Moo cards get real and square

To the outrage of many in the London Web 2.0 crowd, I've always thought Moo cards were awful. Of course, this has prompted many "discussions" when they've been offered to me on how I was so clearly "old school" in not getting the individual statement they made. Yet seeing someone's cringe-worthy photos on a "business card" occasionally made me retort that if they didn't take themselves seriously, why should they expect me too?

Backed by the Klein family [TAG] amongst others, I felt Moo catered to a niche market probably within a social networking environment who may like the quaint idea of handing out such cards. Moreover, I questioned whether this space would ever grow into a sufficiently sized market, with added doubts regarding the defensibility of its' offering against incumbent printers electing to compete.

According to the FT

Moo ships from the UK and is based in London. It has printed around 10m MiniCards in the past year and has shipped to 181 countries since it’s launch in September 2006. Around 55 per cent of its sales come from North America and French Italian, German and Spanish versions have just been launched.

So assuming 100 cards in a pack, and no repeat customers that would equate to 100k customers. Yet one suspects that they will have repeats and hence that unique customer number may be say 70k. Revenues of £1m+ approximately based on £9.99 for 100 cards, albeit their product mix has higher priced items.

Well, evidently the company itself has decided it is perhaps too niche and has announced it will now offer "boring" cards targeted at business customer as well, albeit they will be "square" in shape, presumably to reflect the mentality of their new target audience.

The odd thing about this move is that, whilst it moves them into a huge established market, it is a highly commoditised environment. Differentiation will be tough, especially in a) cost conscious times where many firms will be seeking to economise and not spend on lavish cards b) branding of the card manufacturer won't be represented on the cards - Moo cards were distinctive and were promoted each time they were distributed by their customers, but this won't apply in the business space. Similarly, will their existing brand image be affected by this move and cause any disenchantment with existing customers concerned about the loss of "hip" status? Or will they subscribe to the Huey Lewis and the News song title "Hip to be Square"?

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posted by John Wilson @ 9:16 AM Permanent Link newsvine reddit



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