Warwickshire-based CeWe Color is taking on Moonpig and Funky Pigeon with its 'premium' Card Town personalised greetings card service.
Online marketing manager James Morgan said the company decided not to follow the Moonpig template. "We wanted to move away from the trend for silly names. This isn't a 'me too Moonpig', it's slightly more premium. We want to establish a more 'Hallmark' brand."
One of the ways it hopes to stand out is with Face It software, which it has integrated into the service and which automatically recognises faces from user content and includes it in its templated designs, altering skin colour and even eye direction.
The service is already live, although an officially launch isn't planned until after Christmas. Rather than a TV blitz, CeWe is concentrating its marketing on social media, and will integrate with Facebook so that users can create cards for friends' upcoming birthdays.
CeWe also has other advantages to play off through its role as the photo service provider to retailer Jessops, and expects to launch the service with Argos, as well as a numerous other retail and publishing companies.
The £11m-turnover business is the UK production site for the CeWe Color european group, but this is a UK project. Morgan said he hopes to roll it out to the US, South Africa, the Netherlands and other card-savvy territories over time.
He welcomed the recent decision to close the VAT loophole that has enabled rivals such as Moonpig to sidestep VAT in the past by operating out of the Channel Islands. "It's very interesting for us," he said. "It levels the playing field as all our cards are manufactured in Warwick."
Cards are produced on the company's Kodak Nexpress machines with prices aligned to its competitors, starting at £2.99 for a standard single cards, £5.99 for a larger A4 product and £12.99 for 10 smaller cards.