We talked to Panagiotis Loutraris of ScreenTag on how to eliminate paper from the equation of contact exchange, for every business and every professional, anywhere in the world and this is what he had to say.
First, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Panagiotis Loutraris: It’s tough, mostly with schools closed, and kids staying at home when at the same time we have to work from home. But we are getting over it.
Tell us about your career. How you founded ScreenTag?
Panagiotis Loutraris: I started my career in advertising, working in client service. After some time, I moved to the creative and print production department. There, I had been working with many clients on their business cards. That’s when I realized how often people order business cards that need to be delivered the next day – sometimes even the same day – because they only have 2 or 3 cards left. When I got my first Smartphone in 2011, I discovered that the screen size was identical to my business cards’ size. That’s how the ScreenTag concept was born.
How does ScreenTag innovate?
Panagiotis Loutraris: Back in 2012, when we started developing ScreenTag, digital business cards did not exist. We were the first to introduce the concept. But a concept alone cannot get you anywhere if you do not listen to your users. You have to find out what you are missing; how to make your product better. Today, ScreenTag is a lot more than just an app to share your contact info.
If you know how to ask the right questions, your customers will tell you how to innovate. For instance, until recently, we had a one-size-fits-all pricing approach. Our customers had to pay for things they were not using, so they felt we were expensive. It’s a trap many innovators fall in when they have a feature-rich product. Not everyone needs all the blows and whistles you have to offer. Some want everything, and some need just one of the features. The innovation was to move from a one-size-fits-all to a mix-and-match approach, where our customers pay only for the features they get to use.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Panagiotis Loutraris: When your customers go out of business, or lay-off people, due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, you won’t be left unaffected. The good thing is that we have seen this quite early and prepared for the worse. In the long term, though, the pandemic has accelerated trends that would take years to mature, like remote work and the use of digital tools, like ScreenTag. The pandemic provided us with space we needed to get prepared for the post-pandemic era.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Panagiotis Loutraris: The only difficult choice we had to make during the pandemic, was not to ride the wave and market ScreenTag as a sterilized business card. Although we had a pandemic-related campaign ready to go when the first wave ended, we decided not to proceed. Often, it’s better to do what feels right, rather than what sounds right.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Panagiotis Loutraris: By looking at the bigger picture, not just the framed current reality. Sooner or later, the pandemic will end. It always ends along with a hug from my 3-year-old daughter.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Panagiotis Loutraris: We have two kinds of competitors: traditional print shops, and others seeing the opportunity and trying to jump on the bandwagon, without knowing anything about marketing, design, sales, or compliance to privacy regulations. The first is the status quo we are looking to disrupt. The others are jumping on the bandwagon to make a quick buck, at the lowest cost possible—the lowest cost possible means poor design, inadequate security, poor quality, and low innovation. If you look at their apps, they remain essentially unchanged, adding just bits and pieces in each new version.
By fitting your product to what your customers need, without betraying your principles – provided that such principles exist. It means not doing things the easy or the least expensive way, not taking shortcuts, or not being everything to everyone. I’ll give you an example. We have the principle of respecting the privacy and security of the information our customers entrust to us. This principle allowed us to be GDPR compliant, before the GDPR came to exist, back in 2016. Our competitors chose not to comply with the GDPR, leaving their customers exposed to fines that could go up to the hundreds of thousands.