I think MOO comes up with great concepts. The ability to have different images on your cards is brilliant... they stand out... they're collectible. I'm a fan.
From Business Cards To Viral Status-Symbol Packagers: MOO Cards
Moving a traditional business to the Web may appear a very difficult and risky operation, especially when the remaining part of the market uses little innovation and provides no examples to follow. Nonethelòess the above and against all odds, MOO, a Web company that specializes in the production of mini cards and stickers, is showing everyone that with the right amount of innovation, originality and pricing and a great set of ears open to the what the customer says everything is indeed possible.
Photo credit: Vincent Yeow
MOO cards have recently become a cult object to many people who are passionate about the Web and, among them, they have come to be considered a definite status symbol.
The quality of the cards delivered by MOO is undoubtedly very high and the possibility for customers to easily personalize them, rapiedly provided a fast growing customr base to this London-based company that delivers its goods to any country around the world.
The party gathered a number of fans, customers, Web entrepreneurs, bloggers and curious passers by. Inspired by the uniqueness of this social event and prompted ahead of time by Robin Good himself, I decided to take a closer look at MOO and its business model, trying to identify the winning traits of its products and the others reasons surrounding its success.
MOO Products Line
Description: MiniCards were the first product to be launched by MOO and they immediately caught the attention of the public. Each card is 28mm x 70mm, which is more or less half the size of a normal business card. It is possible to add up to six lines of text on the reverse of the cards and users can use up to 100 different images and designs on their cards (per order). The quality of these cards is amazing and the very act of holding them in a hand is a pleasure. Moreover, they come in a recyclable tiny plastic box which can contain up to 100 cards.
Personalization: users can upload their own pictures, pick images from the MOO gallery or import them from their accounts on Flickr, Bebo, Habbo, Vox, Fotolog, LiveJournal and SecondLife. MOO has recently partnered with a number of famous designers who have made their creations available in special packs.
Possible uses of MiniCards: although they have been conceived as an alternative to business cards, these cards can be used to create invites or advertise a product. It's really up to your imagination.
Price: $19.99 for 100 cards (shipping included).
Description: NoteCards have been launched in 2007 and they are flat cards specifically designed to fold and stand. The picture area measures 100mm x 100mm and text can be printed on the reverse side (six lines of large text and five lines of small text). Each card has a flap designed to fold, enabling the card to stand. The cards arrive flat with 16 envelopes, all hand-packed in a MOO-designed wrap.
Personalization: just like MiniCards, users can upload their own pictures or alternatively pick their favorite ones from their Flickr account. A set of ready made cards is also available, containing pictures selected by MOO. And of course, users can also decide to order a set of pictures created by the popular designers that collaborate with MOO.
Possible uses of NoteCards: these cards can be used to create invites, announce events or simply they offer an original way to showcase your pictures.
Price: $24.99 for 16 cards with envelope (shipping included).
Description: StickerBooks are the newest MOO creaturE. They were officially launched LAST WEEK, on July 19th, 2007 with a great party in London. Each sticker is 22mm x 22mm printed on scratch-proof vinyl. Six stickers are printed on individual tear-out sheets and users can choose the color of their own StickerBook. Each mini-book contains up to 90 stickers and it can be used as an album to collect other stickers.
Personalization: as for the other products, users can upload their own images or import them from Flickr, Bebo, Fotolog, SecondLife, Vox and LiveJournal. It is also possible to choose images among the MOO gallery or pick a package designed by famous artists that collaborate with MOO.
Possible uses of StickerBooks: these stickers can be used as decorative elements for gift wrapping, objects, walls and whatever surface they can adhere to. I have found particularly useful to stick them on the MiniCards themselves to make them even more shiny.
Price: $9.99 for 90 stickers in a book (free shipping in July 2007).
Why is MOO so successful?
I believe there are at least seven reasons why MOO cards have become so popular on the Web and outside of it. Here they are:
- Reinventing the wheel in a creative way
Let's say it: business cards and note cards are nothing new to the world, but MOO had the ability to move a traditional business from the offline world to the Web without pain. I think MOO provides one of the best examples of how creativity can make a difference when it comes to reinvent the wheel and propose a traditional product in a new way.
For example, we are all used to imagining business cards in a certain way, with specific dimensions, font types and colors. This is how they mostly look like and the idea of crossing the line to create something different would have been unlikely until some time ago. Starting from the classic and "boring" business cards, MOO has created something completely new, appealing not only traditional customers but also to web bloggers and simple people who now consider MOO cards a cult product.
- Partnership with social networking sites
By partnering with social networking sites such as Flickr, Bebo, Fotolog, LiveJournal, VOX, Habbo and SecondLife, MOO made a very effective move. Customers that have accounts on those web sites are highly facilitated when it comes to creating their MOO cards, since they can immediately utilize their existing photo sets, already uploaded to their preferred social networking site.
Social networks are the home-base of word of mouth marketing and a product like MOO cards would have never become so popular if it hadn't been adopted by the users of social networks. I also believe that it is not a case that MOO launched two new products this year just right after having added support for Flickr and other new social network as the greatly expanded exposure provided new crteative juices and keen business motivations to put the creative people at MOO back to work.
- Great quality of the products and packaging
MOO is an example of the fact that purchasing something online can be a convenient experience both for the eyes and for your wallet too. The quality of the MOO cards is truly astounding and it is not easy to find anything like that in the "offline" world. Moreover, the way these products are carefully packaged gives them a sort of sacred appearance.
The packaging itself is made to stimulate the user's curiosity since the very first eye contact and the accuracy of details makes the package look as precious and attractive as one could expect. This is a very important element which should never be forgotten, especially by companies that sell online and don't have the possibility to showcase their products in the real world (and thus get immediate feedback from the customers): quality is a must.
- Multiple personalization options
Today it is almost impossible to deliver a product online without letting its primary users participate to its creation. MOO pays a lot of attention to user-generated content and thus provides many customization options to its customers. Moreover, the fact that the customers can create their own card set according to their desires and without needing to be censored or approved by anyone makes them be more creative and, in many ways, more "daring".
I have seen lots of amazing MiniCards and NoteCards which are really nothing but true mini-artworks: I frankly don't think that this would have been possible if the creators had had to rely on their best graphic designer and the top typographer in town.
- Respect for nature
All the MOO cards and their packages are produced with recyclable material. This is not a point to be missed and the guys at MOO know it very well: this is why they carefully report it on each package and on their website. And customers do seem to appreciate it.
- Social events
The July 19th party organized to launch the StickerBooks demonstrated how social events can reinforce customers loyality and generate a stronger sense of community. When a company is based on the Web it is very important to keep it in touch with reality and to present your products to the world through your own staff and not through artificially created print campaigns only. Such occasions offer great opportunities for networking and for strengthening the bonds between passionate customers and the people inside the company.
- User-friendly MOO website
Creating cards on the MOO site is a breeze. The interface has been specifically designed to allow also non-English speakers to easily upload and choose images, crop them and add text lines without making it a hassle. The interface is very user-friendly and offers many options to the customer without overwhelming her with too many details.
It is hard to talk about competition when referring to MOO cards. However, the first attempt to emulate the success of this product comes from another web-based company called PhotoBox MyCard.
As Andy Piper reports on his blog:
"[PhotoBox MyCards] are normal size / standard form factor business cards, but the trick they do have is that they can be double-sided, with a collage of photos on one side. On the negative side, the range of designs is a bit limited, their site is not hugely usable, and they do not pull images from Flickr or other websites... given the quality of the product, ease-of-use of the site and niceness of the people, I have to say that that my loyalty to Moo is strong, especially after events like last night, so I think PhotoBox may have an uphill struggle."
I agree with Andy and I believe that the popularity acquired by MOO will boost competition and it is likely that we will see the birth of many similar services in the coming months.
MOO cards have become a cult product within the blogosphere and they are starting to conquer good parts of the non-connected world as well.
Having attended last week the MOO "Hot & Sticky Summer Party" in London, where MOO officially launched their new product, StickerBooks, I have realized how strong the community of users that support and idolatrize MOO and its unique products.
The MOO cards have something that goes far beyond their mere paper nature: they have become both a sort of status symbol as well as powerful personal marketing and promotion tools. MOO cards represent the ultimate personal creative expression: a highly personalized visual message that you can carry anywhere and share easily with anyone you like.
Visit the official MOO site.
Read the MOO blog to stay updated with the latest news.
Check out the Flickr photo pool dedicated to MOO.
Robin Good and Livia Iacolare -
Originally written by Livia Iacolare - edited and corrected by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia - original title "From Business Cards To Viral Status-Symbol Packagers: MOO Cards"
myminicards.com offers the same product but for cheaper (and faster), thank you Sandra for sharing.
The only competition I know is myminicards.com and as a matter of fact: they are in the USA!
Good quality and VERY fast delivery.
I'm looking for moo competitors and am shocked no one is doing this well. They are not doing anything that someone else cannot, granted the quality is great and the partnerships are key at the end of the day it's just printing on paper.
Being in the USA i'm very reluctant to have my cards shipped from moo in the uk, seems like a very irresponsible carbon footprint decision.
Thanks for the comment and the link. Very insightful commentary as to why Moo have been so successful - I particularly agree that the social networking site tie-in must have produced good marketing buzz.
I still haven't actually bothered to order the PhotoBox cards but I will get some for the purposes of comparison. Frankly though, the wow factor when handing out Minicards is so strong, I don't see the PB cards competing.