From Rediff.com SMS, a threat to greeting card biz.
It is estimated that about a billion short messaging service were exchanged during the week between last Christmas and New Year in India.
While this may be a good ring tone for cellular operators, it has definitely given the greeting cards businesses something to worry about.
Chand Das, chief executive, ITC Ltd- greeting, gifting and stationery business, told Business Standard that the greeting card industry's business was stagnant over the last three years, but this fiscal the industry has been witnessing a 10 per cent fall in business due to the SMS and multi-messaging services.
Das says that while e-cards did have its negative impact on the growth of greeting card sales, the major impact has been felt from the growing popularity of SMS and MMS.
There's a simple solution and could be a big revenue generator too. Turn on the greeting card. Every greeting card has a barcode. Hallmark can off the ability to include a greeting or a picture for every greeting card.
For an extra .25 would you like to turn on your card?
Take a picture with cameraphone or record a message and allow Hallmark to "attach" the message to that specific barcode. So when Grandma Sally records her message "Happy Birthday Susie!" and attaches it to the card, Susie opens up the card and either clicks on the barcode or types in the digits from the code to hear the greeting.
Or the card buyer can go to Hallmark's website and enter in a special greeting according to the specific barcode. When Susie clicks on the barcode, the greeting shows up on her cellphone.
Lots of possibilities, but when you turn on the barcode, you make the greeting card interactive.
The greeting card now has a personal touch to it. Hallmark earns an extra .25 and this will separate Hallmark from the wannabee gretting card cos.
Very easy to do, and the greeting card will have much more impact.
The only problem might be getting Grandma to work a cell phone.