Solopress targets pro clients with membership scheme

Jo Francis
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Solopress has launched a new “members’ club” to support a growing number of high-value, frequently ordering customers.

Cooper: “I know the demand exists"
Cooper: “I know the demand exists"

The firm’s new Solopro membership scheme is targeted at other printers, print resellers, and print managers.

Managing director Simon Cooper said that the Southend-on-Sea company had been experiencing an increase in demand from print firms that have shuttered or partially shut down their own operations.

“Lots of printers have seen volumes and demand reduce, and are asking themselves if it makes sense to fire up their own presses,” he explained.

“For many, it makes sense to outsource.”

Solopress has built its reputation around offering a high-quality, fast turnaround print service to SME and micro businesses that typically place relatively small orders for printed collateral such as leaflets, brochures and roller banners.

It’s the first time in 21 years of trading that the firm has made a distinction between different customer types, but Cooper said that tailoring a specific offering to bigger-spending, higher-volume accounts made sense.

“It’s all about serving the customer in the way they want to be served. People might not realise this, but about 40% of our orders are already taken by phone or email,” Cooper said. 

Solopro members will have access to negotiated credit terms, a dedicated account management team, flexible pricing and tailored price lists, bespoke job specs, enhanced pre-press checks, and priority production.

“We can do bespoke products, we can label boxes in a certain way. We can be far more flexible,” he added.

Cooper emphasised that all the firm’s customers remained “highly valued” whether they were spending £500, £5,000 or £250,000.

He said the Solopro scheme would be applicable to buyers that were typically purchasing print on a daily or weekly basis, with an annual spend that was likely to be in excess of £20,000.

“I know the demand exists and I’m confident that with the offering we’re putting out, we will see a big influx of orders. We’ve already had quite a few applications.”

There are no membership fees attached to the scheme. Members will also benefit from a quarterly 'health check' review. 

Solopress runs a wide range of litho and digital kit, and installed the world’s first HP PageWide T250 HD inkjet web with HP’s new ‘Brilliant’ ink set over the summer.

Cooper said the press had taken slightly longer to get up to spec than initially envisaged, but was now producing “exceedingly good quality” and performing well. 

“We monitor quality complaints across all our devices and litho is at the best end of that. The good news is the T250 is performing at the same level as litho.”

He said that running costs were also in line with the firm’s expectations.

“On our click charge equivalent analysis it’s working out exactly as we anticipated, which means our financial modelling makes sense.”

Plans include targeting the publishing sector with the new offering. 

Solopress had sales of £28.5m in its most recent accounts, for 2018. Like many businesses the firm has restructured its operations this year in order to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cooper said that trading had picked up in September and October, but the latest lockdown had again dampened demand from customers whose businesses had been forced to close.

Solopress was acquired by German web-to-print firm Onlineprinters in the spring of 2017.

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