Cheltenham-based Web-to-print specialist Vpress has bucked the pandemic trend, winning two new customers in South Africa during the lockdown period, and seeing growth in demand from UK customers.

Printafoil and Lithotech (part of the Bidvest Group), both based in Cape Town, are large litho and digital print operations who were subject to more draconian government lockdown restrictions than any seen in Europe. According to Vpress, the teams at the two ‘substantial’ print businesses both specifically highlighted the need for an e-commerce and web-to-print solution that was fully cloud-based and offered very rapid deployment, full technical and remote support as well as long-term implementation training.

‘All our sales consultations were done via web conference and our products were reviewed, evaluated, and qualified by the teams at Printafoil and Lithotech,’ said Vpress sales director Kelvin Bell, adding that both are now running work generated online.

The wins are part of a broader international trend, according to Mr Bell. ‘What we have witnessed across our international customer base is nothing short of astonishing,’ he said. ‘There has been an intense and sustained migration for print businesses towards web-to-print and e-commerce as they adapt their offering to be purchased, specified and personalised online.

‘This really is a massive acceleration of the trend towards print businesses embracing digital platforms to add value to their customer’s businesses.’ He also told Digital Printer that the Vpress team is working ‘like a start-up, six days a week’ to meet demand.

Business closer to home has also seen an upturn during the period: ‘In the UK we have seen a spike in new enquiries as business owners take time to assess their technology infrastructure, but the approach is very different.

‘Very few companies here are buying web-to-print for the first time, as most of our new business are companies looking to change their existing platform to one that offers better return-on-investment and a more sustainable business model.’

Vpress is consequently expanding its presence around the world, with the opening of a second antipodean office in Sydney, Australia complementing its existing New Zealand operation, and the appointment of Jean Lloyd as business development manager for the Middle East and Africa region.