Vistaprint parent trials printer co-operation

Web to print giant Cimpress – the parent of Vistaprint – has a new tool in beta testing, Cimpress Open, which could deliver huge benefits to other print businesses.

If successful Cimpress Open will enable printers to embed the entire Vistaprint product range within their own websites and apps. It will also enable speciality printers to sell their own products through the Vistaprint website, opening up a massive new market for most printers.

Cimpress Open is in the early stages of beta testing, which is expected to continue well into next year.

The twin track of enabling printers to sell Vistaprint products directly from their own websites and enabling printers to sell their products through the Vistaprint website comes as part of the new strategy for Cimpress, outlined by founder and CEO Robert Keane, of co-operation with other printers.

Cimpress Open uses the Mass Customisation Platform (MCP) that grew out of the original Vistaprint business. An astonishing 46 million items were customised last year.

Firstly Cimpress Open has a merchant platform, which enables printers to embed Cimpress Partner Fulfilment APIs into their own websites and apps. When a customer orders a product Cimpress (Vistaprint in this country) will produce it and deliver under white label. For printers it means they will be able to sell the Vistaprint product range under their own name.

The benefit to printrs is in the huge range of product that Vistaprint produces, although the Cimpress Open beta site is restricted to a far smaller product catalogue limited to mugs, posters, business cards, t-shirts and phone covers. If launched it is expected the full range will become available.

Secondly iCimpress Open has a ‘fulfiller’ option. This will enable speciality printers to make their own products available to the wider market through the Cimpress websites. Some Cimpress subsidiaries including Exagroup in France and WirMachenDruck in Germany are already working with a network of third-party suppliers.  

Cimpress Open beta offering is currently restricted to a limited product catalogue comprising mugs, posters, business cards, t-shirts, tote bags and phone covers.

Cimpress founder Robert Keane has previously spoken about a future that involves embracing 'co-opetition', including partnering with competitors.

Cimpress was founded in 1995 by Keane as a college project. It is now the biggest web-to-print business in the world with a $2bn turnover. At drupa it ordered some 20 new HP digital print systems, and placed a marker down for 20 Landa B1 sheetfed presses subject to successful beta testing.

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