A9 Digital Prints to target premium segment with the 5th color option
When A9 Digital Prints moved out of the digital printing hub of Andheri East in 2010 to New Link Road in Andheri West, it was considered a brave move since the latter area did not have as big a market for digital print services as the former. In Andheri East, A9 was operating since around 2002 and had a good client base of college students and a steady business.
“It was certainly a big risk to move out of a stable market of Andheri East to Andheri West but I was ready for the challenge. Also, the market in Andheri East was getting highly competitive with multiple players, which was squeezing our margins. I was confident of developing the digital print services market in Andheri West. Our first move post the relocation was to start a scheme where we offered 100 business cards for Rs. 99. No one in Andheri West was running such a lucrative offer,” says Amit Premji, proprietor of A9 Digital Prints.
A9 Digital Prints started off with a Xerox DC12 and then gradually upgraded to Xerox 5252. Along with the digital print services business, it was also running a mobile retiling business. Around 2010, with the shift to Andheri West, A9 bought a Canon 6000 which was in service till early 2017.
New Ricoh C7100X
Although, Andheri West is still not as big a digital printing hub as Andheri East, Premji says his business has grown significantly in last six to seven years. Most of his clients are from the corporate sector and have been regularly dealing with A9 for the last many years. A9 prints promotional items, visual aids, visiting cards, brochures, etc. for pharmaceutical companies, real estate firms and banks.
To take the philosophy of providing quality print work a step further, A9 in early April replaced the Canon 6000 with Ricoh Pro C7100X 5-color digital production printer with white and clear ink. This press offers the ability to print additional colors other than CMYK. Clear gloss and white toner provide more value-added applications such as spot gloss, flood, and watermarks along with printing on colored and clear media. The Ricoh Pro C7100X runs at up to 80 ppm in color and black & white on thick stock up to 360 gsm.
“It was the fifth color option that made us opt for the Ricoh Pro C7100X. We want to aggressively expand in the high-end and niche printing segments, such as label printing, high-end wedding cards, premium business cards in white or UV or clear,” Premji informs. A9 Digital Prints will soon have a separate team to work on various fifth color applications and a full portfolio of premium products will be created.
Leveraging the internet for expansion
Like many other technologically savvy printers, A9 Digital Prints too has begun leveraging the power of internet to expand its geographical reach. The idea to launch a web portal was conceived a couple of years ago but it took a concrete identity only about a few months ago in the shape of digitalbees.com. Through the portal, A9 offers a variety of services utilizing all the technologies at its disposal. Customers can order business cards, invitation cards, address labels, letter heads, book marks, badges and much more. Online orders for mug and T-shirt printing is also taken through the website.
“Through digitalbees.com we have been able to offer our services to a wider customer pool. Currently, we get about 200 orders a month and our target is to process about 600 orders in two year’s time. We are working hard to achieve that target,” Premji shares.