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Vistaprint greets the holiday season with cheer

November 18, 2016 03:45 PM
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Vistaprint Ltd. is readying itself for that one time of year when consumers send real mail to each other—right now.

Holiday card sales tend to peak the week of Thanksgiving, which starts Sunday this year, says Javier Adán, senior product marketing manager at Vistaprint, an online-only retailer of printing and other services.

Adán expects holiday card sales to grow this year, though he declines to say by how much. The retailer added new holiday card themes to its site for a total of 3,175 holiday-specific card designs, and increased the size options for holiday cards to better meet shoppers’s needs, Adán says.

Vistaprint shoppers can upload a photo for the card, and the e-retailer will populate each card preview with that image, enabling a shopper to easily view the card templates featuring their photo.

“It helps a lot of customers choose the card that works best with their photo,” Adán says.

Custom-printed products, such as canvas prints, mugs and pillows, also drive sales this time of year because such products often are gifts, he says. Wall calendars likely will be a key contributor to holiday gift sales growth this year, because Vistaprint added more size options for this product.

To beef up holiday-related sales, the retailer developed new content for the website, such as the Vistaprint Gift Guide, which suggests gift ideas for consumer segments, such as “pet lovers” or “newlyweds.” 

Amazon.com Inc., however, may throw a wrench into custom-printed holiday sales for online retailers this year, including Vistaprint, No. 31 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, and Shutterfly (No. 46). Amazon (No. 1) launched a photo printing service in September that allows shoppers to order printed photos, photo gifts and holiday cards. Amazon’s Sept. 21 announcement sent Shutterfly stock plummeting more than 12% to $44.20 that day, but shares have since rebounded and on Thursday closed at $50.30.

Free photo storage is a feature of Amazon Prime membership, the online retailer’s $99-a-year subscription service that features free two-day shipping, streaming music and videos and other perks. AmazonPrints offers printed photos starting at 9 cents each and photo books starting at $20. Photos and cards ordered via the service also come with free shipping for Prime customers. Amazon currently has 159 holiday card designs, while Vistaprint carries more than 3,000 designs and Shutterfly has more than 800. Adán declined to comment on Amazon’s entrance into the market and its potential impact on Vistaprint’s Christmas card sales.

For Vistaprint’s small business customers, who are central to the retailer’s business, the retailer added holiday-related content marketing. “We’ve learned that our micro business customers like to do things for their customers for the holidays, but they don’t always know what, how or when,” Adán says.  

Vistaprint created a holiday resource center and a holiday marketing checklist to give businesses tips about how to tackle the holidays, such as when to order and send holiday gifts and cards to clients. The content is localized to Vistaprint’s top six markets: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia.

Internet Retailer estimates VistaPrint’s 2015 web sales at $1.5 billion, according to Top500Guide.com. 

 

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