PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle here now operates 25 Card Party store-within-a-store greeting card and gift departments, said Tina Flowers, director of floral and greeting cards.
The shops are fully staffed, have a separate cash register, "and emulate traditional stand-alone card and gift shops," she said. Besides greeting cards, the shops also include gift wrap and party goods, home decor items, candles, collectibles, other gift items, plush, framed sentiments, photo frames and albums, and Teddy Bear Stuffers -- a program that allows customers to select, stuff and outfit a plush animal.
"At Giant Eagle, our greeting card business continues to grow," Flowers said. "We continue to develop and execute innovative programs to maintain our competitive position, and ensure that these departments in our stores are attractive and inviting to our customers."
Among the most effective promotions used by the retailer are those that link the purchase of a specified number of cards with a free item, such as a plush novelty, chocolates, candles, a package of tissue paper, or stickers, she said.
"Because our card and gift shop program is relatively new, we are still testing various promotional opportunities. Promotions that we have run include direct-mail programs incorporating numerous coupon offers, a monetary discount promotion, and a direct-mail promotion that offered a free collectible with a specified spend in the card and gift shop," Flowers said. Seasonal logos for major holidays are displayed throughout the store, and help build greeting card sales, she added.
To get the right greeting card mix, Giant Eagle works with Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, Mo., to analyze front-end data. "This assists us in ensuring that the mix of greeting card lines carried in each of our stores is customized for customer preferences for each individual store," Flowers said.