Day 127 - Art Cards and Multipacks - why they are essential and how to sell them efficiently
Do you put your art or photographs onto greeting cards or art cards? Have you experimented with it but decided that it is too much effort for too little profit? Are you worried that people will buy your cards instead of your prints to save money and then frame them? I hear concerns like this all the time, however, if you are not already putting your work onto cards already you really should be thinking about it and if you do it correctly you will really reap the benefits not just in profit but in getting your work out to a much bigger audience. Yes you will get some who buy them and frame them but most of those people would not have bought a print anyway and your prints are likely bigger and of much better quality so better to have a small sale like this occasionally than miss out altogether on this opportunity.
The back of every greeting card you produce is a free advert for your business. Use it well and you will be advertising to a much bigger audience and the customers who purchase the card from you will be paying for that advert rather than you! It's a win win situation. If nothing else include your name and website address on the back of the card. If the recipient likes the image on the card and wants to find out more about you that makes it so easy for them and then your website can point them to other areas such as Instagram, Facebook, email, Etsy and so on.
Try to be a little more creative though - make the back of the card appealing. Add your logo, maybe a graphic connected with the card, a bit of information about you as the artist or photographer, a relevant quote or small detail about the inspiration of the work. Anything you add here adds value to the card and creates more interest for the recipient to get in touch with you and become a customer themselves.
Trade will buy a lot of cards from you. Unlike large prints or canvas they are small value items and therefore they will readily pay for them up front rather than expect sale or return on them and they will buy them in larger volumes due to the low cost. Make it easy for trade by only offering them your best selling cards that you know they will be able to sell quickly and create minimum order quantities to make it worth your while.
Trade will take a large discount (often 50%) so this doesn't leave a lot of profit in single cards for you after you pay your own costs. Create packs of 5 or packs of 6 identical cards for trade so that they have to order a pack of each design rather than a single card of each design. That way if they order a dozen designs or more you are looking at 60 or 70 cards minimum which helps you at least break even processing that order, however, remember the advert on the back! This trade customer may now sell these cards to 60 or 70 of their customers who will get to hear about you and several may become direct customers and they will then send the cards to other people who could also become direct customers. Hopefully they will reorder every few months and sell to even more new customers. It is worth processing every trade order for cards with minimum profit just to advertise in this way as the customers it attracts might be future direct card purchasers but they might also buy much bigger work from you too!
Direct Customer Pack Sales
I often hear people get fed up (and understandably so) with single card orders online. Lets face it a card might retail for £2.50. You then have to locate the card, pack it, print an order receipt off, print your postage stamp or queue at the postage to get one, walk to the post office or post box and for what - a profit of £1.75 perhaps? Well below minimum wage for the effort involved!
It doesn't have to be that way, however, with clever pricing and packaging you can make direct card sales work much better for you. The key is to overprice your individual cards and then also offer cards as a multipack that offers a substantial discount on individual card prices. That way people that desperately want one design and only one of those can still order it and because they like it so much they are prepared to pay a little more which makes it more worthwhile for you but most people will be tempted by the saving offered by the multipack. They like the idea of saving money with more cards but from your prospective it doesn't really take you any longer to process a pack of 5 cards than it does a single card and even though you have discounted the card price the profit in the transaction is much higher than a single card transaction. This works particularly well for cards that a 3rd party manufactures for you as the extra volumes have minimum affect on your time although with efficient pricing, packaging and printing can work for handmade cards too!
There are a couple of ways to market multipacks. You can offer a simple 'Assorted Multipack' where customers get to choose which cards they want in the pack. They order the multipack and then have to state in the order notes what the names of the individual cards that they want are. Whilst this may sound straightforward, our experience is that although you sell a few more multipacks, people continue to buy a lot of individual cards. Some customers order multipacks and forget to say which ones they want no matter how clear your instructions and some order cards from different ranges not in the offer or just order several individual cards instead of ordering the multipack expecting the system to automatically apply a discount once they reach 5 cards. Some are also put off by the effort of searching for cards, writing down the names and then entering the names into the order notes.
Having trialed assorted multipacks with some level of success for some time, recently, I worked with a few customers to create 'set card multipacks'. With these packs the cards included are predetermined. By carefully grouping related cards it was possible to create a set of cards that had a similar appeal (e.g. all dogs cards, cats cards, floral cards, seaside cards, bird cards etc). By restricting each pack to the best selling cards in each range it also made the pack much more appealing. Customers were still allowed to swap cards by stating preferences in the order notes but most chose just to accept the set rather than change anything.
It was therefore of no surprise that packaging sets of cards on the website and Etsy shops to sell them in this way dramatically reduce the number of individual card orders in favour of multipack orders but what did come as a big surprise to me was the number of people that then went on to order 2, 3 or 4 as well as a few 5 multipack sales within the first couple of weeks of going live with it. Imagine that £50 or more in card sales to a single customer in a single transaction when you are used to single card orders with that customer then sending out 25 free adverts about your work for you!
Of course that doesn't just happen for everyone, you need to have a following, you need to plug your packs to your mailing list and in social media and you need to price them appropriately and photograph and list them appropriately on your work needs to have appeal but as an alternative to single card sales it wins hands down! We also offer all cards with free delivery now. If you don't then you really should read Day 99 - Free Delivery - Why It Is So Important and How Not To Lose Money.