“Our transformation into a ‘Smart Business’ is successfully completed”
Interview: Claudia Wolf, Director Sales at Unitedprint
As one of the largest E-Commerce companies in the European web-to-print market, Unitedprint has successfully completed its transformation into a “smart business”. Unitedprint summarises its strategic formula in a simple equation:
Data Intelligence + Network Coordination = Smart Business
Claudia Wolf ist bei Unitedprint als Director Sales mit den beiden bekannten Marken print24 und Easyprint seit 2018 für die nationalen und internationalen Sales- und Service-Teams und damit für die Betreuung aller europäischen Kunden verantwortlich und zuständig. Heute gibt sie uns einen Einblick in die Transformation von Unitedprint mit ursprünglich vollumfassender eigener Produktion hin zu einem reinen E-Commerce Unternehmen mit seinem internationalen Produktionspartner-Netzwerk.
Firstly, congratulations on completing your transformation from a 24/7 producing and fully integrated online printer with extensive in-house production, to a pure E-Commerce company with an international production partner network, just a few weeks before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic! How relieved were you at Unitedprint to know that at least this area of your business was not hit by the force of the pandemic?
Of course, nobody could have foreseen and counted on the fact that – in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – we were rewarded directly for our courage, consistency and our foresight when transforming Unitedprint into a “smart business”. A company will always be more successful, when it anticipates the fundamental changes in the markets before anyone else. We made the decision for our smart business strategy already back in 2018. It is and always was our goal to create long-term in-vestments by establishing internationally profitable growth. And to do this without tying up considerable funds and energy, which would make us only inflexible and unable to react quickly, effectively and purposefully on any developments.
So in general, in-house production in the combination with WtP is not a successful future prospect at Unitedprint?
Most of the in-house producing online printers chose the path to push themselves in upgrading their production technology to the maximum. In our opinion this path is a one-way street, which leads directly and irreversibly into a dead-end. By the way, the technical equipment of a company says absolutely nothing about its economic success. We can see this very clearly with competitors who are primarily financed by the capital market, who have always been loss-accumulating. WtP is not successful, because online printers are operating with the biggest, newest printing machines and as many of them as possible. First-class production technology with great production teams are available in all parts of the world. The international division of labour is a major step forward and a huge driver of growth. We experience this every day in our cooperation with these highly competent specialists in their respective fields. All of them continuously make outstanding products available to our customers. Who would like to be treated by one doctor with just one medicine for all health problems?
Future website of print24.com
You seem to be an exception in the WtP segment with this philosophy currently?
Much of what is unusual today will be completely normal at some point. This is the nature of disruptive change. At Unitedprint, we see ourselves as an open network, which no longer feeds into its own production, but primarily allows works with third parties, like production partners but also trading partners, and which is open to solutions from other providers of digital-based technologies. All major WtP providers have invested huge efforts in their own production – and for this very reason they cannot simply flip the lever, when there is a new trend or a crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic. And by the way, our production partners get an additional source of revenue from us. On the one hand we are competitors, but on the other hand we also allow the printing industry to participate directly in WtP by producing WtP orders. In today’s world no one can have above average success if the only place they operate in is where they are based. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far (and make great progress), go with others.” Unitedprint played a major role in the establishment of WtP and achieved a lot as an independent sole owner company.
Now we are using the abilities and the power of our E-Commerce competence by moderating and guiding our external production. As a result, Unitedprint is now a pure technology company, that operates in a highly professional “smart business manner”. We are all extremely proud of this! You could even call it WtP 5.0.
How did your customers react to your transformation process?
Well, what is our business about? The success factors are product selection, product quality, price, delivery speed, and customer care – the challenge is to excel at all. But the location where your order is produced at is irrelevant. These factors can simply be fulfilled much better with a decentralised and flexible production network of first-class specialists in their respective fields. These are often situated in the different markets and closer to our customers, than if we ran a central printing factory. The advantages that result from this, such as cheaper and faster delivery times are obvious. These are reflected in the positive feedback from our customers every day.
Website of Easyprint.com
What is the direct benefit of your smart business system to your customers?
With print24 and Easyprint, we provide the platforms on which our customers can find a first-class offer for their respective needs and on which our trading and production partners can offer and sell their products and their services. Instead of dealing with production-specific everyday requirements as in the past, we now direct all our energy and focus to maximum customer satisfaction. For example, we recently switched our entire logistics network to DHL and DHL Express. And we have completely relaunched Easyprint for smaller companies and private customers. With Easyprint we offer a state-of-the-art platform with great design templates for an enormous range of attractive products for simple and free personalisation without any own design and IT knowledge. In addition, we have created new and by the way extremely lucrative 3rd party sales models such as our affiliate system and partner shops. The fact that, we at Unitedprint, can now fully concentrate on the needs of our customers and the endless possibilities of our markets, has developed enormous dynamic and, again, accelerated our customer-focused approach.
Are there any concrete plans for developments in the coming months?
Many! We are soon going to relaunch print24, which admittedly is really about time. We are constantly updating Easyprint with new and additional content and many communications offers. This is a completely new chapter in the history of Unitedprint and a very exciting topic! Our mission with Easyprint is to enable everyone to design everything, and to publish it at any time or place, for any product, in any language, across all countries, on any channel and device. Easyprint is no less than the one-stop online shop for design and publishing. And last but not least, we will again significantly expand our international presence and penetrate global markets on a large scale beyond Europe. Smart business makes it possible!
Thank you. It is always amazing how dynamically Unitedprint is developing itself in this COVID-19 crisis!
“Never waste a crisis” Unitedprint always has and will continue to show the specificity of its DNA in the specificity of crises. This is of course quite a journey for all of us at Unitedprint – but that’s how we like it!