The greeting card businesses were experiencing profits until the digitalization kicked in. This leads to the odd notion among the majority that social media platforms and instant messaging apps like WhatsApp have totally killed the greeting card business.
The newfangled trend for eCards or eGreetings began when people became aware and tried to save trees. In every household, nine out of ten people buy cards every year, and the industry is a source of income for many.
Despite the challenges, business owners knew they catered to the sentiments of customers. Since the traditional times, greeting cards hold a special value as they are a part of the ingrained culture, an ideal way for expressing feelings and exchanging emotions.
Putting an end to the assumptions and myths, businesses thrived and connected with millennials who took the use of eGreetings to another level. Due to its creativity, the eCard business has been capable of attracting entrepreneurs. FATbit did in-depth research and gathered exclusive insights as to what the future holds for greeting card businesses.
A number of businesses excelled that offered more customized content on greeting cards. To resolve the environmental concern, the industry opted for cards made of recyclable paper. With the digital revolution, an unsaid rule prevailed – businesses without an online presence were not successful. eGreeting businesses provide customizable cards so that people can share their wishes/ thoughts for someone’s special days.
With the two channels of distribution, online and offline, the greeting card market is segmented into two types:
Seasonal greeting cards are widely popular among people to send greetings on special occasions. There are a different variety of cards available for Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc., that are exchanged, among people worldwide.
According to the greeting card association, Christmas cards are one of the most popular seasonal greeting cards purchased widely with Valentine’s Day card and mother’s day card in the second position.
Everyday greeting cards are the day to day greetings we send to our loved ones. The cards for someone’s housewarming celebration, birthday, morning wishes or sympathy.
According to research by Hallmark Cards, millennials, born between 1981 and 1999, representing nearly 20 percent of the dollars spent on greeting cards and are growing their spending faster than any other generational segment.
Millennials have been obsessed with the digital forms of communication and are looking for personalization, especially when it comes to wishing someone for a special occasion. Greeting cards have come back in trend as it takes more than a few keystrokes and emojis to send it out.
The eCard business is all about making an emotional connection with people and greeting cards are part of the culture in countries like the United Kingdom, USA, and more. Targeting the peculiarity of human nature, it is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to start their online business.
With the rise in online stores, the foot traffic in the offline stores became less as it only served the people with the last-minute rush. The below-listed players are an inspiration in the greeting card industry. Their uniqueness and marketing ideas lead them to profitability. At FATbit, we did a detailed study of the following websites that cater to customized greeting cards:
The concept of starting the business in card making came into the mind of the founders Wombi Rose and John Wise while they were on a trip to Vietnam. The owners got inspired by the paper art form of Kirigami and immediately thought of starting their business.
The idea of turning the art form into business helped them reach new heights. The unique trend of pop cards gave them recognition among the other competitors.
It becomes a hectic task for customers to deliver the greeting cards to their loved ones as first they order the card online which gets delivered to their address. They then mail the greeting card to the original recipient of the card.
Postable takes the lead and makes it easy for the customers to send more personalized cards. It liberates you to add a message or story with handwriting fonts to make it more realistic. Postable mails the card for you at different locations. The average estimated revenue generated by postable is estimated at $6.1 million.
Hallmark has the biggest collection of greeting cards for all occasions. The business is estimated at $4billion in revenue generation. It has a wide variety of occasions, languages, the tone which you can select to order the cards online, and more. They have a blog section where different creative ideas related to the greeting cards are described.
American Greetings designs and manufactures greeting cards. It is a huge distributor of cards wherein customers can pick a card from a variety of eCards and paper cards for all occasions. With annual revenue of $2.9 billion, they also sell their online gifts along with paper wraps and other materials for birthday decorations. Somewhat similar to Hallmark, they also assist the customer with different guides for different occasions.
It is one of the known names in the online greeting card business. Paperless Post offers design-driven online and printed stationery, cards, invitation, and custom cards. It was the first company that launched printed stationery in 2012 and has raised $12.4 million in capital to date.
It is a popular online business that has partnered with designers like Kate Spade New York, one of the leading brands in accessories and handbags. Their new service of flyers is something customers appreciate which has shareable links that can be sent via any platform. It makes sharing of the card easier and reduces the trouble of sending it via mail.
There are still diverse features that can make the startups in this segment different from the rest. To get the attention of the target audience, entrepreneurs need to be more creative and deliver the services as promised.
Online cards sold are a direct source of revenue for the business owner as the price of the card varies from the actual price of production. Apart from these additional services like customization also adds to the revenue of the online business.
Customers shop cards occasionally and seasonally. A monthly or yearly subscription can provide benefits to customers as well as the business owner. The benefits included in the monthly subscription plan helps to attract customers towards the business.
Every entrepreneur that makes its debut in eGreeting segment should make sure they have done their research and homework. The following is the list of website features that will help you gain deeper insight into the industry:
As it is evident, the more user-friendly the site is, the more it helps in conversion. Therefore personalization is the key to success. This feature allows users to select the exact time and date on which the card should be delivered. This feature is important to remind if you skip any occasion amidst work.
An additional feature for the convenience of the user would be an address book, which allows the customers to add as many addresses as possible. They can name a specific address according to the person making it easy for the customers to send mail in bulk to their loved ones.
Depending on the country, state, or city where the greeting card has to be delivered, you can schedule the delivery of greeting cards prior to the occasion. This helps in sending the cards in a more organized and effortless manner.
Millennials prefer sending personalized messages and paper cards on special occasions. Therefore ‘send a paper card’ feature allows the users to send a card with a private message on it. As most of the cards have messages that are filled with emotions and do not resonate with the person receiving the card, sending a paper card with a personal message is manageable.
Paper cards have been liked by people as it is more personal than the eGreetings. millennials are liking the concept of paper cards as they are able to send messages in a more personalized way.
To add emotions, these online greeting card businesses can hire writers and calligraphers to give the card a touch of authenticity and to make it more realistic for the customers.
In such a competitive business world, creating awareness for the brand becomes important. Affiliates help to promote and sell the products. The “Refer a Friend” feature can help to inspire more users to talk about your brand which effectively helps in the growth.
This is a branding concept that enables a business owner to give back to society while indirectly spreading awareness about their brand. This program also assists in fundraising that helps the community for a particular cause.
The online businesses have partners that make it easy for them to function and generate revenues. This feature helps customers to avoid a last-minute rush and get the card/gift when they need the most. With the help of this feature, customers can straight away find a store and get the same card they are looking online. This makes the experience and card buying journey of the customers effortless.
Apart from offering the basic holiday cards, below are some unique categories that the online card customization website should cater to:
Cards with messages and fancier appearance are gaining popularity among people. The online card businesses give control of creativity to the customers and allow them to design and add elements to their cards.
With customized cards, people demand customized envelopes too. Therefore the online website should also provide the facility of getting personalized cards printed. The envelopes are widely popular for marriage cards, Christmas cards, etc.
Along with greeting cards, entrepreneurs can benefit from offering customized gifts online. Taking into account human behavior, it can be expected that after buying cards the customer might want to buy gifts as well to go along with the card.
Understanding how diverse the audience can be and by not leaving any customer segment untouched, business owners came up with the cards for the blind. Such cards were appraised for such thoughtful effort.
The business owners knew the true essence of giving cards. The culture, the human value, the sentiments are associated with the cards. With the help of technology, businesses came up with a new idea of presenting the sound cards which have music or sound as people would open their cards. These cards have the power of words to help the emotions. Sound greeting cards provide the facility to record and add the voice of your loved ones in a card along with the other traditional songs.
Nowadays the customers are more inclined to green initiatives with eco-friendly greeting cards and products. Most of the businesses focus on this concern of environment and gives priority to the eco-friendly greeting cards. Eco-friendly cards cannot be considered as the latest trend, business owners have been inculcating the idea of eco-friendly cards in their businesses.
Technology complements the greeting card business as it helped them to stand out from the crowd and reach the valuable customers. In order to be recognized in this industry entrepreneurs should nurture their relationship with valuable customers.
Look around and see how your family and friends react to cards. It’s their reaction that is empowering and keeping the card industry alive. Agreeing with the fact that so many entrepreneurs think eCards business is complex, but understanding the behavior and offering uniqueness to the customers may become a competitive advantage. It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to combine the card, artwork, gifts, and customizable content in their offerings.
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