December 29, 2008, 12:00 AM

VistaPrint links with Viking Direct to storm Europe for small businesses

VistaPrint and Viking Direct, Office Depot’s European direct mail office supplies unit, have inked a multi-year e-commerce services deal to extend their collective reach to small business customers.

VistaPrint Ltd., an online retailer and provider of print-related services, and Viking Direct, Office Depot’s European direct mail office supplies unit, have signed a multi-year deal to extend their collective e-commerce reach to small business customers in Europe. VistaPrint also says it has added more than 75,000 subscribers to its web site design and marketing application since launching the service in April.

VistaPrint, No. 57 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and Viking Direct, a stationery and office products supplier, have linked to expand their European reach by giving small business customers online access to VistaPrint’s printed products through Viking Direct web sites.

As part of the agreement, VistaPrint will develop branded e-commerce sites for Viking Direct across Europe. The initiative will begin in the United Kingdom and will be completed in the first quarter of 2009, with other countries to follow, VistaPrint says.

Each site will be customized for local language and currency and clients can design and customize their marketing products – such as business cards, postcards, invitations and brochures – with fonts, colors, and logos using VistaPrint’s online design studio. Customers will check out through the Viking Direct site.

“Selling to localized markets across Europe is something that VistaPrint has been doing for years,” says Office Depot Europe executive vice president and managing director Dirk Collin. “Partnering with VistaPrint gives us the ability to expand our global reach with products we don’t currently offer while using local languages and payment options. Office Depot Inc. is No. 3 the Top 500 Guide.

VistaPrint also announced it has secured more than 75,000 paying subscribers to its web site development service, which launched in April and includes design, hosting and customization services for small business and consumers.

Once on board, a dedicated creative services unit works with customers to design and launch their own site, if they choose. Other features include a payment option from PayPal Inc. E-mail addresses also have been added to some software packages, and music and video can be embedded into the sites. Pricing starts at $4.99 per month and includes a free trial for 30 days.

VistaPrint currently offers its web site tools in multiple countries including the U.S., Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom.

Jeffrey Prus, senior director, user experience and merchandising at VistaPrint, will speak at Internet Retailer Web Design ’09 Conference, Jan. 19-22 in Miami, in a session titled The importance of testing.

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