“In the current economic climate, where many businesses are struggling, my franchise is growing,” Andrew Orr confirms. “I have a large franchise territory and fuel costs combined with the limited number of new retail outlets opening up in the region means it is essential that I make the most of each call. Therefore, my aim in the past year has been to maximise sales in each retail outlet and this strategy has been particularly successful.
“I have focused on creating slightly more ‘upmarket’ displays by mainly using Card Connection’s top of the range greeting cards,” continues Andrew. “The displays look amazing and customers are prepared to pay a slightly higher price for the best quality cards. On the one hand, I have taken advantage of the fact that there is not much choice given the rural nature of the region and I also try to pull at the heart strings a little. At the end of the day, consumers want a ‘nice card’ for Mum or Dad and are happy to pay a little more for the very best products.
Card Connection franchisees place greeting cards on a consignment basis in retail outlets. Cards and display equipment are supplied on ‘free loan’ to retailers and they only pay for what they sell. The award winning merchandising service has grown in popularity over the years and Card Connection franchisees now distribute greeting cards to around 14,000 outlets through its network of around 70 UK franchisees.
“Special occasions like Mother’s day and Valentine’s Day become opportunities to cash in,” confirms Andrew. “However, this is only possible because of the quality of Card Connection’s range, created in-house by a dedicated team, who are constantly coming up with stunning new designs. I know when I open my box of stock I will say ‘wow’ and if the cards are displayed beautifully then consumers do the same. My retail customers see a proportional increase in their income stream when my profits increase, so they are really happy.”
Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, which is a subsidiary of the largest publicly owned greeting card publisher in the world and has limited vacancies for franchisees that are keen to run an expanding business. Suitable candidates would ideally have some management experience as, once established, and depending on the size of the territory, they could be expected to employ a small team, operate a small warehouse and have several liveried vans on the road.
Since the franchise network in the UK is complete, the available opportunities now consist of acquiring an already-established territory from an existing franchisee. These vary in price according to their level of development, but start at £20k (+stock) with earnings potential in excess of £50k per annum.