An Interview with Laura Ching, Co-Founder & Chief Merchandising Officer of TinyPrints.com
In the booming digital age, you may be thinking that paper stationery is a dying art – a mere casualty of technology like cassette tapes or payphones. But this is far from what is happening in this market. True, stationery has seen many changes and has evolved over the past several years. But it is these very changes that have helped push the industry to new heights keeps things going strong.
We recently had a conversation with stationery giant Tiny Prints’ Co-Founder and Chief Merchandising Officer, Laura Ching. She gave us great insight and perspective on marketing opportunities and growth strategies for affiliates selling in this vertical.
The online stationery industry has quickly evolved from being primarily “text-driven” to visual. Consumers love sharing photos which gives friends and family a snapshot of their life. Ching notes that what started as a single primary center square photo has grown to include much more creative liberty. Ching said that for their consumers, the more photos on a card the merrier. Shoppers are looking to add more design elements to their correspondence as well – photo layovers, creative fonts, and photo blends are all common place these days.
After seeing photo cards boom, the question is what will be the next big evolution for stationery? Ching foresees, “a marriage between physical and digital communication with a truly customized design.” They want to make it as easy as possible for their costumers to have the ultimate personalization experience with each order. This would include making it possible to have every space on the card personalized for a truly custom design. Also, TinyPrints.com has already begun merging the two mediums by placing personalized URLs on every card for enhanced customization without sending out a cluttered card.
Laura’s Marketing Tips:
- Demographic: Predominately female. Ages 25-50 – bride through retirement. Males make more personal purchases such as greeting cards. Historically higher household income, although that’s been changing through the years with competitive pricing.
- Top Trends: Coordinating Products (Matching Labels, Cards, Favors, Gifts, etc), Personalized Wall Art, and Photo Books
- Year-Round Sellers: Birth Announcements, Birthday Party Invitations, Baby Shower Invitations, and Custom Thank You Notes. With the slower economy, brides are moving wedding dates to the off-season to save money. So Tiny Prints has seen a year round sales increase with wedding sales rather than a spike spring – fall.
- Marketing Tips: Have beautiful creatives; pen editorialized posts; always romance the customer; create simple, easy to understand promotions; content versus banners tends to convert better; remember to drill down to specific niches; and keep timing in mind. For example, photo books and calendars take at least a week of planning. Holiday cards are typically ordered a month out. And since coordinating is huge, a bride may start planning thank you card designs early on in the planning process with save the date cards.