May 15, 2012

“Who Four” - The Biggest Target - Fixing the Local Print Business – Part Four

"Who Four":  The local postal store, franchise or independent.  Many years ago someone told me about a company (a start-up at the time) called Mailboxes, Etc. (now The UPS Store)  My original thought was, why use them instead of the post office?  I believed the business concept was flawed - I was way wrong.  Yes, many of these businesses are feeling the strain of the economy and being a franchisee, but the outlook for this group is very positive in my opinion - just walk into one on any given weekday (especially after 2pm).  The question I have is - can the franchisors bring in higher margin products to more utilize their current foot traffic - and give the franchisee a chance to succeed?

Being a target market for LightsOn Graphics is the wrong phrase; it is much more a prediction. Postal stores provide a convenience that creates foot traffic and business in that it is hyper localized - one stop to send mail, UPS, Fed-X, get the boxes and packing you need to complete your mailing.  They have morphed from a post office box and shipping center to a business center providing copy service, document shredding, limited but critical office supplies, and limited emergency print (copies, business cards).  Just a note - If you need shredding, buy a shredder.

Offering print and collateral marketing services is a natural expansion to their business; some would say they already do.  I tend to use Postnet in my examples because, not only are they in that postal store target bunch, but they also use a service that, from my research, provides nothing except the satisfaction that they can say, "we have an online print site".  No they don't, but that is just my opinion.  I have interviewed several small printers that use the same system - orderless (like zero) - they stretch to find value in something they pay for every month.  The system they use does provide marketing benefits and a few  convenience tools, but not sales.

Now that the market has been identified, we can start talking about the product and what makes different (better) in both product and concept - see our forthcoming blog entries (or see an an earlier taste - Fixing the Local Print Business).

In Review - Targets:
  1. Postal Stores - this is where the customers are..
  2. Local Quick Printers with poor web presence.
  3. Postal Store Franchisors Postnet, Postal Annex, Goin' Postal, etc.)
  4. Quick Print Franchisors (AlphaGraphics, Minuteman Press, Sir Speedy)
  5. Local Graphic Designers.
  6. Vertical Market providers (newly identified)
Thank You For Reading.!.!



  1. As a quick printer we provide a great deal of marketing and sales expertise to our customers. We are also debating adding shipping and postal service to our product line. Do you really think the typical postal stores have the same knowledge bandwidth the local printer has?

    1. I am not sure if it is a matter of "knowledge bandwidth" as much as it is 'this is where the customers are'. Kind of like - why do criminals rob banks? The postal stores are already morphing into the quick print business by providing copy services and brokering services (again, not much different than the local quick printer). Training is the issue and osmosis, IMO, is not going to be fast enough. The franchisors need to step up here from both sides (IMO again) - This may be why so many of the 'Brand' franchisees are going independent.

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