Snap has signed a global procurement and benchmarking alliance that has given it access to more than 600 stores and 1 million clients.
The three-way partnership includes US-based Allegra Network, which has more than 550 sites in North America and the UK, and Print Three, which operates from 46 locations in Canada. Snap has 179 centres in Australia, New Zealand, China and Ireland.
Snap said the alliance was part of its "aggressive" push to take on design agencies and web companies and become "the print, design and website provider of choice" for smaller businesses.
Chief executive Stephen Edwards told a media conference that the alliance would give Snap "a global procurement opportunity" based around sharing volumes and buying strategies.
He also said Snap would gain access to valuable market research because Allegra and Print Three were both "market leaders" but not rivals.
Edwards said he had been impressed by the quality of the data that they had shared so far.
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Print Three president Andrew Hrywnak said the data was highly relevant because the three franchises had "very similar" markets.
Allegra chief executive Michael Marcantonio said all three franchises had found it reassuring that they had independently analysed the industry and reached the same conclusions about where it was headed and how to succeed.
Marcantonio also said the alliance would give the three head offices more credibility as they tried to guide franchisees away from an old model of selling print products to the new strategy of being diversified communications businesses.
Meanwhile, Snap has continued its diversification drive by launching an "intelligent print CRM website" through online customer relationship management company CR Cards.
The Snap Marketing website, which uses an enhanced version of XMPie, allows users with no experience to design personalised marketing collateral to send to existing or dormant clients, according to Snap.
"The site offers a highly usable interface, with a range of tailor-made and bespoke designs from desktop calendars to postcards and sales materials. Users simply need to log on, create their designs and schedule them for distribution through their own client database."
Snap Marketing produces "print-ready, fully-imposed files" so there is "no need to involve professional designers".
CR Cards director Matt Sandford said the personalised pieces were a highly effective way of grabbing clients' attention.
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