Salutations on Greeting Cards
I always knew it, but I recently realized that I had a lot to say about greeting cards. No really, A LOT. And for an industry that generates over 7.5 billion retail dollars a year, one would wonder what there is left to say. I had the pleasure of texting (yes, the irony) with one of my dearest friends who is in the midst of creating beautiful watercolor cards. She asked for an opinion on pricing, and boy-oh-boy I may have given her more than one opinion, plus a lot of unsolicited thoughts on all things cards. Sorry not sorry, but now you get to hear it too.
Packaging & Presentation:
I will often wax poetic about the importance of packaging - it's that added 'something' that elevates the product and enhances the value. Unfortunately, packaging is often left to the last minute or it's not road tested in a retail environment. This absolutely applies to greeting cards as well. Consider the greeting card as a miniature piece of artwork. It's also (easily) a $4 piece of artwork that you have at least 288 of in a single card spinner. That's over $1,000 worth of product that is getting touched, opened and shop worn every day!
So how do you combat the wear and tear of your greeting card selection? First, find out if your vendors offer a trade-out policy for shop worn cards. You may be surprised at how many companies want to help you keep your card section looking brand new. Second, make sure your letterpress or embellished cards come sleeved in plastic. This small gesture keeps the edges sharp and the fingerprints off. And third, order small and often. You don't have to order in dozens - ever. If you keep a low and frequently turning inventory than there is less chance for your stock to get old and worn.
While the bulk of your greeting cards will rarely top $5 a piece at retail, it's good to compare what you're already selling (and how well) with your intended additions. Are you looking to fill a price category that your customers are looking for? Perhaps you need to add a value line to your selection or just the opposite - your customers are wanting fine letterpress options. Don't assume the retail price is "what all the other cards are" - double check and then decide if the card is worth it or a duplicate of what's already on your floor. Look at the details - is there foiling? Is it a letterpress card? What's the paper weight? What kind of envelope? These are all factors that will contribute to the overall value for your customer.
You can't be everything for everyone - the customer who chooses to buy all their cards at Target first will continue to do so. Your goal however is to offer some diversity and hopefully show your customers a selection of greeting cards that they won't find at the average drugstore. Review your current vendors and see how you can diversify. While birthday greetings will make up the greatest percentage of your sales, don't underestimate the power of the blank card. Offering a small collection of blank art cards or specialty designs that you can rotate will keep your regular customer base interested. Another growing category to consider is offering a 'local greeting' selection that celebrates your city and state. Listen to your customers and watch what you run out of. You just might be missing that vital niche that you can provide.
Display & Organization:
We've all been there. When you need a card, you NEED a card. For example, rarely is someone shopping ahead of time for an anniversary or a sympathy card - it's often last minute and no one wants to sort through birthday greetings when looking for cards for either of these occasions. If you don't already, consider creating a separate section for these categories in particular. Then address your customer needs - is it important to have a designated section for each greeting? (birthday, thank you, congratulations etc..) or do you display your greeting by artist or vendor? Your options are many but more importantly is that you are clear with your intentions - using signage or separate fixtures. And remember, that your cards do not have to live all together in one spot. Allowing your customers to walk and discover is all part of the retail experience.