As consumer shopping habits have shifted, customers continue to look for simpler ways to purchase goods, both in-person and online. While eCommerce isn’t anything new, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant catalyst in its implementation across the graphics industry. Online platforms continue to fill gaps for customers looking for convenient and personalized ways to shop for everything from groceries to vehicle wraps—all from the comfort of their homes.
To provide customers with a way to purchase vehicle graphics online, Wrapmate, an end-to-end digital platform for consumers to get their graphic projects designed, printed, and installed, launches an eCommerce experience. Wrapmate’s proprietary technology allows vehicle wrap customers to receive exact pricing information for their specific vehicle graphics project before purchase.
Chris Loar, Wrapmate founder and CEO, tells GRAPHICS PRO, “Our mission from the beginning with this company is to make graphics more accessible, vehicle graphics more accessible. And we think to do that, part of the equation is putting the entire process online. And part of that process, a big part of that process, is pricing and visual representation of what graphics will look like based upon pricing.”
He continues, “Historically, customers needed to secure an estimate, work with a designer and find a trusted installer on their own. Now, they can come to Wrapmate, enter in their vehicle details, and get an exact total project price in as little as five clicks, which includes the cost of a custom design, print on 3M films, and installation of their vehicle graphics by a local Wrapmate Pro, many of which are a 3M Certified or Preferred Graphics Installer.”
How Wrapmate works
Leveraging Wrapmate’s technology, customers can select a design package that fits their needs for their exact vehicle make and model and get the cost for the project instantly.
From a small graphic to a full wrap, customers can modify the size and level of graphic impact for their vehicle and watch the project price update in real-time.
“We never talk about estimates or quotes ever in the company because we feel like customers don’t really want estimates or quotes. They want to know what the price is going to be,” Loar says.
Once a customer inputs the necessary information, Wrapmate takes care of the logistics. It coordinates with certified wrap installers, looks at the customer’s location, and considers the specific project before picking the best installer in its network for the job.
Loar adds, “Not all projects are created equally. Some are more complex than others. And some of our installers have certain skill sets, and others don’t. And so, we take all that into account and actually essentially pick the installer and or graphic manufacturer that’s closest to the customer and also fitting for the type of work.”
Behind the scenes, various elements affect project pricing, one being location.
Loar notes that more saturated markets have a slightly lower price per foot than markets like Hawaii, where graphic manufacturing and installation don’t have as much coverage, resulting in a higher baseline for price per foot.
Additionally, a vehicle’s make and model play a role in pricing. Loar tells GRAPHICS PRO, “We spent a lot of time and energy around understanding actual vehicles, so no vehicle is put on our site that doesn’t go through a process where we actually understand everything about it.”
Before vehicles are added to the Wrapmate site, the company collects dimensional data, understands potential R&I (removal and installation) time that an installer might encounter, and knows of any nuances to the vehicle body around the installation.
Right now, Wrapmate has between 400-500 vehicles on its site, with new ones being added each week.
Loar adds, “We want to make sure we have a really strong understanding of vehicles prior to them (installers) getting the project.”
Beyond that, customer assets are also considered in pricing. Anyone in the graphics industry knows how difficult customer-supplied artwork can sometimes be. To account for any additional design time needed on a logo or graphic, Wrapmate asks customers a simple question: Is your logo crisp, or is your logo fuzzy?
Loar says this helps weed out the high-res submissions from the low-res ones and drives the pricing algorithm if the supplied artwork needs some extra help.
These elements come together behind the scenes, and then the customer comes to the impact screen, where they decide how much graphic impact they want on their vehicle. Loar adds that Wrapmate stands behind the price given, no matter where the design ends up.
“We take on a lot of the pain points to some extent like most installers and graphic manufacturers understand that it’s really hard to acquire customers,” Loar explains. “It’s really hard to convince somebody to buy this product. It’s really hard to go through the estimate phase.”
Because a wrap is an expensive product, Loar says customers want to know the price upfront, and it’s done studies that show this is true. According to Loar, somewhere between 60-70% of projects that are estimated never actually happen. And for a wrap installer who’s put time and energy into the estimate and design process, this can be frustrating.
Certified wrap installers
To help make this project possible, Wrapmate looked for a film manufacturer with a strong presence in the industry and one that could help build its network of installers.
Already having a strong relationship with 3M and having collaborated with the company in the past, Wrapmate entered a three-year global collaboration agreement with the film manufacturer.
Loar says Wrapmate is working closely with 3M to get more preferred installers, and certified installers signed up to be part of its network, but as of right now, it has just under 1,000 installers enrolled in the program.
He adds that it’s a “really unique opportunity for installers and graphic manufacturers because there’s no requirement from them, other than making sure they meet a few criteria that we ask for…We don’t ask for any payment. It’s free to join. And then it’s our responsibility to try and acquire new customers and then ultimately drive some business to our network.”
Once customers choose their package, they can pay for their design online. From there, they have a vehicle drop-off and pick-up with the Wrapmate Pro for installation.
“This new technology from Wrapmate will advance the graphics industry by simplifying and expediting the process, allowing customers to make an informed purchasing decision,” says Adrian Cook, marketing manager, 3M Commercial Solutions Division. “By providing straightforward pricing options and connecting customers directly to 3M certified and preferred graphics installers in one experience, more businesses can be on their way to improving their marketability with custom graphics from the 3M name they trust.”
Loar concludes, “The goal for us, the North Star, is a customer that can go from zero knowledge of wraps to a wrap installed without ever talking to anyone. We kind of have this concept we always talk about internally, “If I can get a mortgage on my phone, why is it so complicated to get a sticker put on my car?”
View the eCommerce platform at wrapmate.com.