Independent retailer Peter Whiteman of Dzodzo in Woodbridge, Suffolk is calling for greater clarity over the costs of cellowrapping and also the cost savings of supplying unwrapped cards.
“Are card publishers profiteering over cellowrapping?” he asks urging for an investigation into whether publishers are not sharing cost savings with independent retailers.
“Many suppliers are now trying to go naked, which is very important in the current climate, and I fully support this. We are working towards being totally naked by Spring 2020,” Peter told PG Buzz. “However, it has come to my attention that in the past suppliers used to charge an extra 4p or 5p to supply cards cellowrapped. Some built in this cost and supplied everything wrapped, but now suppliers are delivering naked cards, but the cost hasn’t reduced by the 4p or 5p.”
Peter acknowledges that The Art File offered a 4p price reduction on orders of its Spring Seasons for 2019, but this is limited to just those events’ cards.
He also was bemused by the recent communication he received from Carte Blanche announcing that the vast majority of its cards are to be supplied naked, however if customers want to continue to have stock cellowrapped they will be charged an extra 6p a card by the publisher.
“Is this a case of pure profiteering?” questions Peter. “It does appear as though retailers are not gaining the benefit costs of going naked.”
Keen to address the matter head on, Carte Blanche’s marketing manager Grace Elphinstone told PG Buzz: “We are grateful to Peter for airing this as there may be other retailers who are of the same opinion, but I can assure you that we are not profiteering, far from it, in fact we are not passing on all the cost increases to our retail customers.”
Adding some context, Grace highlighted, “The industry is in a period of adjustment as many publishers and retailers transition to largely unwrapped cards. We are all doing this for the right reasons – to safeguard the planet and minimise unnecessary plastic waste – but systems and processes need to be changed and each have costs attached.”
Carte Blanche, as part of its wider environmental strategy, has taken the decision to remove all “non-essential cello” from its Hotchpotch ranges, meaning those without attachments (such as its Swan Lake range) are to be supplied unwrapped while its Flair pin-badge range will continue to be supplied wrapped. All Me to You cards, other than those with finishes which would be damaged without cello are already supplied unwrapped.
However if a retail customer does requires Carte Blanche cards to be cellowrapped this service is being offered by the publisher, but it will cost an additional 6p charge per card.
“By making unwrapped as our standard, we are moving away from the automated process of wrapping. This means that to provide cards wrapped would necessitate it being done by hand. Our costs for this are greater than 6p a card, but we felt this was a fair price to charge our customers.”
The Art File broke new ground when it offered independent customers a 4p cost reduction per card for those ordering its 2019 Spring Seasons card unwrapped. “Without really pushing it, 15% of our independent retail customers took up this option. The reason we were able to offer this cost saving is that we were able to isolate a batch of cards for the limited sell in period.”
The publisher is extending this cost saving to its 2020 Spring Seasons selection too, again possible as it only affects a defined batch of stock for a short period.
“For most publishers to offer both unwrapped and wrapped stock would require two different picking lines and more warehouse space and therefore an increase in costs,” explains Ged. “The industry’s reponse to the environmental concerns is evolving every day. As time progresses and more retailers finalise their wrapping requirements so the economics of the different processes will change. We all want to be fair to the planet, our customers and our businesses,” Ged added.
Top: Peter Whiteman wants to see the ‘wood from the trees’ on the cellowrap issue.