Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Holiday Lesson? Some People Still Send Greeting Cards, but Not Necessarily the Ones I Bought for the Store

After Christmas, we marked down our Christmas cards 50%. We had a very nice sell-through on boxed. I overdid "cute" and could have sold more of "beautiful snow scene (painting or photo)" and "religious." I actually went back to one vendor late and brought in another two religious designs. Complete sell through before markdown.

We had a lot more loose cards left, partly because in the Schwartz transition, the cards that the Downer Schwartz had became nonreturnable (we were on racking programs). We put out 2 spinners of loose cards, plus about 3 columns in our regular card display, and still didn't get them all out. The card we had the most copies of was "It's my favorite time of year" (at right). The punch line is "Table scraps." We had over 24 of them. I'm really not sure how that happened.

On loose, we probably had too much religious. We also had cards for "wife", "husband", "brother" and "grandmother." I guess these sell in other markets (I once had a heated discussion at a gift show about whether a frame should say "sister" or whether you actually know it's your sister when you insert the photo), but not so much at the bookstore. We just don't have enough cards to be so specific. I'm not a fan of one line of cards, and it turns out, neither are too many of my customers. After two complete holiday seasons and two rounds of markdowns, we still have a lot left over, plus we're still sitting on some everyday from them. The more likely scenario is that there are perfectly nice cards in this line, but we're stuck with the dregs.

Most of our loose cards were inherited, but I did buy about 12 pockets new. Sadly, for two of the three lines I bought, I already figured out that their everyday lines did not move that quickly in the store, so you can imagine how excited I was when I remembered I had bought some holiday too.

My worst idea, a really cute card for late holiday givers (left). The problem? Who buys a "sorry about the late holiday card" early, which means you can only sell this marked down, or give a long-winded explanation about why this card does not qualify for the markdown? I'm tired just thinking about it, so I'm simply sending them out now myself. I don't even think about sending holiday cards (which I view more as a thank-you, as I sent about 75 out last year and got 7 back this year) until the 26th of December anyway.


Rebecca said...

I don't know, Daniel. I could have used a few "belated" Christmas cards this year.

Karen said...

We bought the sock monkey boxed cards that you had this year and people loved them. One friend remarked, "Your card won the Christmas card derby." The lesson in that, I guess, is always bet on sock monkeys.