December 1, 2009

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ZenPrint Streamlines Web-to-print Services

By Hilary Ingoldsby Whitesides

December 1, 2009

In today’s day and age, the Internet is usually the first place people look for products and information. And businesses are no different. Not only do businesses use the Web to enhance their accessibility, but they also use it to locate marketing and merchandise services. In the past, though, businesses have had to look several places for each individual service, costing time and other resources. Now, businesses can satisfy their product, marketing and customer retention needs through local companies bundling several services in one place. From building brand recognition, to strengthening customer retention, to connecting with other businesses, the modern company can build an online presence now with one-stop shopping. ZenPrint is one Utah-based company providing what is described as an “enlightened” way to streamline the Web-to-print experience. And co-founder and CEO, JD Gardner, says the company is just getting started. Finding A Solution Gardner started ZenPrint the same way most entrepreneurs start their company: by noticing a need and finding a solution. As a businessman himself, Gardner noticed the need for a service that organized various Web, franchisee and marketing needs in a growing company—services that his company, ZenPrint, offers today. With business partner Nate Jensen, Gardner developed a plan to streamline these processes, creating software that ultimately allowed businesses to create customizable print-on-demand Websites with ease. As the software grew in popularity, Gardner and Jensen realized ZenPrint could do even more. “Companies loved the software and how customizable it was, but at the same time they wanted to integrate where the order was,” Gardner says. In 2006, ZenPrint purchased a print shop from a retiring businessman and invested more than $1 million in printers, scanners and other digital technology that would allow the company to automate the experience from the software to the printer. With this change, ZenPrint drastically cut customer costs and business expenses at the same time. Businesses were also able to produce items that they actually sold instead of producing items in bulk and then having to liquidate those products. “In this economy, don’t waste your money on a big inventory risk,” Gardner says. “Instead, turn your merchandise into a profit center and let us do all the heavy lifting.” The idea that you could create a Website that allows customers to purchase a product, have the product ordered and processed on that same Website and have the item produced by that company is one the business world has caught on to quickly. Building Web Presence What started as a Web-to-print business has quickly expanded into an all-inclusive Web presence machine with several products. ZenFront allows customers to create a Web-to-print storefront and online catalog. It also helps a company combine the use of social media outlets with the company’s Website, while also allowing the company to track the success of its marketing plans. ZenDirect focuses on marketing needs, allowing customers to create target specific marketing campaigns and easily manage and contact customers aiding customer retention. And, with a user-friendly interface that doesn’t require past design experience, ZenStudio allows clients to design custom products such as T–shirts. ZenMarket is a great tool for community marketplaces. Working for Utah Gardner estimates that about 50 percent of ZenPrint’s customers are Utah-based companies. But the ability to print directly from ZenPrint’s local press, or from another vendor, makes ZenPrint accessible to global companies as well. Nutritional product powerhouse, Monavie, used ZenPrint to create a storefront for customers, and a second front for employees; both are custom fit for the company. The correlation has been a key factor in managing the company’s growth and affiliates. According to Gardner, it has also led to a healthy increase in sales volume. Another company utilizing ZenPrint’s products is Longboards Ice Cream. The small company wanted to create a strong Web presence and tapped ZenPrint to create its Website, storefront and marketing campaigns. “For a company that wants to offer all of these things, [ZenPrint] is a robust tool,” Gardner says. Inc. magazine recently listed ZenPrint as one of the 500 fastest-growing privately owned companies in the United States, with a growth rate of 775.4 percent during 2008. “We are excited to let the business world know what we can do and be an asset to as many companies as we can,” Gardner says.
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