If you’ve watched any cable news for the past several years, chances are you’ve seen an advertisement for Vistaprint. You may be suspicious of any as-seen-on-TV products, and with Vistaprint, you are probably right.
Let’s not beat around the bush and talk about the main reason why Vistaprint business cards are nowhere near the expectations even for their low price: quality. There is no denying that Vistaprint is one of the longest-running online printing companies offering a multitude of products from business cards, postcards, flyers, gift cards, and even stationary. Despite the company’s long experiences in the industry, it is not uncommon to receive business cards from Vistaprint with some unwanted flaws such as:
- Minimum thickness
- Poor coating
- Tattered edges and corners, most likely due to low-quality material
- “Grayish” white, and generally dull in colors
Many of their business cards are even cut at an angle on the top edge. It is possible that Vistaprint doesn’t think you will notice such details, or it may even expect you to ignore the mistakes if you do see them. For a company that claims to be professional, it should know better than sending “seemingly unfinished” business cards to buyers. The most irritating part is that such a mistake is NOT unavoidable, so the only probable reason is the lack of quality control.
If you order a pack of business cards, chances are you have enough experience with printed materials; you know how to tell good quality products from the bad ones. With the quality Vistaprint makes, the company appears to disregard customers’ standard in its entirety.
And then there is the “Free” sample kit
For many people, something that comes “free” is always worth taking. In this case, Vistaprint gives you a sample kit consisting of multiple versions of the business cards they sell. The free business sample kit is also available with a single pack contains business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, flyers, and presentation folders. Those samples are theoretically produced with the same quality as the non-free versions. The only way you can make a real comparison is of course by placing actual orders. If you really think about it, the whole idea of “free kit” is nothing but a tricky marketing strategy.
At first, you are pleased with the free offerings, and the products they send may, in fact, look great. And then you feel somewhat obligated to place order because the company gives you free stuff, not to mention that the products are of reasonable quality. You get 1 sample kit, yet the minimum order is 100 pieces. Even with the sample, there is no guarantee the actual products will be of the same quality.
High volume traffic
The lack of quality control is often an inevitable result of a high production scale. When a manufacturing company deals with high-output demand, quality control has all the likelihood to become slightly ignored; from the looks of it, Vistaprint suffers from the same symptom.
Hundreds (if not thousands) of people order their business cards from Vistaprint every single day, but just because a company is popular, it does not necessarily mean it is the best option in town. Either those people don’t know any better or they are attracted to the low price for the most part. You must understand that the low price is only possible when the products are of low quality as well. Put side by side with the next reputable suppliers, Vistaprint’s business cards do not stand a chance.
Cheap is not affordable
In the business world, you really get what you pay for. You have to admit that Vistaprint has an interesting pricing structure:
- 100 pieces of Standard Business Cards – 14pt paper stock & square corners – come at just $15
- The ultra-thick version – 32pt paper stock & uncoated matte finish – comes at $33.99 for the same amount as its standard counterpart.
Depending on the shape and finishes, you may need to pay more or less. Yes the prices are low, and it is a good advertising technique; otherwise, no one would order from Vistaprint. Of course, you want to get the most out of your money, but an extra-cheap price is not a safe bet for anything, let alone for business cards.
You want people and all your potential customers to feel appreciated when you give them your business card. What they read in the card is your professional identity with a business name and graphics that should attract them to work with you and purchase goods & services you offer. A business card of mediocre quality is a rookie mistake in business. You don’t want to overwhelm people with fancy shiny graphically-heavy business cards, yet you don’t want them to feel underwhelmed either.
Bear in mind that cheap is far from being affordable. You can end up spending more money on cheap business cards because you have to reorder and reprint them the second time to get the quality you want. It is a waste of time money and energy on something that can be made great by a better printing service. You probably spend a little bit more, but the quality you get is worth every penny. And your customers will consider your business cards as precious items to keep.
Read Before You Buy
In Consumer Affairs, Vistaprint receives just 2.2 stars out of 5; Trust Pilot reviews give 2.4 stars out of 5. Just like with everything else you want to purchase, make time to read real customers’ reviews and testimonials online. Although there is a good chance that you are in entirely different circumstances than other clients, at least use the information they provide as considerations. If there are too many people say that Vistaprint sucks, there must be some truth in it. Not all the poor ratings were because of bad quality products. Some of the complaints were targeted at customer service, refund policies, late delivery, and sometimes downright scams.
What are the alternatives?
The short answer is plenty. Vistaprint is not the only online printing services on the web. You have many options to choose from, and some are most likely much better in terms of quality, value, and customer service.
Print Peppermint is the one that crosses the mind when it comes to high-quality online printing services for professionals. The company specializes in custom business cards with a multitude of finishing options like die-cutting, foil stamping, embossing, painted edges, and many more. A great advantage is that Print Peppermint has a no-nonsense refund policy, meaning you can ask for a refund anytime in case you are not 100% satisfied with the products for whatever reason you may have.