Exclusive Interview of Roland Keppler, Onlineprinters CEO : « We know what our customers are expecting »

Roland Keppler, CEO of Onlineprinters

I'm continuing my serie of interviews of leaders in online printing industry with a discussion with Mr. Roland Keppler, CEO at Onlineprinters, one of the major web-to-print company in Europe.

Ludovic Martin : In 2019, major online print groups like Cimpress or Cewe saw a slowdown in their growth, mostly because of price war, while smaller companies were growing faster and raising funds. Did you feel the same behavior at Onlineprinters ? And do you think this trend will change in 2020 ?

Roland Keppler : “I only speak for Onlineprinters and our company’s development is doing well. We grew satisfactorily in 2019 and our latest numbers make me confident that 2020 will become a good year for us as well. We believe that the major trends in our industry are still in favour for online print. And as much as we see that smaller players are starting an online offer, as much do we see how difficult it is for them to offer the wide range of products as we do and to fulfil the customer promise in terms of quality and speed. We look very optimistic into 2020.”

Ludovic : the webtoprint landscape is changing a lot in Europe with the raise of print marketplaces and price comparators. Do you believe Marketplaces like Amazon or Ali Baba, or new price comparators may change the game in printing like they did in other industries ?
Roland : True, a lot has happened in the recent times. What we notice is that the growth that these players had, has slowed down significantly. Customers realize that they get the best offer directly from the online print companies. We give direct advice and support with regards to the print date, to quality questions as well as to all kinds of delivery questions. We believe that in the long run customers will primarily order directly from the online print companies. I know that our customers are interested in a one-stop-shopping-experience we at Onlineprinters can offer as a result of more than 15 years of experience in online print. Because of a reliable data basis, we know what our customers are expecting. Our printing, e-commerce and service experts are on a really good way to meet the expectations of our demanding customers and I do not fear any competitors.”

Ludovic : for 2020, do you believe that the need of sustainable printed goods will incitate customers to shift to shorter Fulfilment circuits ? Would this impact a company like yours which is mostly manufacturing in Deutschland ?
Roland : Yes, I believe that sustainability and eco-friendly products will become an even bigger topic in the future. Therefore, we have a large variety of eco-friendly products for our customers available. And for the logistics we ensure a CO2-neutral transport. The high degree of automatization and efficiency already ensure a relatively low environmental impact regarding the production. This means, that we support our customers in their goal to keep the environmental footprint as low as possible.

Ludovic : many online printers are focusing again on the resellers market with the launching of closed portal. Do you believe that in the next years there will still be a need for graphic art professionals ?

Roland : Resellers are a special customer group with high order volumes. Graphic art professionals, however, are different and have other needs. For both of these customer groups, Onlineprinters will have specific shop platforms in the near future. And yes, I believe that there will always be a strong market demand for graphic art professionals. DIY online design can and will only go so far – as soon as designs reach a certain level of sophistication, a skilled graphic artist is a must in the creative process.

Ludovic : do you provide specific services for resellers, like APIs or multi-address delivery ?
Roland : Absolutely! Resellers are an important customer group for Onlineprinters and we are working on creating a bunch of new services. Multi-address delivery is one of these services which, however, will not be limited to resellers but available to all customers. APIs are certainly another big topic. In addition to our existing XML-based order API, we’ll come up with a number of different technical integration offerings within this year.

Ludovic : the Brexit, the raise of nationalisms, the tensions between the USA and Europe or China... do you think that the global context may have an impact in 2020 on the online printing industry ?
Roland : Political tensions create uncertainty, and this is unfavourable for the economy overall. Firstly, we believe that printed products remain highly relevant for communication and advertising. Secondly, we know that companies are surging for low prices while keeping high quality, even more in tense times. This means that online print will benefit from the situation and more and new customers will make a good experience with online print.”

Ludovic : as a conclusion, what can I wish you and your teams for this new year ?
Roland : Health and a little more peace on earth and of course a lot of new customers in France!

Thank you Roland !