Evite, a brand known for its digital invitations and other social planning resources since its founding in 1998, is announcing a new product today which will allow consumers to send out printed paper invitations in addition to, or as an alternative to, their online invites. The new service, the first of many new initiatives expected to arrive in the coming months, is being called “Evite Ink.”
The name rings a bell. The service competes with other products on the market today, including a slew of mobile greeting card apps like Sincerely Ink (which might not be flattered by the new Evite brand), as well as Red Stamp, Shutterfly’s Treat, Cleverbug, and others. It would have also competed with Apple’s Cards app, but that was recently discontinued with the launch of iOS 7, possibly indicating a lack of consumer adoption.
So where does Evite think its offering will fit in, as a later entrant to this space? According to Evite President Hans Woolley, the idea is to extend the invitation process to physical products for a subsection of a user’s guest list. That would make sense for those planning family gatherings where not everyone is as tech-savvy, for example, or for reaching those who fail to RSVP online, or for those where you just want to send a more personal invitation than what digital invites alone offer.
“Ten years ago, printed invitations like this weren’t exceptional – that was more or less the norm,” says Woolley. “Today, it gives you the opportunity to do something unique and different that helps you stand out. There’s something about getting [an invite] in your postal inbox – especially if it’s from Evite,” he says. “It’s a name you’re familiar with and a brand you trust.”
At launch, each invite will cost a flat $2.00 to send, which is competitive with the other greeting card services on the market. Initially, around 80 to 85 percent of Evite’s designs will be available as a paper card option, with the goal of bringing all designs on board in the near future. The 4″x6″ cards are printed through a partner, with high-pixel densities and fidelity between the card on the screen and its offline counterpart, Woolley claims. And a code on the card lets the postal recipients RSVP at Evite.com/RSVP, too.
As the service ramps up, Evite will consider other options, like bulk pricing for larger invite lists, for example. It will also work to bring the service to its mobile app user base over the next couple of quarters. That leaves more time for a handful of mobile startups to continue to grow their user base, while Evite plays catch up.
Evite still likes to call itself a startup after 15 years. It has just 30 employees who have together built products to reach 31 million registered users (16-18M monthly actives) who now send out 28,000 invitations per hour. The company won’t discuss what sort of revenue those consumers bring in, however. But now its digital invitations business is seeing a shift, where some 30 to 50 percent of Evite’s traffic is mobile in some form – whether from smartphone apps, mobile websites, or tablets. A significant portion of its user base (close to 2 million) have also downloaded the Evite mobile app.
Woolley says the company built Evite Ink, in response to consumer demand for such a service. And he hints that the product is one of many yet to launch. Today, Evite also offers eCards via Evite Postmark, and party planning supplies through an online store, but Woolley couldn’t say to what extent each of its product lines are contributing to revenues.
However, he would say that going forward “Evite is embracing mobile in a very large way,” which suggests not only mobile app integration, but possibly other mobile-focused products as well. Stay tuned, perhaps.