Rachael Barnes, co-owner of Dragonfly Cards & Gifts in Knaresborough has clocked the changing shape of card publishers’ sales forces, with fewer agents and a spate of changing distribution arrangements recently. She shares how she feels publishers are shaping up on the service front and what would be on her wish-list for improvements.
How would you rank service from greeting card suppliers?
“I’d say that the service we receive from card publishers has improved over recent years, mainly due to the development of web-shops. As much as we love to see our reps and agents, it is so useful to be able to look at new product between visits or do a top up order at midnight in my pyjamas!”
How do you feel about the changing shape of publishers’ salesforces?
“There has most definitely been a lot of change recently with regard to sales forces, so much so that I was beginning to dread opening a letter or answering the phone!
We have very mixed feelings on this – on one side we are really sad to say goodbye to some reps that have been calling on us for years and have become good friends, but on a more positive note, the web-shop reduces the number of reps that we have to see, so it is more time efficient, and it will allow us to reach minimum orders more frequently in the instances where companies can be combined to make one single order.”
What is on your wishlist for how publishers could improve their service to you?
“I love how so many agents and reps have become good friends over the years – it makes for a much nicer way to do business. My wish-list for improvements would be for all companies to offer web-shop facilities (as long as the reps are paid for the sales accordingly), reorder tickets to be issued as standard by all companies, and agents would stop trying to bombard you with too many different card publishers’ product – if we’re interested we’ll let you know!”