Careers at Cimpress
Cimpress’s mission is to empower people to make an impression through personally meaningful customized products.
Cimpress is a provider of mass customization services, focusing on physical products. The company operates three reportable business segments:
- Vistaprint – Service that helps micro businesses create marketing products and services.
- Upload and Print – Includes the druck.at, Exagroup, Easyflyer, Printdeal, Pixartprinting, Tradeprint, and WIRmachenDRUCK branded businesses.
- All Other – Includes the Albumprinter, Most of World, and Corporate Solutions business units.
In 1994 Robert Keane, a student at the INSEAD business school, identified a need in the small business market. Specifically, he realized that no firms were printing high-quality, low-cost, custom marketing materials for the segment. So he set about writing a business plan for a company that would address this need. He was so committed to the task that he missed his graduation ceremony.
In 1995 Keane launched the venture from his Paris apartment. He called it Bonne Impression, which in French can mean either “good impression” or “good printing.” In the first year of business, most of its revenues came from freelance market research and consulting work for Microsoft’s desktop publishing software team. He gathered information about small firm needs during this period.
In 1996 the company published its first catalog, primarily featuring brochures, business cards, newsletters, and desktop publishing software. In 1999 it moved its sales operations to the Internet. Keane introduced “Internet-based ganging”, through which numerous orders would be compiled in one digital file, then printed out in one press set-up, then separated back into the individual orders.
That same year, the firm changed its name to Vistaprint. Over the next several years Vistaprint grew significantly through acquisitions of other printing firms and the opening of manufacturing plants worldwide. In 2005 it went public, trading on the NASDAQ. In 2012 it attained $1 billion in revenues for the first time. In 2014 it changed its name to Cimpress, preferring a broader label.
Business model of Cimpress
Cimpress has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at micro, small, and medium-sized firms, as well as resellers and consumers.
Cimpress offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, customization, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of options. Since its founding it has acquired numerous companies, and now consists of 19 different brands. This strategy enabled it to diversity its portfolio and expand its capabilities significantly, and now it sells everything from brochures and flyers to displays and signage to photo products and invitations to apparel.
The company enables customization by allowing clients to personalize the products they request. They do so by specifying design content and parameters through Cimpress’s website.mo
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It touts itself as the global leader in mass customization, taking in over 30 million orders and producing over 46 million personalized items in 2015 alone. These included 4,000,000 signs, 6,129,341 garments, and 5.9 billion business cards. It maintains operations in 19 countries and serves almost 17 million customers annually.
Cimpress’s main channel is its website. The company promotes its offering through its social media pages, television advertising, and online advertising (largely paid search).
Cimpress’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of e-mail support.
Cimpress’s business model entails manufacturing products designed by its clients.
Cimpress utilizes supply chain partners to create efficiencies and reduce costs. These partners include printing companies, material suppliers, and contract manufacturers (to whom the firm outsources certain activities in order to serve local clients more quickly). Specific partners include Fujifilm, Polyconcept, and HP Indigo division.
Cimpress’s main resource is its mass customization platform, which is fueled by its intellectual property. Its IP includes 263 issued patents globally as of June 2016, many of which involve printing and computer-integrated manufacturing.
The company utilizes its physical resources to manufacture products; they include production facilities in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. Combined they total more than 140,000 square meters (1,500,000 square feet) of space.
Cimpress has an economies of scale cost structure, with costs per unit output declining as output expands.
Its biggest cost driver is cost of revenue, a variable expense that includes manufacturing materials and personnel expenses. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing, technology/development, and administration, all fixed costs.
Cimpress has three revenue streams:
- Sales and shipping of customized products
- Sales of digital, website design and hosting, and e-mail marketing services
- Order referral fees
info: Robert Keane earned an AB in Economics from Harvard College in 1985 and an MBA from INSEAD in France. He previously served as Acting Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer of Cimpress and as General Manager of Flex-Key.
info: Katryn Blake earned a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She previously served as Chief Customer Officer of Vistaprint and as a Director and Senior Manager at PreVision Marketing.
info: Kees Arends studied at Nijenrode Business School in Breukelen, The Netherlands. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Portfolio Management and President of European Business Units at Cimpress.
info: Ashley Hubka earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Harvard University and an M.A. in International Relations at Johns Hopkins University. She previously served as a Partner at Oliver Wyman and held consulting roles at The World Bank and Mercer Management.
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