Have you heard that the social media giant Facebook has dipped its toes in the greeting card industry? The reasoning for this foray into greeting cards is that fewer users are sharing personal data on their Facebook pages.
More and more user-generated content centers around sharing news articles, memes, photos, and videos. (and that’s making traditional greeting card companies like Hallmark sad!)
The Facebook “moments” feature
Facebook has spent more time trying to get users to switch back to sharing personal data by implementing the “moments” application. The “moments” feature will include bright images that remind the user of a holiday or event taking place in their location.
For example, in the middle of November, you may get a reminder of Thanksgiving coming up. Under the image, Facebook will guide the user to either comment about the event/holiday or check out more information.
Facebook hopes that this will engage users and help friends and family connect during the holidays. The social media giant has also become an online card maker by launching a holiday greeting card program using animated images.
“We care about our community and want to make their experience more delightful with the launch of this program,” Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer at Facebook, wrote in a press release last December.
“We hope to give people new ways to connect and share and be informed about events and moments happening in the world around them. This is just the beginning and we’ll continue to work to make these messages better for our community around the world.”
In December of last year, Facebook offered a total of 18 different online holiday greeting cards. If you’re looking for a festive holiday greeting card for Memorial Day or the 4th of July, check out the options available on Facebook.
CleverCards mobile app customizes greeting cards
Several years ago, Facebook partnered with the company Cleverbug to sell mobile applications. These mobile apps create online greeting cards for users.
The mobile app, called CleverCards, includes photo calendars for sale. Users also have access to an address book. This mobile app integrates with your Facebook account.
The user is able to design and customize a holiday greeting card using their own preferences.
Since this greeting card app links to a user’s Facebook account, it sends birthday reminders. Also, the user can pull up personal photos on Facebook for their greeting card.
The mobile app allows users to both send paper cards through the mail and post e-cards on a friend’s Facebook walls. If you have an iOS, android phone, or a desktop computer, you can purchase and install the CleverCards app.
Those with an iPad or iPhone can also use this mobile app. Printed cards cost the user $2.99. Yet, digital cards sent through Facebook or email are free.
This mobile app includes an address book option as well. The address book makes it much easier to send paper greeting cards in the mail to family and friends.
As of October 2013, CleverCards reported a 300 percent month-over-month company growth. The business has mobile app users in more than 170 countries across the world.
How Hallmark reacts to Facebook’s greeting cards
“What’s dangerous is to not evolve” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
Very true, Jeff, and huge media companies like Facebook are making traditional brands like Hallmark look like Do-Do birds.
Since the company is based on printed greeting cards, Hallmark has had to change some of its strategies. The business is now embracing electronic greeting cards as well.
With Mother’s Day coming up in a few weeks, the company created digital cards for children to send to their mothers by email.
Hallmark has struggled to compete against services and products in the digital age. Facebook’s foray into digital and print greeting cards has been somewhat difficult for Hallmark to handle.
In July 2015, Hallmark announced that it would close down its distribution center in Enfield, Connecticut, according to National Public Radio (NPR). As many as 570 jobs were cut in this closing.
Maria Brenny, a former Hallmark designer, and marketer, told NPR that major changes are in store for the greeting card industry due to new technologies.
“It doesn’t really surprise me,” Brenny said regarding the layoffs. “I would say that the personal expressions industry is facing something, kind of like climate change shift, where things aren’t going to go back to the golden age that they were in the ’80s.”
From 2010 to 2015, the company has had to cut its workforce from a full-time staff of 22,000 to approximately 10,500 across the globe. Yet, some other parts of the company are profitable.
Hallmark also sells wrapping paper, toys, and books. The company owns real estate property, Crayola, and a cable channel. Nonetheless, the company has seen a 2 percent decrease in annual revenue over the last several years.
“The industry is declining, and from 2015 to 2020 we expect it to continue this downward trend,” Sarah Turk, and analyst with IBISWorld, told the news source.
Yet, there are certain solutions that some have taken. Investing in digital greeting cards is a good idea. Also, one greeting card company has been selling their cards through a candy bar vending machine.
Being innovative could always save Hallmark and the greeting card industry.
Other Card Companies Getting nervous?
Right now Facebook seems to be directly affecting traditional greeting card companies like Hallmark and American Greetings, and the more nimble online companies like Shutterfly (get coupons), Vistaprint (today’s deals), and Snapfish (today’s deals) aren’t directly threatened yet.
You can imagine that Facebook certainly might have their eye on expanding well-beyond greeting cards, and there is no limit to where they might expand.
Come to think of it, perhaps actual human-engagement will be rare in the future, and AI “companion robots” will put companies like Match.com and FTD Flowers out of business, as people will decide that actual humans are just too much drama?
The benefits of Facebook greeting cards
Ok, back to Facebook Greeting Cards. Have you ever forgotten to send out a Christmas card, maybe a Passover or Easter card to your loved ones? If you do forget, Facebook’s new feature will keep you in your family’s good graces.
The biggest benefit of these greeting cards includes personalization for all major religions. The cards account for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Others are neutral and festive cards that would work for any denomination including atheists.
Other great features of these cards include animation. Most of the greeting cards include an animated video that will engage users. Best of all, you’ll get to choose a card from 18 different options.
Facebook’s move into the greeting card industry may make things harder for Hallmark. Yet, it provides new options for the everyday consumer.