Module 4 Discussion

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timer Asked: Feb 6th, 2019
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Question Description

Provide a detailed analysis for Customlink’s target market? Does this target market fit with the company’s overall strategy (e.g. Low-cost provider, Differentiator, or Niche)? Does it matter? How does Customlink position their products and explain if this is related to their target market and company strategy?

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Company Background Packet Copyright © Real Time Cases 11092018 All Rights Reserved. The content of this document and accompanying videos may not be reproduced or distributed without the express written consent of Real Time Cases Inc. Users acknowledge that the document and accompanying case videos, and all copyright and other intellectual and proprietary rights therein, are and at all times, shall remain the property of Real Time Cases Inc. and its licensors, and their respective assignees. Users agree to respect and not to alter, remove, or conceal any copyright, trademark, trade name, or other proprietary marking that appears in this document. Proprietary & Confidential 2 COMPANY PROFILE ............................................................... 4 Leadership Team .............................................................................4 Company Overview ..........................................................................5 Fast Facts ........................................................................................5 History and Development .................................................................5 Industry ............................................................................................6 Competitive Environment .................................................................7 Product ............................................................................................7 Sales and Marketing ........................................................................7 Business Update ..............................................................................8 Proprietary & Confidential 3 Company Profile Company Name: Location: Founded: Website: Holding Type: Company Size: Estimated Revenue: Estimated Valuation: Industry: CustomInk Fairfax, VA 1999 www.customink.com Privately held 1K+ employees $300M $400 - $500M Custom Goods Retail Leadership Team Marc Katz Nick Braden Founder, CEO President Before co-founding CustomInk.com, Marc Katz worked as a financial analyst at a Wall Street firm. He earned a B.A. in physics from Harvard University. Katz led and supervised public service programs during his college career. He is extremely passionate about community service, which he pairs with an entrepreneurial spirit. Like Katz, Braden believes that products can change lives. As CEO of Hastens, a Swedish luxury bed maker, Braden shifted the company’s marketing focus from selling mattresses to improving a customer’s daily life through better sleep. As General Manager for North America for L’Occitane, he helped build the company’s U.S. business, laying the groundwork for an initial public offering (IPO). Proprietary & Confidential 4 Company Overview CustomInk is a company that enables people to design and order custom-decorated products such as printed T-shirts and embroidered caps for groups and events, including student groups, bands, small businesses, corporations, family reunions, and more. Their custom Tshirt printing operations accommodate orders of all sizes, ranging from a single T-shirt to quantities in the thousands, though CustomInk’s goal is to focus on large group orders. We’re all about bringing people together in positive ways and strengthening community through custom apparel. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Northern Virginia, CustomInk is dynamic, forwardthinking, and rapidly growing. CustomInk strives to provide their customers with the best products and the best overall experience possible. CustomInk is equally committed to their employees and their vendors. CustomInk operates with a strong focus on innovation and individual responsibility. Fast Facts • Founded in 2000, CustomInk has grown from its original 10-person team to a company of 1,600+ employees • Since 2003, the company’s core values have been The Golden Rule, Ownership, and Innovation • In 2016, CustomInk was recognized, for the second year in a row, as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and acknowledged for its focus on team well-being, generous benefits, and strong core values • In 2018, CustomInk opened several physical stores—some standalone and several located within Michaels stores. This will enable the company to compete with more traditional promotional product businesses • The custom screen printing market had an estimated revenue of $8 billion in 2015 with an annual growth of 1.8%1 History and Development The story of CustomInk began in 1999 with three former college classmates. While Marc Katz was working on Wall Street, his former roommate Mike Driscoll had spent his previous summer building the first version of CustomInk.com—together they founded CustomInk. After Driscoll decided to go back to graduate school, he appointed Katz to take over the website and lead 1 https://www.ibisworld.com/industry/custom-screen-printing.html Proprietary & Confidential 5 business operations development. Katz contacted former classmate Dave Christensen, who joined their team and possessed valuable computer expertise to assist them. The first version of the website was very simple and provided one function: allowing customers to upload graphics onto T-shirts and buy them. Despite early size and technology limitations, CustomInk’s focus on customer satisfaction from an early stage set them apart from competition. As CustomInk’s customer base grew, they managed to attract attention to their brand and ever-expanding product offerings. The company’s line grew from T-shirts to any clothing item, from apparel to accessories. Additionally, CustomInk now offers services to customize promotional products like drinkware, pens, sunglasses, towels, etc. The company was ranked 55th in Inc. Magazine's "Inc. 500" list of America's fastest-growing private companies and has also been ranked #4 in the United States in the 8th Annual Great Place to Work™ list. The recent launch of physical stores enables customers to ask questions of expert staff faceto-face when they're trying to solve an issue or fulfill a specific need. Industry CustomInk operates within the online apparel and accessories market, the second largest eCommerce category by sales in the United States. In 2017, sales reached $80.9B, and they are expected to grow to $123.4B in 2022 (see chart below). As individuals become more comfortable ordering these types of goods without physically experiencing them, analysts expect to see the industry take off at an even higher rate. Exhibit: eCommerce Sales Growth in the United States Source: Statista CustomInk is focused on the customized goods niche in the apparel and accessories industry. Proprietary & Confidential 6 CustomInk estimates this particular market to be valued at between $5B–$7B in annual sales. Overall, the marketplace is highly fragmented, with many smaller players who collectively control the market. In addition to the online customized goods retailers, there are brick-andmortar stores throughout the United States. Competitive Environment The customized apparel market is highly competitive—entering the market can require nothing more than a heat press or a screen-printing machine along with some basic design skills. CustomInk is the largest individual company in this market with an estimated market share of 5%–7%. Other big competitors in the market include UberPrints, Vistaprint, Underground Printing, and Fresh Prints. Product CustomInk’s website enables people to custom print and embroider products such as printed T-shirts, hoodies, polos, jackets, sweatshirts, caps, and plenty more—customers include small businesses, corporations, family reunions, clubs, and the like. Their custom T-shirt printing operations accommodate orders of all sizes, ranging from a single T-shirt to quantities in the thousands. In addition to screen printing and embroidery for bulk orders, they offer services that allow their customers to design and order as little as one custom T-shirt at a time for gifts or selfexpression. They also offer free expert art assistance, design consultations, and a thorough proofing process to ensure that all custom designs—whether printed on one product or thousands—turns out just as the customer ordered. CustomInk online design studio offers free access to a huge art and font library on their design lab interface, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the business. Customers also have the option to upload a photo, logo, or scanned designs with ease. Sales and Marketing According to CustomInk, their focus on customer satisfaction has been the number-one key in the company’s success since day one. During continuous expansion and growth, they’ve been able to maintain their intense focus on the quality of their service. When an order is placed on CustomInk.com, an entire team of expert artists reviews the order for free—evaluating every design for sizing, contrast, and layering issues. When necessary, they will recreate and enhance uploaded images so that they are suitable for printing. For complicated designs or orders of over 250 pieces, CustomInk will overnight customers a free sample prior to full production. CustomInk’s customer service calls are answered by real people, and if the goods are flawed or if the order arrives later than promised, customers can return the order for a full refund within 15 days. CustomInk’s high satisfaction rates are their most powerful marketing tool. Depending on the order size, CustomInk realizes a profit margin of between 5% and 20% for every transaction. Proprietary & Confidential 7 Brick-and-mortar stores: At their store locations, CustomInk employees offer customers professional help and input creating custom apparel. Customers have the ability to examine products and samples in store before deciding on which products to order. CustomInk has store locations in multiple states, including Virginia, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada; several are located inside of Michaels stores. The company plans to expand their physical presence to include more locations in the future. Business Update Booster: Booster is a fundraising platform designed to help individuals and organizations raise money and awareness by selling custom T-shirts to support charities, personal causes, or other positive purposes. Essentially, Booster helps customers transition from buying shirts to selling them. Pear: Recently shut down by CustomInk, Pear’s original mission was to make advertising more meaningful for brands and consumers through developing platforms for brand engagement advertising. Represent: Represent is a social merchandising and marketing platform that enables anyone to create and sell custom apparel & accessories with no up-front costs. Launched in May 2014, Represent removes the hurdles between having a creative idea and selling merchandise online, enabling anyone with a following to generate engagement and revenue through custom merchandise sales. Proprietary & Confidential 8 ...
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Gilmore
School: UT Austin

Here you go! L...

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Good stuff. Would use again.

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