Marqetspace has drawn a curtain over open pricing on its online print website following a survey in which more than 80% of respondents objected to the practice.
The company posted a survey to its customers in July and was taken aback by both the 200 plus replies and secondly by the strength of opinion against openly listed prices. Now, says Grafenia CEO Peter Gunning, the company has decided to withdraw pricing from the home page. Only professional users will see pricing once they log in.
“We didn’t quite expect this strength of response. We thought ‘perhaps we should make a change’,” he says. “We have only ever sold to the trade; now you have to register and be accepted before you can see prices.”
Gunning defines a professional user as a designer or printer able to supply a print ready PDF. There is no template system for users to create a print job via the browser. However, the open pricing on the site has been used to challenge the pricing that end customers pay for their print. This is increasingly a problem for commercial printers that do not work through online portals as well as for printers that do place work in this way.
In all, 83% agreed that “buying prices should be private, so my clients can’t accidentally find out what I am paying”. Two-thirds wanted the trade site restricted to professional buyers only, adding “I wouldn’t buy from a trade printer that sold to end users at the same price”. They wanted the same low price for all and that low prices trumped loyalty schemes, volume rebates and faster turnarounds.
The staged payment scheme that Marqetspace introduced a few months ago is popular, allowing purchasers spending more than £99 to pay in three monthly tranches.
That will be for an increasing number of products as these are added to the portfolio. A giant deckchair with promotional artwork has proved a summer time best seller he adds, Grafenia making the wooden frames as well as the printed fabric for the product.
It follows the model of producing a bespoke product to suit a specific customer and then once the company understands how to optimise production, adding this to the product portfolio on the website, even if the price is kept behind closed curtains.
By Gareth Ward