Greeting card businesses don't have a reputation for innovation. Since Hallmark, founded in 1910, greeting card companies have offered the same core service: paper cards designed with illustrations and witty comments.
But in the last few years, the rise of e-commerce and social media has sent greeting cards into a multi-year sales decline. From 2015 to 2020, overall greeting card sales fell 13%.
That, however, is far from the end of the greeting card business. Many companies are pivoting greeting cards into something entirely new to stay relevant: they're blending video content into their cards, digitizing the handwriting process, and more.
Brands that don't keep up risk losing out on the new future for the greeting card business.
Here's what greeting card companies should be watching going into 2022:
One of the most innovative announcements came from veteran Hallmark's greeting card, which rolled out its first line of Hallmark Video Greeting cards in November 2021.
The Hallmark video cards look like any other paper greeting, but a QR code is on the inside of each card. Scan it, and you can pull up a custom video sent in by your loved ones—adding a personal touch.
Brands that blend the physical card and digital experience in their cards are likely to find success.
As the greeting card business embraces e-commerce, it has faced a pain point: traditionally, buying and sending a greeting card is a multi-step process:
But greeting card makers are developing new ways to add handwritten messages on behalf of customers when they print each card allowing customers to mail directly online.
Some smaller retailers, like the New Orleans-based Lionheart Prints, now handwrite messages for their customers before sending out cards.
For e-commerce customers, Hallmark introduced a digital Sign & Send system in June 2021. Through the service, users can:
Hallmark prints that handwritten text onto the greeting card before shipping it to the recipient.
Another company called Signed Cards is offering the same service: write out a note on a napkin or piece of paper, and Signed Cards will reproduce it on a greeting card.
Though they might feel like a fad confined to the early 2010s, the sales of online greeting cards have picked up in a big way since the pandemic.
Major companies like American Greetings reported record sales growth in their e-cards division in 2020 and 2021, and apps like Givingli—which offer highly customizable e-card designs and fonts—are attracting excitement from Venture Capitalists.
From Christmas cards and birthday cards to "Get well soon" and "Good luck" messages, Givingli has digital greeting card designs from more than 40 artists.
Some websites allow users to send free e-cards. Punchbowl, for example, has a selection of free e-card templates for different occasions. Before sending one, users have the option to:
The greeting card companies staying on top of their social media efforts have seen remarkable results.
Minted, the online marketplace for independently designed greeting cards has amassed 450k+ followers on Instagram. Minted takes a visual-first approach to social media.
Its Instagram teems with pictures of its cards set against the backdrop of beautiful, Instagram-friendly homes.
There's plenty of potential for greeting card brands to attract attention on Instagram or TikTok.
For one, the aesthetics of a greeting card fits well with the popular styles on both apps. It also isn't hard to imagine inscriptions or designs, particularly for Father's Day, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, or any special day going viral on TikTok.
Greeting card brands that embrace this digital revolution and social media presence on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram should ensure a digital customer service team ready.
Chatdesk Teams integrates with both platforms, letting customer service representatives respond to follower questions in the comments section. Chatdesk also helps leading greeting cards companies like Moo.com and Papier scale their email and phone support efficiently.
Want to see how Chatdesk Teams can help your customers celebrate special occasions or milestones? Schedule a demo here.