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Need To Know

One Stop Shop

As the industry grows, businesses often add new services to their offerings. Carys Evans finds out the benefits of adding digital marketing, design and print to become a complete one stop shop

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Have it all

A one stop shop is a complete range of printed items, from graphic design, print services to marketing support, and even in some cases website design. The clue is in the name and the aim of being a one stop shop is that customers don’t need to look anywhere else for their printing needs.

Having all your services in one place allows for stronger working relationships, and higher business retention. What’s more, by maintaining strong relationships with customers, you can learn exactly what each customer needs and wants, allowing you to ultimately provide a better service.

Research released by marketing agency, Marketing Signals, recently revealed that 42% of businesses don’t market their businesses themselves and 35% of those asked said that this was due to a lack of resources.

42% of UK businesses don’t do their marketing themselves


Furthermore, when broken down the marketing category least likely to be handled in-house was digital marketing (63%). With industry practices always evolving and changing, it can be understandably difficult for businesses to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in digital marketing.

This is where adding digital marketing to a business’ print offerings can not only help to retain existing customers but generate a whole new set of clients who want to source their printing needs as well as receive support and guidance on how to market these products successfully.

Start small, think big

Like most print suppliers, Helloprint started out with a core range of products then expanded its range based on customer demand and the market opportunity. Paul O’Connor, UK country director of Helloprint explains: “If we can establish a new product line that fits into an existing workflow, we can make a decent margin and if there is a demand then we’ll explore adding it to our expanding product range.

Helloprint has recently moved into new offices in Liverpool


“More than ever, customers these days want one relationship with their print supplier. They want to be able to order their digital, litho and promo items from one portal, not jumping from one supplier to the next.” O’Connor goes on to say that the reality now is that if you don’t run a one stop shop, you run the risk of your customers looking elsewhere and finding those who do. Recognising this, Helloprint increased its range and now offers everything from banners to beach balls, all through one website.

Reflecting on the benefit of offering both design and print services in one place, O’Connor explains that design has become something that most people are comfortable with giving a go. “For those who don’t have access to design, there are plenty of graphic professionals who will be happy to do the creative, plus the print management for a client,” O’Connor continues.

“Online editable print templates are something that a lot of printers now offer as a design option, this is aimed at the small office, home office (SOHO) customer who may not have the budget or expertise to access professionally designed graphics.”

Don’t be that supplier who invests heavily in fancy new equipment without first establishing that there is a demand from their clients


In terms of where to start, O’Connor adds: “If you can provide it and it won’t put strain on your existing core product range, then do it. However, don’t be that supplier who invests heavily in fancy new equipment without first establishing that there is a demand from their clients and the knowledge that they can compete competitively in this sector.”

Seize the opportunity

With the slogan “not just a print and copy shop”, Minuteman Press Norwich is no stranger to the notion of being a one stop shop. When Philip Milburn purchased the already successful business in 2018, he inherited nearly 3,000 local businesses as previous and current customers.

Milburn explains that it was the portfolio of happy customers that inspired him to start offering more: “The service offering by the previous owner was primarily printing and copying, and that was pretty much what the customers got. However, I quickly realised that the previous owner had done a great job of building relationships with customers. To take advantage of this positive perception, I realised that there was likely to be an encouraging reception to our new products and services.”

One secret to maintaining good relationships with customers is going the extra mile, even if it means thinking outside the box. Milburn explains: “We have a customer who has a Japanese restaurant near our shop. He asked us to come up with some ideas to brighten up the inside and outside of his shop.”

Having identified some areas that could do with some refreshing, Milburn made the most of his relationship with his customers and called upon them to help. One of the firm’s building trade customers applied a coat of varnish to the shop’s bamboo front, and another customer who is an electrician installed new lighting inside the shop.
Milburn adds: “The new lights made a huge difference to the bar area. We didn’t make any money out of this. We just try and help all our customers in any way we can.”

In taking the time to get to know his customers, Milburn discovered that a lot of his clients – especially new start-ups – weren’t exactly sure of what it was they wanted. Milburn explains: “They may have a logo and have an idea of how they want their new menu to look like, but they need a lot of help in pulling together the final design. They also appreciate advice on what colours would look best, and what sort of paper or card to use.”

Just as the use of online shopping for things like clothes and food is gaining more popularity, more customers are opting to order print products online. While there are benefits such as quick turnarounds and minimal effort, there are downsides such as not having someone in particular to turn to for support and advice or if there are problems or delays.

Traditional and digital

Whilst most of its new customers come to Minuteman Press Norwich via the internet, Milburn says it is the physicality of his ‘one stop shop’ that makes it a popular choice: “Customers like to see and feel what they are going to get, and come in and actually discuss changes to the proof supplied, talking face-to-face with our helpful and knowledgeable staff. Having a one stop shop is key to our success.”

Despite the success of its physical store, as with most things in this digital age, online and offline go hand in hand. Because of this, Milburn is investing thousands of pounds into creating a more user-friendly site. Milburn explains: “We want to know who visits our site, for how long, which pages they visited, and if appropriate make contact.

“We have just doubled our print capacity by installing a very large printer/copier and we need to fill that new capacity. We have a very high customer retention rate, with most customers ordering from us several times a year. So we think it is worth spending a little more time and money into getting the right sort of new customer.”

O Factoid: The earliest known form of printing applied to paper was woodblock printing which appeared in China before 220 AD. O


In terms of how to go about adding digital marketing services such as website design, SEO or blogging support, Milburn advises to do your research and start off small: “Staff soon become accustomed to dealing with new products and services. Recruit staff that have grown up in the digital age. They will already be doing everything via their smart phones. They just have to be taught and trained on how to use their existing social media knowledge to bring benefits to the business.”

Move with the times

When Grafenia first began its operations, it was “all about print”. Peter Gunning, chief executive officer of Grafenia explains how the firm had a network of “hundreds of print shops selling the usual stuff like flyers and business cards”.

Peter Gunning, chief executive officer of Grafenia


Over time, the firm found that its clients were going to a web designer instead, sparking the decision to move into web itself. However, this wasn’t without difficulties. Gunning explains: “It meant teaching all front-line team members how to pitch for complex projects, and that’s hard.

“It would be really easy to sell a client ‘a website like Deliveroo’ for £500. Actually delivering a project for that budget is a different thing entirely. Because if you can sell it, you’ve got to know how you’re going to make it. And how long that will take. And the time you take figuring that out, isn’t time you can bill the client.”

In figuring out a way to achieve this, Nettl was born. It is described as the “largest network of one stop shops in the UK”. The system is a training, sales aid and co-brand marketing toolkit for printers to use to help win web work, know what to pitch for and how to do so successfully.

The Birmingham Nettl store

As well as offering training across the UK, Nettl will be on hand at The Print Show between September 17th-19th at the NEC in Birmingham to discuss its services.

Nettl’s Newcastle store



So what are the benefits of offering a full design, print and digital marketing service to your offering? Gunning says: “These days, clients don’t want to have multiple creative relationships. They don’t want to explain their branding to a printer, to the sign guy, to the website girl. We think they want one person to take care of it all.

“In the old days, the first thing a start-up business might have wanted was business cards. Now it’s either a website or a sign. They still buy print, of course they do. It’s just that it’s moved further down their priorities. So if you’re not capturing the website or the sign, then you’re probably not going to get the print.”

Nettl displays its range of services at its Manchester store


In terms of how to actually go about offering these services, Gunning says: “Our advice would be two-fold. Don’t delay. It’s not ‘nice-to-do’, it’s ‘must-do’. Much of the print market is going online. More things are being commoditised. The race to the bottom is accelerating. To survive, we believe printers must diversity.

Nettl is a network of one stop shops, with stores around the UK


“Don’t go it alone. Sure it’s possible to learn all this stuff yourself. If you’re bright, you can pick up things from online courses and forums. The world changes fast.

Platforms are upgraded daily and it’s difficult to keep on top. We encourage printers to get more from their existing team and to reposition their business for the future.”


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