I am not a Vista Print fan. I have never used them, but I do know three people who have and only one was happy with their job. The other two ordered business cards and the text was not centered. They also said the card stock was really flimsy. They spent an endless amount of time trying to connect with customer service and a human to get a reprint or a refund from Vista to no avail.  They finally came to me to ask me what to do and my response was don’t order $10 business cards, and if you do, be prepared to get $10 quality… and then of course I hooked them up with local printers who did the job correctly.

I took the opportunity to ask why they didn’t go to a local printing company in the first place… and in both cases FEAR was the underlying motive. I get that. I know zilch about fixing cars so going to the mechanic is scary and I have no clue what things costs and what is really needed. The only thing I can do is research and make sure the mechanic I go to has an honest reputation, and then trust the professionals to do their thing.

We obviously don’t think Printing is a scary thing, but Vista and their marketing machine has done a nice job with their TV commercials to basically say – Hey, with us, even YOU can look professional in a few clicks. The have chiseled down the process to a few templates and choices “anyone” can navigate and are not only making making money, but taking money from the Industry. And while I do recognize Vista provides a Printing Service, I don’t consider them a Printer, or part of MY Industry. Call me a Print snob, Im ok with it.

Another thing about the Vista commercials that irks me to no end is the “complaint” that the other guys (read that as real Printers) aren’t open 24 hrs a day to place orders. Vista customers can go online at anytime to design and order Printed materials. They aren’t confined to our unreasonable business hours or have to speak to a person when they want something. They don’t have to be subjected to our antiquated ordering systems… or is it US who actually have it all wrong?

If I remove Print from the equation, I rarely want to talk to a CSR when I order something, and I usually order it after hours – unless you are a vampire than it’s regular business hours. I prefer to live chat over calling a company and dealing with those endless automated prompts. I prefer to shop online and pick and choose my own products and options and add-ons and accessories. I like to read about the options and add-ons and accessories and switch them around and take my time before I press order. I LIVE Vista Print, except with Print! And if I wasn’t in the Industry, I would most likely be an online customer of some Printing Service based upon my online preferences. 

According to PrintIsBig, “… print companies ranging in size from your favorite local copy shop to the multi-national packaging manufacturer, are quickly moving online. They are doing so at an increasing pace to keep up with their customers’ 24/7 expectations and to take advantage of the extended reach the Internet brings.”  They also project by 2014, 30% of all Print orders will be placed online via websites, and by 2017, 50%. 

Where are you in this game? Are you setting up storefronts? Creating easy to use templates and ordering systems? Are you doing this already with success? Having issues? Do you even want to enter the e-commerce world?

InfoTrends will be coming to #PrintChat on Wed 7/18 at 4PM ET to get your thoughts on web-to print and e-commerce for their next study.  Please join us to share your experience, knowledge and thoughts on the subject. Your Tweet might even get included in their research! 

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