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While consumers are more conscious about spending, Scott Young, VP for strategic relationships and business development at Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark, points out that special occasions call for the perfect card: "Whether that is an opening price point or one that costs $7.95, it's based on the consumer need. It's hard to put a price on people's relationships."
Young emphasizes that Hallmark works closely with retailers on assortment, price and promotions, explaining: "We work hard to understand what our retailers are trying to accomplish, their shopper demographics, and provide rooftop-by-rooftop product assortment planograms. If a larger value assortment set is warranted, then that will be part of our recommendation. If we need a larger multicultural product assortment, then that is what we will recommend."
"At times, this will mean offering cards at a lower everyday price, discounts for multiple card purchases, etc.," he adds. "It all depends on what's right for [retailers'] business."
According to Steven Gimbelman, president of Edison, N.J.-based Designer Greetings, quality factors into value. The overall quality of the card — color, paper quality, embellishments and caption — stimulates the pickup from the rack, but editorial clinches the sale, he notes: "A lot of components go into why someone selects a card. Usually, the driver is editorial. They may love the way the card looks, but if it doesn't have the right message they’ll put it back."
Gimbelman adds that the size of the card also plays a role in value perception. "There is more value in larger-size cards, especially for occasions where it means something based upon the close connections of the sender to the receiver," he says. "The closer the relationship, the higher price that can be commanded for greeting cards."
"When selecting a greeting card for a special occasion, our customers are keenly aware of the message and quality of the card," agrees Deb Wilcox, spokeswoman for Buehler's Fine Foods. "Yes, value is important and speaks to the success of our promotional events," but, of course, as indicated above, value goes well beyond just the price of the card.