Whether it’s Just To Say I Love You, or for that Belated Happy Birthday Wish, there is a card for every occasion. The independent trade, however, needs to stick to just a few key messages. With them, and a prominent display, it can make the most of this category.
The UK greeting market is still huge at almost twice the crisp market – but it is in decline. For the independent retailer the category represents a good opportunity to drive traffic into the store and generate profit. It's just a matter of having a visually striking display to act as a reminder to customers and prompt them into buying.
Types of Supplier
There are three types of supplier in the greetings card sector so consider which is most appropriate for your shop. The issue is how much time you want to devote to it.
Entry level – Cards not immensely important to you
If you stock cards as a distress item for your regular customers and the odd passer-by you may well wish to consider the CONSIGNMENT route to market. The supplier will often supply free-on-loan display equipment and then fill the fixture with what they deem to be a suitable range and then they don’t invoice you until they return, usually in 4-6 weeks time and they only invoice you for what you have sold. This means no risk to you, no hassle on choosing a range and no money tied up in stock.
The only drawbacks are a narrow range, reduced margin and potential lost sales from empty pockets if a popular design is sold out before the local rep returns.
To see a list of consignment-only suppliers, click here.
Managed Range – you’re no expert, but you are interested.
Perhaps you have a few yards of space and there isn’t really much local competition for cards. You know what you like and you have a pretty good idea of what sells in the category, so what you need to do is take on a supplier-partner who will help you look after a larger fixture and deliver DIRECT TO STORE . In this model, you decide on your trading partner and probably have an involved discussion about the demographics of your customer base with the rep/agent for the company and then put in a larger range. The range will come with a stock and re-order system whereby you will be responsible for ordering new product when you are out of stock, but you can expect the representative to be in regular contact with new designs and seasonal offerings.
The plus points in this route to market are
- the much wider range
- somewhat better margins
- professional advice
- extended credit on seasonal ranges
The more personal touch – you know what you’re doing and you want to keep more of the profit
This is where the wholesale side of things comes into play. More often than not, you will be having to visit a WHOLESALER you will be in full control of your stock levels and range choices. The upside is better margin and the downside is that you have to spend more of your time doing all the work.