Anyone involved in retail knows just how hard it is to maintain sales at the moment; now more than ever every little bit helps and offering relevant and related products to supplement your card offer could be one way of increasing sales by driving up your average transaction value. For me stationery is a great fit because the bulk of design-led and gift stationery purchasers are female - as are card purchasers. But there are lots of other types of gifts that can add real strength to your card offer...
Card publishers often include stationery in their product offer because both product areas are paper based, so they understand the mediums being used, their card designs will reproduce well on stationery, and if the subject matter is relevant they should sell well too.
Some card publishers offer other gift formats too, so retailers can stock whole ranges which create strong impactful displays when merchandised together so they can really change the way your shop looks. I have included a number of examples here to illustrate the breadth of styles and genres available so regardless of your type of customer there are likely to be products to suit them.
Ohh Deer are launching a new stationery range at Top Drawer S/S 18 - Palm Springs - which graphically is quite different for them but is very fresh and on trend and will look good on display. This new collection covers several stationery formats, greeting cards and cushions with RRPs starting at £3.95
The card below is from Berni Parker’s heart-warming and massively popular range Ladies Who Love Life; the co-ordinating range of products is broad, from a small gift like a magnetic bookmark retailing for £1.99, through small gift and stationery items with retail prices up to £4.99, and then larger gift items like mugs, glasses and cushions retailing from £10.00 -£24.99.
Hannah Dale’s 'A Dog's Life' started life as a card range (below) featuring different dog breeds, all individually depicted in watercolour. These are now supported by a broad range of other products featuring these designs from keyrings to the 'A Dog's Life' gift book and now there is a pet’s range too with pet beds and coats launching in January 2018.
There are financial and practical benefits here too because as retailers you are only dealing with 1 supplier for multiple product types which makes it is much easier to manage stock levels and to reach 'minimum order' or 'carriage paid' order values on smaller repeat orders.
There is a lot of talk about the current unease we are experiencing which is limiting our spending and we saw this coming through in the reduced consumer spending over Christmas, but we are all still spending some money and the retailer’s challenge is to make sure we are getting our share of the money being spent.
At times like this keeping in touch with friends and family increases in importance and this may mean writing letters, sending brief notes and postcards or making the effort to send a thank you card for a gift or a happy day together. Rachel Ellen is a good example of a card publisher who offers a broad range of stationery and some of her designs are particularly suited to children’s stationery of which Thank You cards are an important part.
In the past we have seen periods of uncertainty lead to increases in spending on certain types of products including items linked to celebrations like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.
Keeping memories of these events also increases in importance and while many of us keep thousands of pictures on our phones it is not the same as being able to see them around you and sharing them with friends so printing pictures and having them in frames and albums is seeing a resurgence in popularity at the moment; stocking a small range of frames and photo albums is worth considering too.
The picture shows a selection of Amore products from Widdop, one of their flagship wedding brands, which covers many wedding related occasions.
Retail prices focus on 3 key price points £5, £10 and £20 and includes frames, albums, pairs of mugs, champagne flutes etc.
Their broad range allows retailers with regular custom to keep their range looking fresh throughout the year. The range incorporates greeting cards and gift bags too giving the retailer three bites of the cherry – card, gift and gift bag.
It might be that a guest can’t afford to buy a gift in which case they will make sure that those celebrating know you have remembered them and might buy a special, more expensive card instead perhaps, printed on a heavier weight board or embossed or hand finished with crystals, ensuring that the recipient feels extra special.
If money is tight one of the last things to suffer are events linked to children because parents and relatives try to protect children from their own worries and concerns. As retailers, you can help them with this by making sure you have a good range of well-priced gifts available to buy when they are in your shop looking for a card. If you don’t have the space to offer a range of children’s gifts, then a strong card offer supported by gift wrap and bags is worth considering. Deva Designs have an adorable Bunnies by The Bay plush toys and gifts collection priced from RRP £12.99 to £24.99 and new for spring 2018 they have introduced luxury foil finish gift wrap RRP. £2.50, medium gift bag RRP. £3.50 and carrier-size gift bag RRP. £4.50.
And a small range of fun party lines could make an interesting addition too, selling slightly higher priced items rather than £1 packs of balloons and candles. Lots of little girls want to feel like a princess and this bright pink crown from NPW makes it official with an RRP of £4 it is still very much a pick-up line.
If you are thinking of introducing other product categories into your shop, you'll need to make sure they have a good chance of success, and the space instore is being well used and your money is not wasted. Tune into tomorrow's blog for my Top 10 Tips that will help you put together the right range for your customers...