Wendy future of retail top

American Greetings takes a more interactive approach

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CLEVELAND — The way people communicate is rapidly changing, and American Greetings Corp. is evolving right along with these changes.

“Such networking vehicles as Facebook, Twitter and text-messaging have gotten people to use language a bit differently, and we’re changing the language in our cards to accommodate to the way the public is currently communicating,” comments John Beeder, who serves as American Greetings’ senior vice president of sales and marketing.

In the past year the company has introduced hundreds of innovative new cards with lights, sound and visual effects, cards with “Talking Heads,” and an envelope that includes music and sound.

“Our product innovation team is constantly finding new ways to use the technology, so we now have cards that move, shake, light up and go way beyond just playing music when they are opened, to make the message more special and fun,” Beeder notes.

Based on its extensive research and development efforts, American Greetings will be highlighting products in the next six months that “reflect and perfect” the written word while offering a plethora of innovation.

“Our fall and holiday products highlight some fun innovation, such as our hyper pop-ups that also capture the spirit of the holidays,” points out vice president of greeting cards Steve Laserson.

“Many times people tell us they purchase two cards — one that captures the fun side and the other that reflects the heartfelt side of a relationship,” he adds.

Chain drug retailers put a priority on making certain that their card departments are comprehensive, according to Beeder.

“The one thing retailers constantly ask me concerns younger people who use cell phones and e-mail, and how that affects the retail greeting card business,” he notes. “I tell them that because younger consumers are using these vehicles so much, they see the unique value of greeting cards and how important they are to a relationship.”

To that end, American Greetings is working with retailers on better ways of organizing cards in-store to make it easier for the shopper to find the perfect card.

“We have created merchandising displays that pull out our featured cards, as well as framing techniques that allow shoppers to sort through the cards more easily to find exactly what they are looking for,” Beeder explains.


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