Standing Apart


Despite consolidation, there are still 900 to 1,000 small card suppliers vying for retailers’ business. Their selling point is differentiation.

Marc Trobman, VP business development for Detroit-based Avanti Press, says grocery retailers are most concerned about unit growth. Avanti, “the Global Humor Brand,” can stand out in a “sea of pastels,” he says, and deliver unit lift. A 32-year veteran of the greeting card business, Trobman describes Avanti cards as complementary to the major card company lines. A cutting-edge humor line like Avanti, he says, can distinguish food retailers’ card offerings from those of mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target.

Trobman views current social media trends as positive for retail greeting card sales. He believes that millennials, with those older than 25 representing 19 percent of the population by 2020, can drive retail sales if presented with the right offering. “They are using social media to communicate more,” he says. “They have more friends [because of Facebook].” Trobman says he believes the millennial generation that stays connected with more people will buy more greeting cards and send them to friends as they go through important life stages.

Colin Littler, marketing director at DesignDesign Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich., says, “The surge in digital communication has created new appreciation for the handmade details that only a real paper greeting card can provide and has increased their perceived value, especially when compared to a text message, tweet or Facebook post. The truth is, the majority of consumers still prefer a traditional handwritten card to make someone feel truly special.”

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