Q&A with Vincent Tong: Solving real problems with Printcious
|Vincent Tong, Managing Director of Printcious|
Why did you start this business?
To build a business empire that provides value and solves problems in the real world.
Tell us in 3 points what your business is? Or, what problems are you solving?
PROBLEM #1: Most consumers, especially Gen-Y and millennials, sometimes lack gift ideas which are unique, affordable and convenient to buy because they are not easily found in the market.
SOLUTION #1: We have built an online customised gift store with an online design tool which allows our customers to customise memorable gifts with photos, text or other designs easily with zero or little knowledge in digital editing.
With our online customising gift store, we would like to advocate the beautiful culture of gift giving to foster caring relationships for a better and more harmonious society.
PROBLEM #2: Many graphic designers and photographers are looking for additional channels to resell their arts and photos for more income without finding proper gateways.
SOLUTION #2: We built an online Designer Marketplace with design crowd sourcing, whereby all designers can upload their designs to our Designer Marketplace and in the process receive a royalty fee once their designs have been purchased by customers to print on our gift items.
With our Designer Marketplace, we would like to discover, appreciate and reward designers and artists especially with royalty from selling their art online.
Currently we have 400++ designers. We aim to have at least 30,000 designers in our marketplace and to be the Largest Designer Marketplace in ASEAN countries.
PROBLEM #3: Many traditional retail shops have problems in sustaining their business especially those which are sunset businesses such as photo studios.
SOLUTION #3: We build a dealer program for business partners to resell our customised gifts as promotional items or added values to upsell their products/services without investing in any expensive printing machine.
We hope to create more business opportunities for business partners to have extra income and expand their existing business at lower costs.
|Vincent & Henry Tong from Printcious|
Tell us in 3 points what are the challenges are you facing in your business? And, how do you overcome the challenges?
• Marketing: not many people know that gifts can be customised and also printed with as low as one unit per transaction.
SOLUTION: Thus, we are educating the market via Facebook to show how easy and affordable it is to create their own gifts by creating educational content in blog and YouTube.
• Building the Designer Marketplace: it is challenging to build a marketplace especially when we want to serve both supply and demand parties. We must have many design submissions from designers and get as many customers as possible to purchase their designs as well. If it is imbalanced, they will leave our marketplace.
SOLUTION: We organised our very first Printcious Art Contest from April to July 2016 to discover local designers and invite them to join our designer marketplace. We carried out interviews and featured their stores in our marketplace to introduce them to the market. Some of their stories have also been highlighted in our blog.
• Hiring Talent: As a start-up, we are not able to give decent packages to our talent. Most talents prefer to work in MNC or startups with funding.
SOLUTION: We hire our talents based on great attitude with positive energy and good learning attitude regardless their capabilities. Then, we provide intensive training to equip them with the knowledge to pick up their jobs.
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What are the 3 top sellers in your website?
• Personalised gifts such as mugs, cushions, puzzles or phone cases during gift giving occasions such as birthday, wedding etc.
• Customised corporate gifts such as promotional gift items customised with individual names according to clients' requests.
• Instant gift printing service to print badges or mugs as a special giveaway to guests during special events.
What system / tools / services do you use for your business?
• Shopping cart: We built our own shopping cart using ASP.net technology
• Web hosting: Microsoft Azure
• Payment gateway: MOLPay
• Customer support / Live chat: Zopim
• Email marketing: MailChimp
• CRM / Business Intelligence etc: Zendesk
• Internal communication: Whatsapp and Skype
• Warehouse management: We build our own WMS
• Courier services: SKYNET, TA-Q-BIN
• Others: Google AdWords and Facebook Ad
What are your upcoming plans to grow your business?
• Short term goal: Brand Printcious to become the first choice of gift giving for personal and corporate.
• Long term goal: Build an eco-system in the gift industry that benefits all stakeholders such as gift seekers, designers, dealers, gift makers and so on.
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