Vistaprint, which provides print and digital marketing products for small business owners, announced today that it is launching a presence management tool which SMBs can use to update information about their business on over 100 local directories. With the offering, the company is moving into a competitive arena with established players like GoDaddy, Yext and Constant Contact, and is perhaps signaling that it sees itself growing to serve a wider variety of small businesses in a holistic way.
On some level, local listings management has really become table stakes for anyone seeking to broadly serve small businesses — a box that, one way or another, must be checked if you consider yourself a one-stop-shop. And as the industry has begun to consolidate in the past couple of years, there has been a push for initially vertical players to build out a wider suite of tools that can serve a range of business types and needs. Listings management is inevitably a part of these expansions.
In moving into the listings space, Vistaprint seems to be indicating that it intends to be one of the remaining major players as the industry consolidates. Vistaprint VP & GM of digital services Scott Bowen said he believed that consolidation is coming to the industry.
“We have a vision around a suite of online marketing services,” said Bowen. “I, personally, would divide front-office from back-office — I know there are a lot of players that are structuring point-of-sale and scheduling alongside marketing and front-office, but our vision here at Vistaprint is exclusively on the latter; outside marketing and customer engagement.”
He said that the company’s goal was to master “omnichannel marketing for the world’s smallest businesses,” and that the addition of listings management was an important piece of that.
With 16 million small businesses already using its services, Vistaprint has a solid customer base to work from — and it has the added advantage that most businesses come into its system right when they are first formed (since printing business cards are often among the first things a business owner will do in the process of getting established). Bowen says that this introduces Vistaprint as a trusted resource for all of a business’ marketing needs right from the beginning.
Bowen said that a company study found that businesses using their listings management tool got 63% more traffic to their websites than those not using the tool. Tellingly, he did say that the majority of the businesses using Vistaprint were not already using a listings management tool at all.
“In general, our micro-business owners are still coming up the learning curve in online marketing,” said Bowen. “Everybody knows what a domain is and why you need it, and how to attach it to a website — that’s an increasingly commoditized use-case. But even then, only 2/3 of small business owners in the U.S. think they need to have a website — or think they can afford one. … And when you get to things like local listings platforms and social marketing, it falls off further.”
One key aspect of the listings service, Bowen said, is that it will cost as little as $10 a month for businesses to use, a price point he said was is 50% to 90% cheaper than what other listings management companies charge. The new service will use business and location data from Neustar Localeze in the U.S., while Uberall’s business data will be helping to power the service in the EU.
“Ease, cost and integration” will be the keys to the service’s success said Bowen: “We want to make this affordable and super-easy … whether it’s physical marketing materials, or websites, or online marketing, we want to give small businesses the opportunity to look professional and compete with the big guys.”
David Hirschman is a co-founder at Street Fight.