Local Printers vs Online Printers
Why work with a local printer instead of an online printer? Here’s a few reasons!
Your brand’s identity and reputation are at stake.
First impressions make a significant impact on your business and a standard template that a hundred other businesses might have for their business card are not going to help you stand out against your competitors. A great first impression could sway a potential client from looking any further services that you offer, or it could be the bar that your potential client holds your competitors to and causes them to look past your business. Something as simple as your business card is an extension of that first impression. A poorly designed, flimsy card could give the illusion that your company cuts corners and has little concern for quality, details and end results… and that does nothing to set your apart from the standard templates used at online print retailers. It is not just the card stock that you choose but also the printing, design, and layout that impacts the quality of something as important as your business card.
So… how do the online printers print the business cards so cheap? Notice I said “cheap” and NOT “cost effective”? There’s a big difference between the two. A “Cost Effective” purchase is one in which you are receiving a premium value for your money while “Cheap” simply means purchasing at minimum cost and can actually also be defined as “of lower quality.” If you’re only interested in the “cheapness” of printed materials, just remember, you get what you pay for. Expect as little effort as possible when it comes to customer service, quality, and any post sales assistance needed should a problem arise and that means nothing custom.
Their offer of “free” business cards aren’t even really free (if you really delve into the specifics) and they offer this because they use it as marketing for themselves by adding a blurb on the back of your business cards promoting their business and that does nothing to sell the legitimacy of YOUR business!
So, how the heck do they do this??? It’s all because nothing is truly custom. Online print retailers thrive off pre-designed templates using shell printing. With shell printing, companies have pre-designed templates they decide to print. So, they print thousands of sheets of these templates and put them in their warehouse. As orders for business cards using these templates come in, they’re pulled from the shelves and the job is then run on a digital press to insert the “custom” customer information (name, title, phone number, website) directly onto the pre-printed template. The digital press personalizes the piece but the template is out there for anyone to use—which means some company down the street or in another state might have the very same business card, only with their logo and contact information on it. This certainly doesn’t help you stand out in a crowd of similar industries when someone looks just like you, right? (And what’s worse, they might not have a stellar reputation so their reputation might then reflect on YOUR business.) The cookie cutter approach used by online print retailers really limits creativity and does your business a disservice in that aspect but it’s how they keep their costs down.
Nearly every job is run on a gang, even when it’s a custom card, which makes is nearly impossible to get consistent color. This means they run your business card on the same sheet as 23 other business cards, all of different colors so if they fiddled with it to get YOUR color to be an accurate representation of your brand’s colors, they risk throwing off someone else’s cards and it’s just not an effort they put in because it’s not cost effective. Their goal is to get as many cards printed at once as possible without regard to the finished product because they’re considering up to 24 (or more!) products at a time and if their success rate is 90% accurate, that’s good enough for them. That, however, is NOT good enough for Evo.
Quality printers also monitor alignment, print registration, and edge bleeds. They make sure that a file you provide has adequate margins, includes bleeds and all of your fonts are represented the way you intended them to. A professional designer can assist in this but, if you’re “designing” your own business card online, you’re probably unaware of the importance of those factors/considerations and don’t know what they are. When you provide Evo with your design, we will check it to make sure it meets requirements so you don’t end up with business cards where your address is cut off at the bottom because you didn’t consider margins and the printing process as a whole. (This is another reason to consider using a graphic designer, see my post about the importance of a graphic designer!)
The stock of your business card is probably the most easily identifiable characteristic of your card’s quality. However, not all card stocks are equal… even if they both boast the same weight. The average joe has no idea how paper weight is determined but Evo can help you make the best choice of paper for your project—durability, weight, thickness, color, etc… all can vary. If one paper says it’s 100 lb cover stock and so does another, it does not make them the same because their thickness might be different, making one flimsier than the other. Just because one stock is called “bright white” does not mean it is identical to another brand’s “bright white”, either. Make sure your product is apples to apples when comparing pricing and get what you pay for. We’re happy to go over physical samples of available card stocks and print styles for you to touch and feel--- attention you are not going to get from an online printer.
Pricing is often the biggest motivator in the decision-making process. Most people assume that online pricing is more competitive than a brick and mortar store but that isn’t always the case. And if they really are lower, at what cost to your business’s reputation? This will refer back to quality again and getting what you pay for. If your business cards cost the same through a local printer versus an online printer, but you’ve gotten the ability to go back and forth with your local printer to make changes, view proofs and samples, or had the ability to get color correction or matching done on your job, wouldn’t you agree that you’ve gotten more bang for your buck with the local printer? If your online printer charges you less than your local printer but you ended up with a stock that isn’t quite what you expected (And how would you know? You never got to feel the stock before you purchased!), you are stuck with them and if you want something different, you’re now out that money for a second time. So, swing in to your local printer and check out the stocks beforehand so you don’t end up with buyer’s remorse over a business card that FEELS as cheap as it was to produce. This brings me to our next reason, customer service.
Customer Service & Privacy
Your local print shop depends on your business, especially in this day and age where everyone wants something available at their fingertips with the snap of their fingers. To online printers who print in bulk, mass quantities for countless people every day, if you aren’t happy, it’s really no sweat off their back. They’ll let you go through the process and complete your order start to finish before you discover that you’re unhappy. If you’re unhappy, I like to think they’ll fix it-- I really do hope so, anyway, because business really should strive to make their customers happy, but not all businesses are created alike. If the do fix it, you may be out additional time and additional shipping costs. Your local printer will do everything they can to make sure your order is as expected at every point throughout the process so you don’t end up unhappy at the end of the day. Your business is important to us and our job is to print quality materials that you can be proud of, that represent your quality of business, as a reflection of ours. If you have questions before placing an order or need a suggestion on how to bring your vision to fruition, you can not only call us, but you can visit our office and meet with experienced staff who can help.
Customer service is the cornerstone of well-established and successful businesses. An online printer has representatives who probably have little of the hands-on experience with printing that your local printer does. We know our products, assume responsibility for your order and will genuinely back the products we produce and sell. Should there be any issues with your order, you can speak directly to us without being passed around a telecom directory. Not to mention that customer service should not be limited simply to advice or reading from a prepared script. Customer service is reflecting in the quality, pricing and reputation of a local printer and when you buy locally, you are building a one-on-one relationship with a business genuinely interested in your success—because our success depends on it.
And what’s that about your privacy? Did you know that many online print retailers sell the data you provide as a way to counter their “lower” prices, even though we’ve uncovered that they aren’t really lower. You usually agree to this by accepting the terms of agreement when submitting your order-- it’s all in the fine print that we’re all guilty of disregarding sometimes. They sell YOUR information to pay for THEIR marketing campaign. This practice has become quite common with online retailers of any trade, but is never something that Evo does. Referrals? Yes. Selling information? No. Never.
Supporting Local Businesses Supports YOUR Local Business
Although everyone is sick of hearing about the grim state of the world with the recent pandemic and its effect on the economy, this is important to note: When you shop locally, you’re supporting your local economy which helps boost your business. Here’s how:
- Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify your community. Also, spending locally instead of online or at nationally owned chains ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong— in your community!
- Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for your neighbors. When you shop locally, you help create jobs for teachers, firemen, police officers, and many other essential professions.
- Purchasing local helps grow other businesses as well as the local tax base.
-Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s welfare and future. Their livelihood depends on it. A marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. It’s a fact that businesses respond to their customers, but your values and desires are much more influential to your local community businesses than the large big box stores.
Evolution Printing is a local company with 20 years of experience and we’re here to meet your needs and offer flexible, custom solutions for your business. We have an experienced staff that knows and understands printing and how to use it effectively for marketing. It is easier for us to offer custom solutions – and at better costs – than some of the larger national chains or online-only printers who use a “cookie-cutter” approach to printing. Online retailers may get a one-time customer who needs a stack of cheap business cards, but the real end game for any local printing business is to build long-term relationships and secure repeat clients within the community where we live, work and play.
We want to help you avoid spending your time designing your print project on an online template that is a dime a dozen when you could be spending time on growing your business and community. Let us handle the design and printing for you. You won’t be disappointed. Afterall, we print cool stuff!