With each holiday, there's a greeting card decision to be made
With each approaching holiday, greeting card consumers now face a significant decision: paper or electronic?
There are some occasions when an actual card is a must. Children's birthday parties, for instance, to identify the gift giver. Thank yous, too, ought to be in paper form. But many, if not most, other instances are being replaced by online options.
When Hallmark Cards Inc. announced last month it will shut down a production plant in Topeka, Kan., headlines declared it was proof greeting card sales were going down. The plant made one-third of Hallmark's greeting cards and employed 500, although 200 of the jobs will be transferred to other facilities, according to The Associated Press.
Pete Burney, a senior vice president for Hallmark, was quoted as saying “Competition in our industry is indeed formidable.”
In our increasingly Internet-connected world, greeting cards could go the way of the dinosaur. Collecting happy birthday wishes on one's Facebook wall is now the norm. Personalized cards can be quickly made on several websites and sent via email with little effort. Invitations, especially, seem easier to coordinate online. But it's not always so simple.
Last year, I used the online card maker Paperless Post for my son's birthday party invites. I personalized the look to match our party theme. When the recipient clicks the link sent via email or other method, the animated card pops out of an electronic envelope. So cool.
However, the invites created confusion for some of my less technologically savvy family members.
Older operating systems didn't display the graphics adequately and I got RSVPs through email, Facebook and Paperless Post.
To avoid that this year, and include his preschool friends with whom I'm not connected online, we broke down and bought paper invites for some people and sent electronic cards to others. I think it's that melding of the two worlds that caused Paperless Post to add a new category of cards to its business: paper.
So now, for $1.10 to $2.50 per card, customers can purchase a printed version of many of the online designs. According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, the twenty-something siblings who founded Paperless Post say the move was made to be able to reach customers online, offline or on their mobile phone. So maybe it really is just the thought that counts.