It is no secret that having been able to trade throughout the lockdowns as ‘essential retailers’ many convenience stores have fared incredibly well over the last year. And this increase in footfall, from both existing and new customers, has opened their eyes to growth opportunities on the non-food front, including greeting cards.
Partly in response to this, Riverside Greetings (which has specialised in supplying the convenience and forecourt trade sector for years) is investing in a relaunch of its brand backed up by a host of merchandising and marketing initiatives to help accelerate the growth for both sides and highlight the sales potential of greeting cards.
“Over the last year we’ve delivered a number of ground-breaking initiatives which have made us leaner, quicker, more flexible, better informed and able to add significant value for convenience retailers,” explained Andrew Glen, managing director of Riverside. He reveals that the company has reported some “spectacular results” in some of the convenience stores it has started supplying during the pandemic. “In some cases we’ve seen growth of over 200% and we are driving significant like-for-like growth for existing customers,” he added.
A key factor in this this has been Riverside’s investment in an on-going research programme. This involves a group of retailers’ stores that Riverside physically monitors on a weekly or fortnightly basis. “The programme is run by our studio team and it means they have a direct connection to the market. We test new merchandising concepts, pos and new designs in the stores and we learn a lot,” explains Andrew. “Our typical c-store layout and ranging is very different from anyone else’s because we range for the environment and use the category management knowledge which we’ve developed. The programme enables us to go from an approved design to being on the shelf on test in less than a week!”
The Wakefield-based company has just unveiled its new branding which will be front and centre of a suite of marketing activities designed to demonstrate to convenience retailers how important and profitable the greeting card category can be.
The new branding, a scripted font on a raspberry pink background, now appears on all point of sale, a brand-new fleet of company vehicles, new workwear, new stationery and a new website which launched this week.
“The relaunch enables us to market the value which we add for our customers in a more effective way and differentiate ourselves from the traditional offerings,” says Andrew. He says that the brand relaunch is “the start of a new phase in the growth of our business and the businesses of the retailers we work with. It represents a significant investment on our part and is a demonstration of our confidence in the category, the convenience sector and our own ability to add value for our customers and their shoppers”.
While the vast majority of the cards are published by Riverside, it also works with Pigment and Danilo to add some extra humour and licensed designs.