s also worth highlighting the increasing role partnerships are playing. In the last year, we’ve expanded our partnerships with suppliers and production partners across the globe so that we can better serve the evolving needs of customers. For example, by partnering with print providers that are located near our customers, we can print locally to reduce the time and the cost of shipping. Those production partners can also be leveraged to offer the most diverse set of products and selection options available on the market.”
Cimpress’ willingness to expand via acquisition has fueled growth, and the company hasn’t been shy about bolstering its equipment dossier. Their production floors host a bevy of varied manufacturers’ gear: Komori, manroland, Heidelberg, HP, Xerox and Durst, among others.
What will enable the firm to thrive again in 2016? The organization will continue to invest capital in the Vistaprint-brand customer value proposition and the engineering of its shared mass-customization platform. Expansion studies are being focused on India, Brazil, Japan and China.
“In terms of product expansion, while we built our business on printed marketing materials, we are also looking at other applications of mass-customization that do not involve printing,” Keane reveals. “Consider promotional products and decorative apparel; we have developed capabilities in this area that will allow customers to order, for example, a very small number of polo or t-shirts embroidered with their company logo or customized decoration. For many products, customers are even able to order in a quantity of one.”
Click here in order to view the full 2015 Printing Impressions 400 ranking.