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11.06.2019 / Knud Wassermann

An innovative business model gives the postcard a new lease of life

The summer holidays are just around the corner again. Pack your bags and off you go! To the sea, to the mountains, no matter where – just relax. And once the stress starts to recede slowly but surely, the thought flickers through your mind that maybe you really ought to send a postcard to your loved ones. 

But be honest: When was the last time you put a postcard in a letterbox? I have to confess, not for a long time. Although postcards are bought, they don't always make it to the recipient. The obstacles along the way – writing, stamps, letterboxes – appear to be too big. But younger generations, in particular, are not exactly bowled over by the pictures either. If they have to send postcards, then they want to send ones with their own pictures.

In the summer of 2013, Oliver Kray was taking pictures on the beach when he had the idea of sending photos as postcards from his mobile phone. After some quick research, he found out that some companies already offered this service. But their user navigation seemed simply too complicated. Kray decided to do better - and established mypostcard.com. The idea of sending digital photos as real postcards worldwide was born.
Installed on over 500,000 smartphones
Meanwhile, the company MyPostcard, which was established in 2014, is active worldwide and by all means successful. But not so much with printing itself (which is often outsourced to print service providers), but with its app-to-print service. The app is now installed on over 500,000 smartphones. The service can also be accessed via an internet browser. The company focuses on personalized holiday and greeting cards. In the app and web versions, there are several thousand finished designs, motifs and elements that can be used individually or combined with one's own image material.

Users can quickly and easily upload their desired images from their Instagram feed or photo album, select the desired layout and add their own personal text to the map. For EUR 1.99 per postcard, MyPostcard prints and dispatches the individual, unique items within 24 hours all over the world. In Germany alone, some 220 million postcards are still sent out every year – in the US, it's almost 800 million. The market therefore exists, MyPostcard has simply found another and above all contemporary approach.

Sales doubled from 2016 to 2017 to around EUR 4 million and growth in excess of 30 percent was recorded in 2018. However, Oliver Kray quickly realized that it is not always just about the product and the technology but rather about understanding how to win over customers and get them excited about a solution in order to quickly make a profit.

Writing success stories
The example from the startup industry shows that combining digital and analog techniques can give somewhat outdated products a new lease of life and turn them into success stories. It is a pity that such business models are mostly developed outside the printing industry. The printing industry is still too strongly caught up in technology and does not think in business models. There is no doubt that technology is important, especially networked technology – but it is just a means to an end. 

It might be a good idea to just visit a startup event and let the spirit infect you. It is important to understand the startup industry and how it works. And you might meet a partner at such an event that you could launch a new business idea with. It would probably be difficult to handle a project like this on your own anyway – both in terms of cash but also as regards know-how.

It goes without saying that such undertakings can also fail, but it's better than doing nothing. Locking down for fear of change will not get you anywhere. If you don't keep moving, you lose out. That's why, the motto: "If you’re not prepared to go along with change, then you’ll be part of it" applies again here. 

Courage, drive, tenacity and a good degree of perseverance are needed to lead a company into a successful future.
Knud Wassermann, Editor-in-Chief of Graphische Revue