How to take on big box and internet printers, part 2

Proactive positioning

Do you find that print buyers in your area often head to the chain office type printing and copying places — Kinkos, Office Depot, Staples, etc — thinking that because of the general low price atmosphere in those stores, the printing they are buying must be cheap too?

Of course, that isn’t necessarily the case, and it isn’t hard to convince people that they can get a better deal and far more helpful service and advice from their friendly local print shop – you – once you get them to compare.

Much the same is true of internet based printers. Print buyers order online because the prices seem so low, though they may not be aware of the true costs and risks involved.

The problem is getting in front of people with that message so you can educate them and sell your advantages.

A direct approach with a bold offer

Phoenix Books , the little bookstore that could – see part 1 of “How to take on big box and internet printers” here – faces very similar challenges, and came up with an interesting idea to combat the growing threat of amazon.com.

They are running this simple promotional offer:

Bring in an Amazon box for 25% off your purchase.

I like this offer because it is such a direct approach to turning around the perceptions that may have led people to order online in the first place.  If you have a box to bring in then you are a good prospect, and your good experience at Phoenix Books may encourage you to think twice about ordering online next time.

Other strengths of this approach:

  • The box is symbolic of the purchase and the delivery, and now a new choice – giving up the box.
  • The discount reverses Amazon’s price advantage.
  • By getting you in the store, Phoenix has a chance to show how pleasant it is to be around books, to browse and enjoy what you are buying before you buy it – things you can’t do online.
  • You get to walk out of the store with the book, rather than have to wait for it to show up on a truck.
  • They can do a little subtle educating about local businesses being the cornerstone of living communities, and a more sustainable choice.

I think printers could win good customers by running a similar promotion offering a discount or other attractive incentive to buyers who bring in a VistaPrint box, or an Office Depot invoice, for example.

To make it easy for you to do exactly that, I have prepared a series of postcard mailers. Click for a closer look:

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Is this approach TOO strong?

Instead of waiting for people to have some kind of negative experience elsewhere, so they explore other options and get in touch with you, this series of postcards gives you a way to get this message in front of your prospects  preemptively.

The “caution” and “danger” themes are eye catching and intended to be a wake up call – to alert people to risks they may not have been aware of, but without naming names.

The “thought bubble” theme focuses entirely on the offer, illustrating it in an engaging way without being alarming.

All the copy on the three postcards is set up in the InDesign/Quark files, making it very easy to edit to suit your situation.

Existing members can find them in the member’s area, or you can use these images as inspiration to create your own. Email versions will be added to the ColorCard Ezine library.


You can open your membership here.

Happy Printing!