Print.com Builds a Powerful B2B Ecommerce Platform for Any Print Job
Marco Aarnink describes himself as a “print nerd”—someone who appreciates the smell of ink, the feel of paper and fabric, and the whir of machines. Aarnink is CEO and founder of the Dutch startup Print.com which he launched in August 2017 with little more than a passion for printing and a fortunate domain name.
By the end of the year, he and a small team of fellow print nerds were well on their way to developing the next big thing in professional printing. Print.com has been on a fast track of growth ever since, launching its invite-only web application in 2018, growing its customer base from zero to thousands, and acquiring three manufacturing plants.
“We started Print.com from scratch, not knowing exactly how our business model would evolve,” explains Lucas Baarspul, who holds the title of BluePrint Nerd at Print.com. “What we did know is that we wanted to sell printed products with a strong focus on customer experience.”
Unlike other online print shops, Print.com targets professional users, their “frequent flyers” designers, ad agencies and resellers, who order regularly and know precisely what they need. That means the company had to build a highly specialized application, not just an ecommerce site, with tailored customer dashboards allowing for quick comparison of materials, finishing methods, pricing, delivery windows and other pertinent details.
“Our goal was to create a lightning-fast tool that helps professionals work faster,” Lucas says. “We wanted to provide a two-step ordering process, no matter how complex the order.”
Print.com delivered on this goal remarkably fast, using Magento Commerce as a launching point.
An agile strategy: launch fast and build as you go
As Print.com set out to build its powerful new printing tool in partnership with the Magento Solution Partner, Experius, its top priorities were speed, flexibility, and scalability. With its headless, API-driven approach, Magento Commerce helped the company get a minimum viable product off the ground quickly, and with the ability to expand the commerce experience over time.
“We needed quite a robust infrastructure for handling orders as well as the ability to create a completely new user interface,” Lucas says. “That’s how we knew we needed a headless system, and it was important to choose a solution with a strong track record.”
The headless approach enables Print.com to build custom dashboards, making it easy for customers to find products and select their specifications, even when there are as many as 20 different options, with five to 50 possible solutions for each. Having a headless system allows the company to boil all that logistical complexity down to just two steps and easily process more than a million price calculations a day.
“Selling printed products online is not easy. There are millions of product configurations, and every order is unique,” says Lucas. “We knew it would take time to build a complete feature set, but Magento Commerce gave us a solid foundation from which to start generating revenue and using customer feedback to guide product direction.”
The modularity and extensibility of the Magento Commerce platform are central to Print.com’s growth strategy. For example, the company started with the standard shopping cart API but easily switched to a customized cart built to accommodate complex printing logistics.
Using the multiple store configuration in Magento Commerce, the company can spin up unique catalogs and settings for different customers. And Magento APIs make it easy to connect a growing network of production partners to the order system, as well as plug in product configuration, logistics, invoicing and search with APIs like Experius Product Configurator, Experius API Extend and Experius Elastic Search.
“As we scale, we’re noticing that we don’t need a lot of Magento development, and that’s exactly what we wanted,” says Lucas. “We can focus on creating a unique user experience for advanced printing needs instead of building basic e-commerce functionality.”
A glossy future for Print.com
Today, Print.com processes up to almost a thousand order items every day. While still in an invitation-only phase, the dynamic printing tool has thousands of customer accounts—several hundred of them ordering multiple times per day.
“Our customers are enthusiastic about Print.com because it’s tailored to their needs and streamlines ordering,” says Lucas. “Our 45% conversion rate confirms that our web application works for them.”
With happy customers and growth on the horizon, it’s a great moment for print nerds at Print.com. They bring a passion for the printing industry, an agile mindset, and the ability to execute—all aimed squarely at building an exceptional customer experience. That’s a powerful formula for success and, as the company continues to build on Magento Commerce, the opportunities are limitless.
Print.com uses Magento Commerce as the foundation for its web application, supporting hundreds of orders every day and enabling continuous improvement in the customer experience.