Tradeprint is one of the Cimpress production hubs for Europe and the only one based in the UK. Over the last year it has worked more and more closely with Exaprint, originally a French company working through a network partners.
Both work only through trade customers, white label for other printers or for resellers. It is a competitive section of the online print market. The aim is to make resellers into loyal customers that return time and again. The time honoured way to do this is through volume discounts, the greater the volume, the greater the percentage discount.
The supplier can also try to offer more than its competitors. “We have a massive focus on product innovations that are coming over the next year,” says sales director Simon Cooper. “E-commerce is relatively limited in the printing industry. That is going to change massively over the next year as we introduce new products.
“This is customer led: they are asking us for products that have not been available on the website and that drives us to think about what we should put on line.”
Whatever ends up online, and packaging is a clear favourite subject, the challenge will be to make the product easy to understand and to order without limiting choice. Tradeprint will lead with label products.
“These innovations bring in new customers and offer something new to existing customers. It is something unique that we can do,” he explains. Discovery is equally important to the business. Describing business cards, even with rounded corners, or flyers is relatively straightforward. Finding a way to describe the variations possible with booklets and brochures is a challenge of a different order. “We need a new taxonomy for printed products,” says Tradeprint.
As the business is introducing perfect bound products, the way that customers navigate through the increasing population of printed products needs to become intuitive. “Overall user experience is a big focus for us,” he adds.
This now means going to meet those customers through face to face events that the business is stating to run. The first attracted more than 50 to an event in Scotland. Others have not been as packed, but it remains early days. Exactly what is delivered in a session will evolve over time Cooper says making the content stronger. “It’s about us giving our customers the tools to help them become successful,” he says.
The emphasis will continue to be on working with resellers, though some business will shift to direct for larger companies that do not want to work through middlemen. “We support middlemen because we think that they add value. We want to help them bring in more work.”
That new work will most likely be at higher value than the staples of business cards and flyers. Tradeprint watches prices from other suppliers. “In commodity products, prices are already at a point where there can be no movement down,” says Cooper. “Meanwhile we are continuing to experience rapid year on year growth in volumes and in average order values. Customers are confident enough to order more sophisticated higher value products.”
Simon Cooper is leading a roadshow to meet Tradeprint's customer to foster a greater connection between the printer and its trade customers whether agencies, designers or printers. The company can explain the creative opportunities it can supply thanks to being part of Cimpress.