Q&A: Designer Greetings CEO talks delivering personalized messages at a value

Steven Gimbelman, CEO of Designer Greetings, discusses the role greeting cards play in driving traffic and enticing customers with value-focused offerings.
David Salazar
Managing Editor
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Even during a pandemic, greeting cards have managed to maintain a spot as a tried-and-true way for consumers to tell someone they are on their mind in a way that’s more personal than a group Zoom call. Smaller retailers, in particular, can be a place where customers look for greeting cards. Enter Designer Greetings, whose Card$mart program is designed to help drive foot traffic at small chains and independents. DSN spoke to Steven Gimbelman, CEO of Designer Greetings, to talk about the company and the greeting card category.       

a person in a library

Drug Store News: How are things going for Designer Greetings?
Steven Gimbelman:
Designer Greetings is doing its best to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic crisis. Unlike other companies, Designer Greetings, a family-owned and -operated company, is fortunate to have a deep account base from businesses that are deemed essential, such as pharmacy, therefore Designer Greetings remains strong. Despite these challenging times, card sales have not faltered and the ability to send a handwritten card to a friend or family member at this time, when physical touch is lacking, is like sending someone a big “socially distant hug.” The staff at Designer Greetings has gone above and beyond this year, and by taking all of the necessary safety precautions, our turnaround time still remains the fastest in
the industry.

DSN: What does the retailer need to do during these times to maximize social expression category sales?
Designer Greetings offers a variety of programs that are designed to help your pharmacy increase sales. The Card$mart program, selling cards at 50% off, every day, is a traffic driver for independent and small chain retailers. Offering the most extensive title selection in the industry, with over 23,000 card titles, Card$mart also provides a Preferred Giftware Vendor program, which is an exclusive benefit to the retailer, whereby the store owner gains access to top gift vendors across multiple gift categories. In addition, part of Designer Greetings’ array of products is our premier gift wrap line, Glitterwrap. This program includes the essential gift wrap items, including gift wrap, roll wrap, gift bags, bows and ribbons, all in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit every customer’s need.

DSN: How can the independent drug store or small chain drug store compete with greeting cards against large chains?
A top advantage for independent drug stores is that Designer Greetings’ Card$mart program outvalues the national drug chains. The three national drug chains sell their cards at full price. As you know, card prices have risen dramatically, and the discerning shopper is discouraged. With Card$mart, the shopper can purchase cards at 50% off the published retail price without sacrificing quality. Such appealing pricing drives traffic to the store, creating new customers. In addition, data has shown that the Card$mart customer will purchase more units of cards, ultimately improving the retailer’s profit.

DSN: Why should an existing store think about giving up prime space in its location?
Card$mart Store-In-A-Store is a huge traffic driver. Card$mart is one of the only programs that an independent drug retailer can buy that outvalues the national chains. While the cost to the customer is half the retail price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on quality. Card$mart products are equivalent to the competition’s high-end, full price card lines. Moreover, while the customer will receive quality product at a value price, the likelihood that they may purchase more units ultimately drives up retail sales, bringing new customers to the store. However, if your store does not meet the minimum space requirements, our dedicated and experienced sales team will help find the program that best suits your store to maximize greeting card sales.

DSN: Are there any new products that you want retailers to know about?
Designer Greetings is always updating existing product with fresh, new designs to stay up to date with the latest trends, such as the card line Care and Concern. This card line offers the perfect sentiment for this difficult time with encouraging messages. Another way that we have grown the greeting card category is by adding premium embellishments, such as jewel gems, ribbon, feathers, wood cut outs, etc. With these high-quality embellishments, Designer Greetings offers the same quality card at a more reasonable retail price. Additionally, with a diverse team of worldwide artists, Designer Greetings has developed a new product line of journals and planners, inspired by the artistic card designs.