Products and Services
The following subtopics discuss Bizcomm's products, how these products are produced, and an overview of competitor's products.
3.1 Product and Service Description
A general description of Bizcomm's core products would be client communication cards. Cards which, for example, an auto dealer might send to someone who had recently come into the showroom and expressed an interest in his make of car. The card would say something like "Thank you for your visit" or "It was a pleasure serving you." Bizcomm could personalize the cards with the auto dealer's logo and could print any special message the dealer wanted. The company maintains a large stock of printed cards which can fairly easily be removed from inventory, have a special logo overprinted on them, and sent off in the mail. A normal commercial printer cannot compete in this type of work.
- Slida-Card®. This makes it possible for a business to personalize a generic "Thank You" card by providing special slits into which a business card can be inserted.
- Cirlo-Card®. These are specially die-cut cards that form the lower section of a fold-over "Thank You" card. The client receiving the card can punch out the die-cut and place it into his Rolodex file.
- Presentation and custom pocket folders, custom stationery and envelopes of various type and size, memo pads, customized shipping labels, etc.
- Another category of products encompasses ad specialty and promotional products (key chains, note cubes, pens, etc.). Bizcomm is a member of the American Society of Indexers (ASI). ASI is an organization that represents thousands of manufacturers of specialty items. These items are depicted and described on DVD where it is possible to search through thousands of items using key words, and then choose items especially suited to a particular industry. These products are a recent addition to the Bizcomm line and have not yet been fully marketed.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
For a competitive comparison of Bizcomm's core product, the Slida-Card®, the following options are considered:
- Retail Outlets: Here, only a very limited number of generic cards are available, and these are without slits, and are blank inside. A box of 20 "Thank You" cards is available at Staples for $3.29, and are without slits. The design is uninspired and the size is slightly smaller than Bizcomm's Slida-Card®. The price works out to $164.50 per thousand. Bizcomm sells via mail order out-of-state at $199 per thousand which includes a wider choice of messages, slits for a business card, and offers the addition of a personalized logo for only $15 more (one time set-up charge). Some larger cards, on thicker stock, similar to Bizcomm's Executive and/or Formal Collection with "Congratulations" and "It Was Good to Meet You" are also available at Staples for $4.74 for 10 cards. This works out to $474 per thousand versus Bizcomm's price of $359. Again special optional colors, special logos and custom messaging is available from Bizcomm that can't be offered at the retail level.
- Mail-order Competitor: Rockford, located in nearby Marblehead, offers virtually the same product as Bizcomm's Slida-Card® for $202 per thousand (slightly higher than Bizcomm's $199), and a similar Executive card for $312 per thousand versus Bizcomm's price of $359.
- Do-it-yourself Desk Top Publishing Programs: This method is often tried, but is not very competitive. Ink jet printers can only handle certain paper stock, folding by hand leaves an unattractive result, and it is usually more expensive if one factors in the high cost of ink cartridges.
- Other Competitors: Some catalogs which target a specialized industry offer cards similar to the Executive cards that Bizcomm produces at $490 per thousand, as well as personalized cards of lighter stock (without slits) for $139 per thousand. Competition from this sector is very powerful even given a high price differential.
Sourcing is not a major concern for Bizcomm. The cards are manufactured using only ink, paper stock, and envelopes--all of which are available from a number of paper suppliers. Bizcomm has a close relationship with Etheridge Ferry Papers in Livingston, NY. who provides special payment terms which permit Bizcomm to purchase in large quantity to take advantage of attractive pricing while allowing payment term to begin only when a pallet is opened.
Ad specialty and promotional items are supplied by a large number of manufacturers on a drop-ship basis. ASI provides a list of suppliers for any particular ad specialty. If one manufacturer can't make a delivery, Bizcomm can choose another from the list.
Technology has not had a great effect on this business over the past couple decades; however, a new trend in the business is specialized services. Companies with large customer bases can download addresses and names over the Internet and have a host of customer communications out-sourced. A company, such as a furniture retailer, could arrange to have a card automatically sent to every buyer on the first anniversary of the purchase.
Technological advances in electronic mail are also attracting the attention of companies who depend on direct mail for leads. Despite filters against "spam" (unsolicited email) there are ways to reach direct mail targets via email ads. How skillful the direct mailer is in the design of the email message, and how clever he is in skirting the spam filters, can mean substantial profits--especially when coupled with an exciting website.
3.5 Future Products and Services
The main product which Bizcomm has on the drawing board is a catalog especially designed to cater to the needs of a targeted industry. This market segmentation approach is necessary to secure a stable market share of business communication products against invasion by specialty catalogs.