Avia Collinder, Business Writer
Vistaprint president and CEO Robert Keane is said to have written the first business plan for the company in the bedroom of his Paris student apartment in 1994.
The ideas committed to paper centered on providing small businesses with customisable, printed marketing materials in small quantities and for good prices.
Since its 2003 start, the company today has grown revenue to more than US$1 billion annually.
Vistaprint NV is headquartered in Venlo, the Netherlands, and is said to employ over 3,100 employees globally. The company has just wrapped up an expansion project in Jamaica.
On Wednesday, Keane told the Financial Gleaner that the company is forecasting revenue of approximately US$1.175 billion to US$1.225 billion for its current financial year, which closes June 2013, "or 15 to 20 per cent growth year-over-year in reported terms."
The 11-year-old company focuses on the micro-business marketplace, which includes small business owners with one to 10 employees.
Analyst Kaihan Krippendorf, writing at www.fastcompany.com, says that Vistaprint won the printing game and the title of global leader through process innovation.
The company, apparently, has mastered the art of printing faster, better and cheaper.
"People buy printing services because of price, convenience, and quality. They can easily compare printing companies across these dimensions. And because printing companies depend on the same suppliers for printing technology, they eventually all look the same. Winning this game has come to depend on scale," said Krippendorf.
In year one of operation, FY 2003, Vistaprint served 1.3 million total unique customers, Keane said. Business has since grown elevenfold
"For the full fiscal year 2012, the company served 14.4 million unique customers. Revenue in fiscal 2003 was US$35 million, and in FY2012, the company generated more than US$1 billion in revenue for the first time," the CEO said.
Vistaprint has grown by expanding its customer base globally, while offering more high-quality products and enhancing others.
"The company has also scaled and grown quickly by making targeted investments in areas like technology, manufacturing, talent acquisition and marketing, to name just a few," Keane said.
Ongoing growth is premised on "reinvigorating the core customer base", that is micro-business owners who need marketing materials and services at an affordable price.
"For Vistaprint, growth will continue in the small-business market and to a lesser extent, the consumer marketplace," he said.
For the September quarter, Keane says the company expects to report revenue of US$250 million to US$260 million, or 18-20 per cent growth year-over-year.
"The company continues to implement strategies that we believe will support growth over the longer term. Approximately one year ago, we launched a new strategy focused on this growth, with components that include initiatives in new customer acquisition channels, customer retention, improved manufacturing, and our adjacency businesses," the CEO said.
Vistaprint's primary markets are in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, which last fiscal year accounted for 53 per cent, 41 per cent, and six percent of revenue, respectively.
"We operate more than 25 localised websites globally and ship to more than 130 countries around the world," Keane said.
To reinvigorate the company's existing customer base, the company is targeting the following improvements: faster shipping, simplified pricing, reduced email frequencies, higher quality product substrates over the next several years, among others.
Vistaprint operates in Montego Bay through wholly owned subsidiary Vistaprint Jamaica Limited.
The company plans to unveil its new call centre at 1 Megabyte Drive, Barnett Technology Park, Montego Bay today, Friday.
The 92,000-square-foot facility incorporates areas for staff training, on-site cafeteria, stores, fitness centre with locker rooms, community meeting area, recreation field, cybercafé and a game room.
The Barnett Tech location will seat approximately 720 agents and 175 management/support personnel.
Keane declined to disclose the final investment in the centre, which he said was designed not as a place for jobs but the development of careers.
"Our call centre in Jamaica is extremely productive and continues to improve on a monthly basis. It has also set the standard and blueprint for other call centres Vistaprint has launched in countries like Tunisia and Berlin," he said.
The company went public in 2005 and is traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol VPRT.
Keane has been named by Boston Business Journal to the list of Top 40 Executives Under 40 Years Old.
Vistaprint says its client base comprises 12 million micro-businesses.