Exclusive interview : what is Rene Van Dijk's vision about online printing in 2020 (HelloPrint)

Rene Van Dijk, Helloprint co-founder

Following up my first interview of Online Printing leaders with Robert Keane's vision, I'm pleased to share Helloprint CPO Rene Van Dijk about perspectives in 2020 in online printing.

“The market potential is still there, on a global scale.”

Ludovic : In 2019, major online print groups like Cimpress or Cewe saw a slowdown in their growth, while smaller companies were growing faster and raising funds. Do you think this trend will change in 2020 ? 
Rene Van Dijk : The market is changing continuously, especially with more new parties entering the online market of printed products. Different current big players have started earlier with their propositions and already grew to certain revenues. And keeping up with high double-digit growth is then more difficult. Sometimes resulting in acquisitions to sustain certain growth figures and benefitting from economies of scale. We see new (smaller companies) entering the market and growing fast by offering other products and propositions. And this, of course, attracts investors. Like Helloprint has done. And I feel this will continue for the next years because the market potential is still there, on a global scale.

Ludovic : The webtoprint landscape is changing in Europe with the raise of marketplaces and price comparators. Do you believe Marketplaces like Amazon or Ali Baba will change the game in printing like they did in other industries ?
Rene : Amazon has already started with this and Ali Baba is offering its database of producers and products. But I do not know how this will develop, also since the design and related services play a major role in this market. Also, I do not believe in just comparing printed products because I think this is difficult. Addressing differences and quality is not easy to do online. However, I feel platforms / marketplaces are interesting.

Ludovic : For 2020, do you believe that the need of sustainable printed goods will incitate customers to shift to shorter Fulfilment circuits ?
Rene : Yes, but this is not just for printed products. Many industries and companies are focusing more on sustainability. But unfortunately, still, many companies perceive this as just marketing while I feel this should be embedded in the core of one's business. Really caring in making a difference. And customer are interested in companies that do this and shorten the supply chain.

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 ?
Rene : the graphic professional plays and will plays an important role in the printing industry. Especially since many large online providers are depending on the resellers for critical mass. And since many customers have selected these professionals to help them with their printed needs. And I think this will not change soon.

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?
Rene :  I think this will always play a certain role. And this requires companies to always think and plan ahead when facing these challenges. For example, Helloprint has worked on the Brexit scenario for more several years and managed to secure local production for almost all products. And we since we are building a large network of partners - also local in other countries- we are able to reduce risk and respond swift on any challenge.

Ludovic : As a conclusion, what can I wish you and your teams for this new year ?
Rene : First of all great health, happiness, and of course enjoying the challenge we are in. Especially since our enthusiastic team of professionals is eager to reach new milestones in 2020. Thank you.

Thank you Rene for accepting this interview