Local printers are having a great deal of difficulty competing with the 'online mega-print website'; why?
1) Perceived price - the 'online mega-print website' advertises low prices that are not real, especially if you, the buyer, are really in business. You don't want the printers information on the back of the card, you want it faster than 3 1/2 weeks, you want it to represent you and not some generic template and you want it on a card stock, not a heavy paper. Of course you can pay for the "upgrades" that make it a normal business card, but then you would pay about the same, and sometimes more, than you would if you had bought it from the local printer (without the local printer guidance for you).
2) Advertising - the 'online mega-print website' can advertise in big ways, painting a picture that they are the norm. They are not, but consumers don't interact enough with printers thus they have no knowledge of any other place to go. This is why the online mega-print websites have won the B2C business, but have not been able to pierce the B2B opportunity. Once your business becomes real, you no longer have the time to waste 45 minutes placing an order, wait 3-4 weeks (std delivery) for the order and then finally receive the inferior-undersized product.
In reality (in my head), the local printer needs to NOT try to fight this battle with the online mega-print websites; it is a waste of their resources and they can not convince the consumer until they experience both the product and process first hand. The local printer must focus on real businesses.
A funny footnote... I was talking to someone last weekend about this and they said they liked the 'online mega-print websites' as they saved money, did not mind the 'online mega-print website' ad on the back, did not need it fast and the quality was not important. I said, "your law firm orders from 'online mega-print website'"? Her response was "Oh no. for my side business, they (the law firm) would never order 'online mega-print website' cards".
Finally, if the printer focuses on competing with 'online mega-print website' we will see the end to this local business and service and the cost of this product will only increase in the long run.
Yes, I think I have the solution and am getting around to telling you about it. Visit www.LightsOnGraphics.com - figure out what we are doing. Rolling this out on a broader basis shortly.