Over the past twenty years there have been many changes in Greeting Card Stores, and other stores that sell Greeting Cards. Throughout the years, we've sold our cards in Book Stores, Drug Stores, Department Stores, Museum Shops, and Houseware Stores. Just the other day we took a call from a Hair Salon who wanted to carry our cards!
When we first started out most greeting cards sold for one dollar. Today, cards average about two dollars a piece. In high end shops, some single cards can sell for as much as ten dollars each.
Today, there are fewer and fewer independently owned stores. Most middle
to high end Greeting Card Stores are owned or supplied by large companies, such as Hallmark or Carlton. Large book store chains, like Barnes & Noble, tend to have corporate buyers for the chain, rather than individual buyers for each store.
Another major change is that greeting cards are no longer the primary item sold in Greeting Card
Stores. Retailers have moved onto items that sell for much higher prices. These include stuffed animals, figurines, calendars, gift books, scented candles, boxed cards, and stationery. Retail space is at a premium so the retailer wants to earn the largest return he can get on his investment in rent.
Other large companies, like Sunrise, may place a
rack within a Gift Shop or a Houseware Shop. This may give them exclusivity within that shop or that chain of shops. In chain drug stores like Genovese, Rite Aid, or CVS, several racks from competing companies may appear in the same aisle.
Half Price Stores, Discounters and many large Chain Stores sell greeting cards at greatly reduced
prices. It's hard to ignore the fact that as the price plummets, so does the quality of the card. From our limited dealings with this type of a store, it's our understanding that these retailers work on a 25% - 75% split of the retail price, with the 25% going to the vendor.
We are seeing bigger markets opening via Direct Mail Marketing and Web
Sales. There are companies that have managed to circumvent dealing with retailers, going directly to the customer via paper catalogs sent in surface mail or well designed web sites offering direct sales to the customer.
With the advent of the personal computer, Greeting Card Software and E-Postcards have become very popular.