With physical trade shows cancelled, the social distancing requirements and not all sales teams back to full time coverage, the ‘normal’ pattern of showcasing new greeting card ranges and retailers’ placing of orders has been disrupted.
In the third of a series, PG Buzz checked in with Andrea Pinder (pictured above), owner of Presentation Cards & Gifts in Barrowford, Lancashire to learn more about her current ordering procedures, how the company is sourcing products, as well as the plusses and minuses of the new scenario.
How has your greeting card ordering process changed compared to pre-lockdown?
“I run a stock ticket system for my card display so nothing has really changed with regards ordering cards.
However, any telesales service is obviously better if the person taking the orders is kept up to date with new ranges. I have found online ordering is rather time consuming for me.”
What has your attitude been towards face-to-face meetings with suppliers?
“For most of my agents it’s been business as usual. I’m very lucky to have the space to do my buying meetings in my bistro attached to Presentation, meaning I can do social distanced meetings with agents. I have though missed seeing some sales representatives due to them being furloughed for an extended period and of course this means I have not seen many new products in the flesh.”
How are you sourcing products now?
“Due to there being no trade fairs I have to look online, rely on agents and the reps who are working and being supplied with information on new products and designs.”
What have been the positives from publishers/reps/agents in helping ensure you have a great card selection?
“During the pandemic there clearly were some very busy designers and publishers, who worked hard to bring out new ranges to keep our card selections looking fresh.
Our ‘card room’ has never been as busy. This is due to new customers that would normally be working from a town or city office now working from home. We are benefiting from people shopping local and supporting their local businesses.”
Conversely, what tricks do think have publishers/reps have missed in helping you?
“While some companies have offered a fabulous service, I have noticed the turnaround time from other companies has been slower than usual.”
Top: Andrea Pinder’s card sales are doing well.