through when they are shopping. We saw this as a fantastic oppor-
tunity to engage with a captive audience in an unlikely place that will
help drive total department sales by reminding them of an upcoming
holiday or birthday and encourage them to pick up a card or visit the
card department in the store.”
Officials for the Kansas City, Mo.-based company say that one retail
partner has already placed the displays at multiple check stands. These
displays include cards from the Hallmark Flagship, Signature seasonal
and humorous Shoebox card lines.
Field service representatives from the Hallmark team maintain the
stands, eliminating a retailer’s need for one of its employees to do so.
These designated service people will work to curate a selection on an
individual store basis, targeted to the store’s shoppers and merchandising mix.
“The interest level is high for this program and we are looking forward to working with more of our retail partners to implement it in
more stores across the country,” Howe adds.
Most card providers offer similar types of service support to their
grocery, mass and drug chain partners. Many tailor a selection regionally or even store-by-store to ensure that the right cards make it into
the hands of interested consumers.
Where grocers are able to differentiate themselves, insiders add, is
through foot traffic. While mobile shopping and e-tail giants have
impacted some of the dollar, mass and drug stores in terms of foot
traffic, grocery stores are as of yet the least affected by this disruptive
technology. This is important for grocers to consider, especially when
they are deciding on the placement of high impulse items like greeting cards.
“If the grocery retailer wants to gain share from some of those other
channels, they need to do something different than what they are
currently doing,” says Marc Trobman, VP, business development at
Avanti Press. “They need to offer unique brands.”
Avanti Press is a specialty card brand focusing on humor. Humor
is important to the majority of greeting cards purchasers, he says.
According to Trobman 96 percent of consumers look to purchase
funny greeting cards. When you look at just Millennials, he adds, the
number jumps to 100 percent.
“Research studies always say the number-one type of greeting cards
consumers want to buy is a funny greeting card,” says Trobman. “There
is an opportunity there for grocers. It is a white space. In the limited
space grocers give the category there is just not enough humor.”
In addition to adding more humor, insiders say that grocers can ben-
efit from many of the new innovations card manufacturers today are
pushing out. Although greeting cards are a classic staple item at most
social gatherings, the category itself is anything but staid. Companies
are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to innovate.
Avanti Press recently launched a line called America, featuring nostalgic photos with warm funny verse on the inside. The back of the
card tells the story of the image.
Hallmark recently launched a new innovation in gift-wrap, called
the card pocket, now on many of the company’s gift bags. Located at
the front and center of the bag, the pocket ensures the card doesn’t get
Companies like Hallmark are finding ways to integrate digital into
their card lines as well. As of this summer, Hallmark will offer four
new virtual reality cards, taking consumers on a different adventure
with each one.
Hallmark is also taking musical cards to new places. “The all-new
Playlist cards take the sound card experience to a whole new level,”
says Howe. “Each card comes with access to a specially curated song
list available on one of today’s hottest music platforms so the recipient
can enjoy their favorite tunes time and time again.”
American Greetings launched multiple new SKUs in the birth-
day section this spring. Included in the offerings is the Spec-tacular
Wishes line, birthday cards that double as gifts, as they are attached to
a pair of light-up party glasses in uniquely shaped frames. Also new
from American Greetings is Happy Tails, cards featuring tails that
wag from side to side when under a light.