Digital and large-format printer Visual Print & Design has launched a new e-commerce platform offering more than 750 print and promotional products.
Live on the company’s website from today (20 August), the Lincolnshire based firm’s new offering features items including drinkware, USBs, pens and mouse mats.
The website enables users to upload artwork online and order branded print products 24/7. Free artwork templates and product images as well as free UK delivery are also offered on the majority of products.
A ‘British made’ category highlights the circa-350 products that are manufactured in the UK.
“The ‘made in Britain’ aspect is one that we are trying to focus on because it means our customers have UK rather than China-based products and turnaround will be a lot quicker,” said managing director Graham Hunstone.
“From the research we’ve done, we’ve found that the turnaround time is quite important because a lot of people leave ordering this type of product to the last minute.
“With many other promotional companies it can take 14 to 21 days to deliver most products, whereas with us you are looking at around seven days for most products and some things can be even quicker.”
The business will launch two separate marketing campaigns to promote the new initiative – one to target existing customers and one to attract new business.
“On our database we’ve got 2,500 customers so we will be targeting those, but any business that does marketing could be interested. From our existing customers, we’ve noticed that a lot of universities, councils and local authorities are the main people who order this type of thing,” said Hunstone, who added the company is planning to increase its portfolio to more than 1,000 products.
“We’re doing a lot of research at the moment to try and find products that nobody else has got or is supplying. From our experience we’ve found that the people that we work with at the universities and marketing agencies all want new products and new, innovative ideas.
“So we’re trying to find these new products that we can do, preferably in the UK, and within the next six to eight months we will launch another 250 products, half of which will hopefully be new products that nobody has seen before.”
The production of the items will be outsourced, currently to two main UK-based suppliers though Hunstone said more partners will be added as the product range is expanded.
In time, some of the more standard products, such as large-format banners, will be completed in-house, where the company operates a Mutoh ValueJet 1324X alongside a Xerox Versant 180 and a Xerox Color 770.
Visual Print & Design was set up in 2009 to provide print management services to businesses based in Lincolnshire. It moved into production in 2014 and acquired Derby-based Go Digital the following year. In April the business opened a new office, located between Glasgow and Edinburgh, to grow the brand in Scotland.
The business currently has 12 staff and turns over just over £1m. It is targeting additional turnover of up to £200,000 from the new e-commerce division. The new venture has also created a new job for somebody to oversee the back-end of the service, which Hunstone said will be advertised in the coming months.