July 3, 2013 • Sarah Schwartz
It’s a Wrap
The giftwrap market has dramatically changed over the past several years due to a shift in both the economy as well as attitudes about waste. At the same time however, blogs and social networking sites like Pinterest and Instagram inspire tens of thousands of consumers by sharing easy ways to make the everyday more stylish — and this includes wrapped gifts.
In this contradictory climate, it’s not surprising that often retailers, themselves confused about the category, under promote giftwrap, observed Nancy Dickson, creative director, the Gift Wrap Co. “It is shoved in a corner or the back of the store and is often just overlooked by the shoppers, and thus the retailers lose money. Giftwrap is often an impulse ‘after thought’ purchase. If retailers don’t remind the consumer they need it, educate the consumer on the value of it, or even just show that they think it is valuable product, the consumer will often forget about it until after they have left the store.”
Fear not, however — our list of do’s and don’ts will enable you to infuse this complex category with pizzazz.
- Consider offering gift-wrapping services, and consider making them free. Alternatively, you can wrap packages gratis when the papers and accessories are purchased from you. “That will set them apart from big box retailers,” noted Nashville Wraps’ Joni Compton. “Personal service will keep customers coming back, and if (you) include a custom printed label on the gift, the recipient may also become a customer.”
- Add fun props to your venue’s wrapped gifts, recommended Lindsey Cross, owner, Lemon Tree Paper & Mrs. Post Fine Stationery & Gifts. “We always love adding an extra touch — like tying lollipops to kid’s gifts or a paper flower onto a wedding present.”
- Emphasize any stock that is domestically made and earth-friendly. “We see a great demand for eco-friendly and ‘Made in the U.S.’ packaging,” Compton pointed out. “We are proud that our giftwrap, paper shopping bags and tissue paper are made in the U.S. Many of our products are made from recycled materials.”
- Realize the big role ribbons play in impacting an overall look. “In addition to thick satin and grosgrain ribbons, we also love the simple look of wrapping yarn around a box several times and creating yarn pom-poms on top,” Cross commented. “Baker’s twine is a sweet, simple look, too. These are inexpensive touches that make a huge difference.”
- Display wrap by the sheet as opposed to the roll so the designs can be appreciated. “We display gift wrap sheets on simple white ladders with satin ribbon and enclosure cards nearby,” Cross explained. “When colors coordinate, its simple to mix and match.”
- Think outside the box, underlined Kate Saliba, co-owner, Smudge Ink. “We’ve seen (giftwrap) used as wallpaper in a bathroom, the background setting for products in a jewelry store and also as decoration in retail windows. We made pinwheels one year for the trade shows we attend annually, and many store owners inquired about them.”
- Share knowledge and speak up. “Many consumers really appreciate when a retailer shows them how (to) create a well-wrapped gift, whether through photos, examples or, even better, personal assistance on the retail floor,” Dickson emphasized. “Sales clerks (should always) ask the consumer if they need wrap. Some do such a great job to help purchase the gift, but fail to ask if the consumer needs wrap for the gift. Worst case consumer says no, best case the final sales dollars increase!”
- Forget that many customers are still seeking quality and have specific visions of what they want. “We understand the importance of the little details,” reminded Ava Sumika, president, MIDORI. “We believe our customers feel the energy that goes into each design and know they are getting a piece of art, rather than a stock image. Whether the packaging is for a wedding, stationery company, jewelry designer or a company with a need for beautiful packaging, we take into account that our customers need to see eight shades of blue to match their vision perfectly.”
- Ignore Pinterest, as the latest in DIY ideas can easily be integrated into your own packages. “This is a huge source of idea and creativity for crafty consumers who really take pride and joy in their gifts and gift giving,” Dickson said. “Wrapping ideas are not just about gift wrap, but utilize materials from just about anywhere.”
- Overlook the different needs of different customers. Merchandise mixes should speak to the DIY customer with lots of fun flourishes, the customer in a hurry with giftbags and tissue — as well as the gift giver looking to dress up an inexpensive gift. After all, Dickson opined, “a well wrapped gift can outweigh the gift itself!”
- Neglect your own store’s packaging, and make sure it really speaks to your core customer. “A store we know on the Cape wraps gifts with sea foam colored tissue and ties a shell on the top with matching ribbon,” described Smudge Ink’s co-owner Deb Bastien. “These wrapping items aren’t for sale and the presentation speaks to their seaside location and general interests of their clientele. Plus, it’s very recognizable to those who live in the area.”
- Miss the mark by not displaying wrapped gifts in various styles. “(This) will help customers understand and get excited about all the options there are,” Bastien enthused.
- Don’t disappoint customers by not presenting a strong variety of options and useful information, cautioned Michelle Valdez, Brand Manager, PAPYRUS Everyday Card & Creative Products. “We offer a variety of price ranges and finishes for every customer and occasion; when we partner successfully with our retailers, the shopping experience becomes streamlined and truly enjoyable.”
- Fail to present cohesive displays. Sumika recommended asking yourself, “Is the lighting right? Is the product merchandised where it makes sense? Is it consistent with your brand but still appealing to the customer? When looking at a display, you should feel like you are in a candy store! Your eye should feel at ease and excited by the color, rather than jumping all over the place.”
— By Sarah Schwartz, editor