We have a big binder filled with all sorts of useful information – basically everything you could ever want to know about selling Calypso Cards. We thought some of it might be helpful to you, our retailer community. Topics will include Balancing the Occasions, How to Maximize Curly Girl Sales, Bestsellers and much more. We welcome any feedback or comments you might have! We could add a compilation of comments and share everyone’s wealth of knowledge!
TIP 1: BALANCING THE OCCASIONS
We are often asked what is the best breakdown of occasions when planning a card display. Of course, this will depend on your store, but as a general rule of thumb we recommend you allocate at least 50% of your space to Birthday cards and include a selection for kids. Our second bestselling occasion is Sympathy, and we suggest 10% and one or two Pet Sympathy. The next top occasions are Thank You and Wedding (this is seasonal to a certain extent, so go heavier during your season.) Maybe 5-7% of each. Anniversary (Make sure you cover both "Our" and "Your" anniversary), Get Well, Thinking of You/Friendship, Congratulations are next-maybe 4% each. You should include a few New Home, Retirement, and Blank cards. If you have space to cover all of the occasions include Age and Family Birthday, Bridesmaid, Engagement, Shower, Christening, Empowerment, Good Luck, Goodbye and New Job. One more tip-make sure you have the guys covered!
An example of a typical breakdown for an 80-pocket display would look like this:
- Birthday 40
- Sympathy 8
- Thank You 5-6
- Wedding 5-6
- Anniversary 3-4
- Get Well 2-3
- Congratulations 2-3
- Thinking of You/Friendship 2-3
- New Home 1-2
- Retirement 1-2
- Blank 2-3
Curly Girl Design has a very strong customer base who will be delighted to find these cards in your store! We recommend you make a statement with the line by displaying the cards all together rather than spreading them out by occasion. You will hear your customers laughing and reading them to their friend – and then buy a bunch, knowing they can save them for when the right occasion arises.
Curly Girl Design is a perfect complement to the rest of the Calypso Cards collection, and the warm and wise turn of phrase helps us to fulfill our mission to “give voice and style to everyone’s desire to connect”. In order to do justice to both Curly Girl and Calypso Cards, displaying the lines separately will have a greater impact on your customers and result in stronger sales.
We offer several displays that accommodate the wider Curly Girl square cards, including our recommended Icon displays which come in 48, 56, 72 or 80 pocket configurations – you can request special wider pockets for these, as well as the wooden two-sided display.
Although some Curly Girl cards are designed for a specific occasion such as Birthday or Sympathy, most of them are much broader than that. Rather than limit them, we now have headers for Celebrate or Support.
TIP 3: HUMOR
Don't we love hearing our customers laughing in the card aisle!
At Calypso we have always had a focus on contemporary art and humor. Our current best-selling humor line is, of course, Rosie Made A Thing from the UK. I will admit that when I first saw this line I was hesitant about whether the artwork would be well-received this side of the Atlantic, but my fears were totally unfounded! Wild Times has been our runaway bestseller for over a year now! Although initially designed for Covid, it still works. If you haven’t tried this line yet we really encourage you to give it a try. We don’t think you will be disappointed!
Peacerev is another humor line – not so much laugh out loud as quirky funny.
Sally Scaffardi's animal puns are good for a chuckle – and also make good guy cards.
J&M Martinez is such a diverse collection of sweet, design and light-hearted fun with many cards raising a smile.
TIP 4: BLANK CARDS
Blank cards are a must-have for any well-stocked stationery drawer!
It’s interesting how people feel differently about blank cards from one side of the Atlantic to the other. In the UK, which is the world’s leading card-sending nation per capita, you find blank cards in every card assortment. Here in the USA we often hear from retailers that their customers do not want anything without an inside greeting.
Personally, I like
both. Sometimes I can’t quite craft the words I am looking for and a card helps
me, perhaps saying something a little more personally than I might be
comfortable with if the words were “mine”. And often far more eloquently than I
would ever be capable of in the case of writers such as Colleen Attara who puts her heart
and soul into her writing, or Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Design, who quite
rightfully won the prestigious Louie Award for Writer of the Year 2021. Other times I know
exactly what I want to say and any words on the inside of a Thank You card have
me writing messily around the edges. I am one of those people who likes to have
a drawer full of blank cards that I can pull out whatever the occasion. In a
pinch I can even write “Happy Birthday” on the inside!
TIP 5: PUTTING YOUR DISPLAYS TO WORK
The New Year is a good time to consider whether your card displays are drawing your customers in and making it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
Depending on your card assortment you might display your cards by brand, or by occasion. Each option has advantages: by brand gives a design cohesion to your department and allows each brand to make a statement, but it can be confusing for customers who are looking for a card for a specific occasion; by occasion can be easier for customers to shop when they are looking for a certain occasion, but at the same time different sizes and looks can appear messy. Some stores make both work, for example displaying birthday cards by brand and less sought-after occasions such as wedding or sympathy with the different brands shown together. Also consider header cards to guide your customers to occasions, but again, if you mix your brands this can look incoherent. If you use a spinner to display your Calypso Cards, we do recommend grouping the occasions together, either vertically or horizontally, with like occasions at the same level.
However you choose to show your cards, your display makes a difference!
At Calypso Cards we work with manufacturers to offer a variety of displays with different looks, configurations and pocket counts, from 18 – 192 pockets, counter and floor spinners and inline displays. If you have a very small card section and want to highlight just one brand, an 18 or 24-pocket counter display might be all you need, but in general we recommend at least 48 pockets to give your customers a good selection, and to allow you to cover the main occasions. The Icon displays have clear pockets which means the display almost disappears and lets your customers focus on the cards. All our spinners come with wheels so are easy to move around – even outside if that is where your customers are more comfortable these days! Our preferred display is the ICON80 Sandwich Top.
You purchase the display you choose at a special rate and we will place the order from the manufacturer and invoice you with your order. We offset the cost of the display with a discount off the product you purchase to fill it. All our displays can accommodate the square Curly Girl cards – we have wide pockets available which we can send on request.
Please ask your local rep or contact us at
[email protected] for more information.
Tip 6: BRANDING - Does it matter?
When I first got involved in the greeting card industry I didn't think the average consumer had any idea what brand of greeting card they were buying. I have been proved wrong time and time again! How often do we hear (and from people who have nothing to do with the card industry) "I love this brand of greeting cards", "These are always my favorite cards", "Oh you work for Calypso Cards - I've seen those in my local store". Which all goes to show the time and effort we put into branding is important! It helps consumers find their way around a card department and when they find something they like it makes it easier for them to find more in a similar style, and returning customers know exactly where to start.
Calypso's brand color was green for many years, and while we still love the color, in 2020 we decided it was time for a revamp and we changed to purple, which is elegant, contemporary and eye-catching. Our spinners are branded with purple signage and our headers denoting the occasion are also purple, and die-cut around the circles of the logo - a little extra touch that I love every time I see them!
If your new orders are coming with purple headers and you still have green headers and display signage in the store please let your rep or us know and we will be happy to replace them with your next order - not only does it look a million times better when everything is consistent but it will also help your customers to recognize the brand and boost sales.
Tip 7: SHORT OF TIME AND NEED A REFILL?
We get it - everyone is short-staffed and figuring out which cards need re-ordering is time-consuming!
We can help! Just send us photos of what you have, and if the card needs to be re-ordered turn it upside down so it's easy for us to see that one needs replenishing. If you like we can also add new styles that you have not had before with just a little guidance from you - tell us how many birthday, no wedding, etc. budget, number of styles, anything we should avoid.
Alternatively, we can send you a report showing your recent orders sorted by style that you can use as a quick check of what you have and what has sold. That requires a little more time on your part - or if we have local rep for you they will be happy to help with this too.
Let us help you keep your card pockets filled - empty pockets look sad!
Tip 8: MAKING THE MOST OF THE BACKLIST
Do you know which are your bestselling cards?
If not you could be missing some gems - and sales!
Some of our bestsellers have been in the catalog for years and they are still going strong, like Naughty Betty's Grown Up NB312, Sally Scaffardi's Staggeringly Handsome CC1540 and BD04521 from J&M Martinez. You may well have had these when they were new, and perhaps they have gone by the wayside since?
We are all drawn to what's new, and at Calypso Cards we come out with several hundred new cards a year so it's easy to overlook strong sellers from the backlist. If you use a POS system to track sales by sku that can help, and we can provide UPC lists on request, otherwise it can be hard to see what has sold when the pocket is empty and the card is no longer in front of you!
We offer tools to help you identify those strong sellers that you might consider re-ordering:
This shows our Top 80, and does not include the most recent release.
This shows your most recent orders sorted by sku, so it's easy to see at a glance what has sold quickly and what you should replenish. Your rep will be happy to help you take inventory using this report.
Tip 9: HOW SALES REPS CAN HELP
Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you, our retailers, to order and sell our cards. You can order through your local rep, on our website, from our catalog or on FAIRE. We totally get the convenience of ordering on your own. However, there can be advantages to working with a sales rep:
1. Our reps have samples and, beautiful as our catalog is, nothing compares to seeing and touching the cards themselves and feeling the quality.
2. Product knowledge. They can guide you to bestsellers and tell you what works well in other stores.
3. Territory knowledge. They can help make sure you do not carry the same cards as another store nearby.
4. They have access to promotions and specials that we offer only through reps.
5. They can help with display options and suggestions.
6. In the case of a problem with your order they can help sort it out.
7. They can provide service - we offer them tools so that they can easily see what has sold for you and might need tobe reordered.
If you would like your local rep's contact info, please contact us.
If you usually work with a rep they will be commissioned no matter how you order.
Tip 10: LET YOUR REP HELP
Not enough hours in the day to keep your card display full and enticing?
You, our retailers, are short staffed and busier than ever! And keeping your card display looking enticing is yet another thing on your to-do list.
This is where our reps can help!
We understand that you like to select new styles, as you know better than anyone what your customers like and how you want your store to look, but after you have made the initial selection your rep can help you keep those strong sellers in stock. We can provide your rep with a report showing them your most recent orders. With this report, they can make sure your bestselling cards are in stock and indicate those that are sold out or low. They can also remove any shop-worn cards and return them for credit against your new order.*
They can then make a proposed order for your approval and they can keep you up-to-date on any promotions and specials. Our reps have best-seller lists to work from, they know what is trending in your territory, and they are happy to come by on a regular basis to keep your card displays looking great! With the time-consuming work taken off your hands, you have more time for the fun part-selecting new cards when your rep has a new release. Retailers who take advantage of our service report a significant increase in sales thank to fewer empty pockets and guidance as to best-selling cards, not to mention the time they save!
*certain restrictions apply to returns