Welcome to Greetings Gazette, your greeting card industry podcast. Our monthly show covers news, tips and tricks of the greeting card industry and is proudly sponsored by InterGreet.com, wholesale greeting cards.
Rich MacGregor (00:20):
Well, greetings from sunny Los Angeles in California. State of California. This is Rich MacGregor
Paul Chase (00:27):
And greetings from Vancouver, Canada. This is Paul Chase. The weather, we’ve got mostly clouds, rain and it’s six degrees.
I’ve got this greeting card stock market news, Archies, which is for the largest greeting card retailer in India is traded on the Bombay Stock Exchange at $19 and 61 cents. That’s up 7 cents. And Archie’s have 500 stores, 250 franchise stores, 230 exclusive outlets called Archie’s Galleries.
They’re huge in India. Yes, they have a 50% market share of all greeting cards sold in India, and they have licensing with Dennis the Menace and Disney. Wow. So could be something to look at.
On with the Card Factory who trade on the London Stock Exchange. Their share price is $99 and 30 cents. That’s down $2 and 70 cents. Have a 7 cent earning per share. They have one thousand greeting cards stores, & sell greeting cards obviously, plus gift wrap balloons, gifts, and they’re on the discount market side of things. So, it might be a great store to look at.
On the retail side, we’ve got Target Stores. They trade over on New York Stock Exchange. They’re $165 and 77 cents per share. That’s down 17 cents a share. And they pay a dividend of $6 and 11 cents per share, which is great if you’ve got a lot of stock with target stores, that’s a lot of money in dividends. They have greeting Card Island, and greeting card aisles in over 1900 stores, and they’re based in Minneapolis. They were in Canada at one stage, but they pulled out and now they’re strictly US.
Rich MacGregor (02:34):
Okay, well, I have some greeting card news Paul, and first of all, I want to mention that Hallmark, according to Forbes Magazine, Hallmark has been recognized as one of the America’s best large employers for 2023. That’s great news. Yes, it is. And they’ve been recognized as one of America’s best large employers. And this list has based on the feedback from employees and Hallmark believes, now this is from their own website, Hallmark believes in putting, caring and creativity into action. This is the core of the company culture and what drives Hallmark as an employer of choice. “Employees are the driving force behind our successful portfolio of businesses”, they say, “and the mission to create a more emotionally connected world and make a difference in the lives of others”.
And they have, they’ve now been going for more than a hundred years, and they’re a family-owned Hallmark store for family owned Hallmark Cards, business, & has been dedicated to creating a more emotionally connected world.
They have headquarters in the course in Kansas City, Missouri, and they employ more than 20,000 people worldwide. Hallmark make sales of about $3.8 billion. Wow. That includes their Disney channel and so on.
The other bit of good news…
Paul Chase (04:23):
Just to let you know, Hallmark were number 78 on the list of a hundred. The number one employee to work for was Michigan Institute of Technology. MIT, just saying
Rich MacGregor (04:34):
Again, thank you. Thank you. I want to also report that Moonpig, this is in London. England, Moonpig is to stop selling cards with pugs over animal welfare concerns. This is the headline in The Guardian U.K newspaper, which has been promoting this cause in the United Kingdom. And so I’m going to read to you from the article. It says, “Moonpig is to stop selling cards featuring pictures of pugs and French Bulldogs after criticism from vets and campaigners who fear the images fuel demand for the breeds, which often have serious health complaints”. And it says that “last year the British Veterinary Association wrote to the Greeting Card Association and card retailers including Moonpig, Paper Chase, and W H Smith, urging them to stop using pugs and other flat face dogs on their cards”.
Paul Chase (05:42):
Rich MacGregor (05:43):
“While some perceive the squashed wrinkly faces of these breeds as cute, vets warn that dogs with short muscles can struggle to breathe even when doing day-to-day activities such as walking or eating”. So that was very interesting. And Animal rights group, we’ve all heard of PETA, haven’t we?
Paul Chase (06:07):
Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Rich MacGregor (06:07):
They raised concerns with Moon Pig about promoting breathing impaired dog breeds such as pugs and French bulldogs on its cards. The company has now confirmed to PETA and says Moopig is in the process of removing any cards that feature Pugs or French Bulldogs from its website. It also told PETA that it will not be designing or sourcing any card designs featuring these dog breeds in the future.
Paul Chase (06:43):
I could support that.
Rich MacGregor (06:44):
Okay, so that’s very, very interesting news.
Paul Chase (06:48):
We’ve got a few referrals and & just for full disclosure reasons, Greetings Gazette get paid when you fill out the form on our website and when you buy something from one of our network partners. If you’re looking for greeting cards we have a network, a referral network, and we have a lead here from Mohamed Ali who is a convenience store owner in Newport Beach, California. Mohamed sells beer, liquor, wine, and cigarettes and a few grocery store items. He wants to add greeting cards to his store, but he has very limited space. And what I, I’ve done, I’ve suggested to Mohamed that he contact InteGreet.com about a spinner of greeting cards because if you have limited space a spinner can be very useful in getting the cards out on display and selling.
We have another lead from Raji Patel from New Delhi, India. He’s thinking about opening a gift store close to the Taj Mahal for tourists, English speaking customers. I suppose. Folks buy my birthday cards there. And what we’ll do Raji, is we’ll put you in touch with one of our Indian distributors of greeting cards.
Rich MacGregor (08:24):
Yeah, thank you. And I have some leads here too. First of all, from Kay Maria in Toronto, Canada. She’s a florist and she’s thinking about adding a line of greeting cards. So we’ll get in touch with you there and send someone to send your lead to someone there in Toronto. Kay.
And also, Jacqueline’s Small Banks of London. She’s looking at adding discount greeting cards to her bookstore inventory, so we would definitely be in touch with you there through our London agents.
Paul Chase (09:03):
That’s an independent bookstore, I take that, right? Yeah.
Well we have a sponsored ad coming and we do ask that you support our sponsors.
Visit InterGreet.com, wholesale greeting cards. InterGreet.com supplies retailers with greeting cards for every occasion, season and style. All high-quality product, greeting cards are available as both premium and discount card lines. A full line of beautiful greeting card spinners and displays is also available. Also, select from our huge selection of gift wrap, gift tissue and gift bags. Make InteGreet.com your new profit center. Visit InteGreet.com for your best deals on wholesale greeting cards.
Paul Chase (09:56):
Seasonal updates. Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th in the United States and in Canada and it’s May 10th on Spanish speaking cards. There’s 130 million units of Mother’s Day greeting cards sold every year, and there’s 2 billion mothers in the world, and 85.4 million mothers in the us.
Wow. So there’s a lot of potential for Mother’s Day, that’s for sure. A lot of upside. Chocolate jewelry, food, restaurants, gifts, and greeting cards are all top sellers for Mother’s Day. Retailers put their cards up on their seasonal display. Also, a lot of florist sell Mother’s Day cards because they sell a lot of flowers on Mother’s Day.
Rich MacGregor (10:48):
Okay, well I, I’m going to be talking now about generating profits and we all want to be generating profits, don’t we? So the critical thing for any retailer to remember is that they must make profits on every part of their store. And doesn’t matter whether you’re a pharmacist, a supermarket, a florist, a gift store, or indeed one of the hundreds of other types of retailers, your card and wrap section must be profitable.
You’re not there to do a public service and sell subsidized product. It must generate substantial profits for you or it’s not going to work. Now I walk into many different stores to look at the greeting cards and the gift bags, and I can tell you immediately when I walk in whether that store is making money from their display or not.
There are five things, and this is what I’ve summarized. There are five things that all retailers need to remember and here are the five things.
One are the cards and bags what my customer really wants. There’s no point in having a display that misses the customer’s needs. They come in to purchase an item and they can’t find it. What do they do? They walk out of your store and buy it somewhere else. They will not purchase something else. So you’ve lost that sale and perhaps all the repeat business you would’ve got, and maybe the friends of the buyer as well.
The shopper as well. Yes, the friends. So this is why the card and wrap supplier you are working with must be knowledgeable about your industry and be able to assist you in placing the right product at the right time. For example, you want a supplier that can help you with your card layouts. If most of your customers are mothers with young children, do you have a good juvenile section? If your customer base, on the other hand is mainly seniors, you may need a lot more Get well and sympathy cards. Talk to your supplier and find out if they have the experience needed to guide you and then use that advice.
Two, do I have the quality that’s needed by my customers? The biggest mistake that retailers can make is by looking for the best deal from suppliers. It looks like a great purchase, but what happens if no one buys them?
Paul Chase You go broke !!!
Rich MacGregor You could be thousands out of pocket and worse than that, your shoppers are ignoring your display, walking right past it, and now you realize that that bargain was a disaster. You have to make sure you buy from a company who will offer you great designs, not designs that you want by the way, but by what your future customers will buy. That’s the biggest problem I find, is that many mom and pop stores in particular, they buy what they want to buy rather than what their customers will buy. Check on the price points. You don’t want to be too low where you can’t make a profit when selling a card or too high where your shoppers will do a double take when they see the price and pass it by. I think that retail prices between say $3 and $5 are about perfect unless you’re buying a particularly beautiful handcrafted card.
Number three, the next question you need to ask is, how am I displaying the cards? Again, talk to your supplier. Perhaps they can sell you attractive displays that will really show off the products you are selling. You realize already that whatever you are selling, whether it’s flowers, pharmaceuticals, groceries, gifts or whatever, if an item is not displayed well, it’s unlikely to sell, which means no profit. Well, the same for cards and gift bags, et cetera. They must be in great displays if you want to maximize your sales, you must. Now, I think Paul, you know that I’m a great believer in card racks. Yes, they may cost a little more, but they’ll generate about two to three times the sales as a card spinner. And why? Because the shopper can see easily all the cards on display. They can sort through them easily and find exactly the cards they’ve been looking for.
The same with gift bags and wrap. A decent display will help move the sales right along so that both you and your customer are happy.
And number four, you’ve all heard the three most important criteria for your store. Location, location, location, location. Believe it or not, the same criteria is critical for the maximum sales of your cards and wrap. Location, location, location, not where your store is located, but where in the store they are located. I’ve spoken to many store owners who cannot generate great sales from their greeting cards. I go into their store and find they have the displays hidden in the back of the store. It’s not good, not good.
You want to maximize your sales of these items, right? Then move them into a prime high traffic location. You’ll soon find your sales are climbing to the stars and you have trouble restocking, which by the way, that’s a good problem and means you need a great supplier who can turn around an order in a week or two.
And number five, the final question you need to ask is, am I buying at the right price? This is critical as most suppliers will give you, if you are lucky, a 50% margin. But look around and see who has the quality, the variety, and the extra margins. Look to see who can give you free shipping for larger orders. The price you buy at is the first step towards maximizing your profits. If you don’t buy it right, then you’ll be on the back foot before you even start. Look, there’s a lot more I could say about generating profits from greeting cards and gift bags,
Paul Chase (18:29):
But we all need profits.
Rich MacGregor (18:31):
But I hope I’ve given you enough to really think about and more importantly, to implement. Perhaps we can cover even more ideas in the months ahead of the Greetings Gazette. Paul, in summary, the five ways to generate profits for your greeting card wrap and gift bag sections are one, the right product, two, the right quality, three the right displays, four the right location, five the right price. And now over to you Paul.
Paul Chase (19:10):
Okay, Rich will be talking about his trip Target Stores. Rich, Mac, went on a trip to Orange County, California where they have a very large American Greetings department and he’ll be talking about his trip. This is called retail report.
Rich MacGregor (19:30):
Thank you Paul. I visited the local Target a couple of days ago and I reviewed the display of greeting cards and gift bags, et cetera they had on display. Now most of the product was American Greetings and the Target house brand. The store was well merchandised and had a great display. I was impressed. There was over a hundred feet of cards, a great display, and there must have been about 40 feet or more of gift bags and gift wrap. The cards were well stocked and they had a good display of Easter cards, about 16 feet, plus an excellent display of Saint. Patrick’s Day cards, about three feet, which was about right. They also had token quantities of Passover, Communion and a couple of other small holidays as well. They had an excellent display of everyday greeting cards. I definitely was very impressed. I thought a great option they had was is that although some cards were very expensive, Paul, do you know they had cards there as high as $10 for a card.
Paul Chase (20:51):
I think the Papyrus greeting cards go for $11 to $12
Rich MacGregor (20:56):
And that’s very high. But it’s great for the retailer who makes five or $6 for each card. Sold for a lot of profit, but they also had a section of cheapo cards, which sold for 99 cents each. And this was a great option as I felt as not everyone could or wants to spend $10 on a card when they can get the same sentiment to their loved ones for a buck. They also had bilingual cards, which I thought was interesting, Spanish for the Hispanics that came shopping in that Target Store.
However, I was very disappointed in their gift bag and wrapped options. For a start, they had no gift boxes on sale at all & I know that gift box sales are booming. But their selection of gift tissue, bows, gift bags and ribbon was meager made worse by many styles being out of stock. They were all overpriced I felt compared to the industry average.
In summary, the card section, I would give probably about 9 ½ out of 10 if I was marking that like a teacher. But the gift bag section only 3 out of 10. That comes to a total of 12 ½ out of 20, which shows you can do very well with one area of your store, but be let down badly in another display of your product.
Over to you, Paul.
Paul Chase (22:39):
That sounds like a real interesting trip. Well, I have a few afterthoughts as to the greeting card industry. I’ve been doing a lot of research on DuckDuckGo into the greeting card industry so we can make this podcast and there seems to be a lot of negative talk out there. A lot of doom and gloom about the greeting card industry. But it’s very profitable. This is a 7 billion dollar per year industry in the United States & It’s a $15 billion dollar per year industry worldwide, but, it’s in decline.
Who is going to turn around the greeting heart industry? I think we need a Leader. Perhaps the American Greetings CEO, Joe Arcuri. Perhaps Joe could go on Fox Business News with Neil Cavuto and promote the greeting card industry, open up Main Street, and talk about commercial real estate deals or how we can get more retailers stocking greeting cards in their stores. Those who do sell greeting cards. often sell make great profits off their cards. It’s a very profitable product to stock.
Rich MacGregor (23:52):
Okay. Well thank you.
Paul Chase (23:54):
Yeah, let’s do our wrap up.
If you own a retail store and are interested in adding greeting cards to your store, or, if you’re opening a new retail store, please visit GreetingsGazette.com and fill out our form. We’ll have someone from our referral network get back to you. And you can also email us at email@example.com.
We will also be doing Zoom interviews, so we’re booking interviews on future podcasts. You don’t have to be big box like Target Stores, you could also be a mom and pop who is happy to talk to folks, or perhaps a publisher.
Thank you for listening and do make sure you follow our podcast.
Rich MacGregor (24:43):
Okay, thank you and goodbye.
Paul Chase (24:45):