WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A store survey indicating shoppers prefer their greeting cards tied in to gift and floral products resulted in the remerchandising and refixturing of the greeting card departments at 10 Raley's stores last month.
The survey also revealed that only 14% of Raley's shoppers were being drawn into the card department, but of the shoppers who made it to the card department 85% bought cards.
Raley's remerchandising has been done in part "to position our greeting card sections as a destination and meet the growing [demand of the] alternative-card market, which has been growing at an annual rate of 25%," said Joel Barton, Raley's merchandising and marketing manager of grocery and drug.
"With the recast sections offering a broad range of themed selections for practically any occasion, alternative cards now represent about 33% of our total everyday card sales," said Barton.
Raley's instituted the revamped card departments based on overall department size using two different merchandise configurations. One configuration features the "Sincerely Yours" line and offers both cards and gifts. "Sentiments in Bloom" is a name and card line used at departments with cards, gifts and floral products. Gifts, priced from $2.99 to $19.99, include ceramic and porcelain items.
The reason behind establishing large alternative sections within the card department is based "on the huge migration of that type of card in the category. Therefore, we've dramatically changed the mix [of our card variety] as alternative cards are the growing part of the category," said Barton.
A major focal point of the new department is its distinctive presentation as a greeting card center designed to create better shopper
identity for the department and increase traffic for cards. Barton explained that although the overall greeting card department space remained about the same in the makeover, 725 to 1,275 square feet, alternative cards did receive more space and increased variety. "We wanted to improve the mix, open up the card department with overhead identification and create a mini-store within a store from the previous two adjoining aisles with a long card rack placed in the middle," added Barton. Part of the section's new look comes from the convex and concave S shape of the island cases while the overall pocket capacity of the new card fixturing remains unchanged. The high-profile fixtures helped open up the section by another 10 to 20 feet of space, said Barton. Alternative cards are based upon many themes that touch a range of consumer niches and interests: from off-beat, humorous to country and western, environmental, romantic, religious and ethnic. Barton said Raley's came up with its new greeting card strategy in conjunction with its card supplier "in a joint partnership. We challenged each other to find out what we could do to immediately grow the business, improve fixturing and look to future new and remodeled stores with combination card and party shops." Raley's will use greeting card point-of-sale data and other information to adjust the product mix and to determine the correct department size at new and remodeled stores.