The UPS Store chain has launched an Internet service that lets customers design brochures, posters and other materials online, and then have them printed and prepared for pickup at a local UPS Store. The new service is especially targeted to small business. "After reviewing the research and listening to our small business customers, we realized there is a real need in the marketplace for an online printing platform that is easy to use, provides functionality geared to small businesses, and is supported by a convenient network of physical locations," said Stuart Mathis, president of Mail Boxes Etc. Inc., a unit of UPS that is the franchisor of The UPS Store brand.
To access the service, a customer logs onto TheUPSstore.com/print, uploads a new document or multiple documents, and selects printing material and a participating UPS Store location for pickup of the custom printed products. Customers can also register for their own profile section on the website for secure storage of printing projects for future use.
The UPS Store chain has more than 4,400 locations. However, UPS has not said how many of them will participate in the online printing service. With the new service, UPS is entering a market that has grown rapidly in recent years, primarily for VistaPrint Ltd. VistaPrint provides website development services, as well as customized printing products ranging from business cards to rubber stamps and car door magnets.
A spokesman has said VistaPrint doesn't believe the new UPS service is infringing on its territory. "In the past few years, we have seen a number of competitors take an interest in the online print space," he said. "But we don't believe the new UPS service directly competes with Vistaprint, and what we currently offer our target customer base." VistaPrint has taken steps to offer its customers, mostly small businesses, a way to access its services from a national chain of stores. The online retailer announced this spring an agreement to offer VistaPrint services through the 1,600 FedEx Office stores, formerly known as FedEx Kinko's.
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