Tue, Jul

Make it your own

Want to spend no more than £50 a month on a customised ecommerce website? Venture Banners may have the answer.

Large-format trade printer Venture Banners has developed an online print ordering system that it hopes will boost its trade - and that of the PSPs it works with. A full description of the VB2 offering - so named because it follows an earlier system introduced in 2013 - can be found at: https://vb.media/feature-list/ but, basically, it’s a white label website designed to help you sell more print.

“We asked our customers ‘what can we do to help you sell more wide-format print’?” says Scott Conway, joint founder of Essex-based Venture Banners, which derives 70% of its own £3m turnover from online sales. “Having developed a very easy to use website for ourselves, we could see the benefit in providing our customers with a simple online solution that they could effectively use as a sales tool. So we initially developed VB1, which for £29 a month gave PSPs an online large-format print ordering system. Now VB1 has been replaced by a completely overhauled offering with much more functionality, and which gives PSPs the ability to sell small-format as well as large-format print.”

In a nutshell, for a one-off £295 set-up charge and monthly fee of £49 thereafter, Venture Banners will set you up with a new website customised with your own branding and content - such as products, prices, images, descriptions etc. Venture Banners will design you a new company logo, or use your existing one, and brand the site to your specifications. It will design your homepage and create custom pages, as well as adding products and materials ordering. Venture Banners print products, prices etc. will be imported too.

When your customers place an order through the website, you'll be notified immediately, and you can manage the order in an admin area of the site, where you can review it, process it, and decide if you'll fulfill the order yourself or send it out to another supplier.

“Scott and I are from a marketing background. It means we’ve always understood the importance of having a good website,” says tech savvy Wayne Bodimeade, who founded Venture Banners with Conway back in 2008, and who has been key to the company’s own software developments over the years.

“We’ve learned a lot from creating our own website, MIS and workflows,” points out Bodimeade. “Keeping it simple is the main thing. VB2 is exactly that. But I’ll send out a warning - VB2 won’t make you £1m overnight! If users don’t actually market the website it won’t do anything for them. It isn’t magic.”

A laughing Conway adds: “A lot of printers are still very old school. Some of them do already have websites of course, but they tend to be rubbish. If they wanted to create a new site with anything like VB2 functionality it would cost them upwards of £10,000.”

Venture Banners, which has invested £1.3m in the last 12 months, including the freehold building into which it moved in February and around £500,000 on new MTEX, Vutek and Zund kit since then – has also spent I the region of £250,000 developing its VB online offering according to Conway. “We aren’t planning a hard sell on VB2,” he says. “We mention it to customers who we think will benefit from using it.”

Gavin De Boos, who was brought in to work on the VB2 development and now runs the project, says around 70 PSPs have already bought into the system since its launch earlier this summer. “VB1 tended to be used as a satellite site to a PSPs main website because they only sold large-format through it. With VB2 you can sell any product, so it tends to replace existing websites and become a PSP’s one-stop webshop.

“At the end of the day, the printers I talk to want a simple website that they can brand to their own company and that doesn’t cost a lot. And they don’t want hassle. We are professionals - my background is in coding - and they know it’s in all our interests to deliver a well-set up site that will hopefully help them sell more, and hopefully we’ll get more work from them too - so it’s a win-win situation”


(panel) FAQs

Will there be any mention of Venture Banners on my site?
No, there is no mention of who provides your website, and Venture Banners hosts the site and all shared imagery separately from venturebanners.co.uk.

Can I add my own logo and colours?
Yes, there are many styling / branding / colour options.

Do I have to sell Venture Banners products?
Importing Venture Banners products is very easily done, but you can sell as many or as few as you like.

Can I add my own products?

Can we change pricing?
Yes, you can sell items at any price you wish. This includes any items you import from Venture Banners.

If I sell Venture Banners products do those orders always go to Venture Banners?
No, you can select any supplier for any item on any order.

Will / can orders be sent to Venture Banners automatically?
No, you will receive an automatic email notification. You can then log into the ‘admin area’ to process the order. VB Media remains unrestrictive, so you are therefore able to send products to any supplier. To do so, you need to process the order yourself.

Can I add my own suppliers?
Yes, as many as you like. Orders (or parts of orders) can also be emailed to your custom suppliers directly from the ‘admin area’ when processing an order.

Can I take credit/debit card payments?
Yes, you can take online payments using the Stripe payment gateway. You sign up for an account, activate it, and enter your API keys into the VB Media ‘admin

Can I use another payment gateway?
No, currently the only payment gateway supported is Stripe

Can I host the site myself?
No, it is hosted on Venture Banners’ servers. Due to how the ‘admin area’ works it requires a certain set of permissions to create files on your site.

Can I have FTP/source access?
No. Venture Banners does not allow direct access to the hosted files for security reasons.

Is there a contract length or minimum term?
No, it is a rolling monthly subscription which you can cancel at any point.

Can I pay in different instalments i.e. quarterly?

How is payment made?
Payment is made via direct debit. This is taken out on the 5th of each month - or the nearest working day.

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