Online retailers give the boring brown box on your doorstep an extreme makeover

Retailers trying to break through the Amazon juggernaut are turning front doorsteps into new branding canvases.



Online retailers are giving the humble cardboard box an extreme makeover, transforming a four-sided receptacle for delivering goods into the new shopping bag.

Out: brown, plain, boring.

In: neon colors, ornate lettering, glossy surfaces and geometric stenciling that looks like modern art.

By trying to replicate the delight and status jolt of in-person shopping — walking around New York with a Bloomingdale’s bag once signaled affluence — online retailers trying to break through the Amazon juggernaut are turning front doorsteps into new branding canvases.

As one box veteran puts it, “Every box tells a story.”

And the story often does not end with box cutters. Recipients post photos, videos and reviews online of the coolest boxes. Some re-purpose their boxes to store makeup, watches or even fishing lures. Others hang boxes on their walls, with dioramas inside.

“You all are going to be horrified,” one commenter wrote in an online discussion on a site that reviews boxes (such a thing really does exist), “but I just recycle them.”

This is the best of times for boxes. For decades, a stagnating economy and shift away from manufacturing flattened sales of corrugated and paperboard boxes. But in 2013, sales rebounded and have kept climbing, thanks to an improving economy and, analysts say, a fundamental shift in shopping habits.

Box sales are growing about 3 percent a year and will rise to nearly $40 billion in 2018, according to Katie Wieser, an analyst with the Freedonia Group, a market research firm. But boxes for e-commerce are growing even faster, at 4 percent. Amazon is thought to be the biggest customer, shipping nearly 5 billion packages a year.


Source: The Washington Post, August 21, 2016 

651 554 8533

TAGS:   card fulfillment, holidays, trends


2015 gift card sales in the U.S. reach $130 billion, a 6% increase over 2014

2015 gift cards sales are just the beginning as gift card sales are predicted to reach $160 billion by 2018. E-gifting had the largest increase, rising to 26% in 2015, representing $7.1 billion in volume. E-gifting is also expected to support the overall payment industry growth. Long-term prospects for e-gifting remain promising as more payment services become mainstream and plastic cards make the switch to digital.


“Consumers continue to enjoy the convenience of giving and receiving gift cards in all forms,” said CEB Principal Executive Advisor Brian Riley.  “Both retailers and financial institutions have prioritized gift cards as a central to their strategies for gaining share of customers’ (increasingly digital) wallets.”

The amount of breakage (spillage), also known as unused gift card volume, continued to significantly decline, resulting in less than 1% of total volume. Regulatory action (Credit CARD act) has tightened rules on retailers, making it more difficult for stores to cancel unused cards or charge inactivity fees. This helps to prevent retailers from quickly cashing in on breakage. Customers have also caught on and appear to be finding more ways to avoid breakage. Even if there is only a small amount left on a gift card the consumers are finding a way to use them. But there is still a positive for retailers, as this usually means more lift (the amount that the customer spends over the value of the gift card)!

•Open network branded cards grew to $48 billion (up 6.7%)
•Retailer cards grew to $43 billion (up 4.9%)
•The restaurant and miscellaneous categories both showed limited growth with $19 billion and $13 billion, respectively.

Read the full press release from CEB Global, here.

Read entire article at
Written by Jennifer DiPietro


651 554 8533

TAGS:   card manufacturing, holidays, trends


Starbucks expects to beat record for holiday gift card sales

Last Christmas Eve, Starbucks Corp. sold nearly 2.5 million gift cards in the U.S. and Canada, or about 1,700 cards per minute.

This year, the company expects to beat that record.

The Seattle-based operator said Tuesday that it anticipates record purchases of Starbucks gift cards on Dec. 24, as consumers hunt for last-minute gifts.

One in seven American adults received a Starbucks card last year, and the company is on track for another record performance, Starbucks said.

Since the Starbucks card debuted 15 years ago, more than $25 billion has been loaded onto them in the U.S. and Canada, including $5.1 billion within September-ended fiscal 2015 and $1.6 billion within the three-month period of October through December in 2014, that included last year’s holiday. More than one-third of all transactions in the U.S. and Canada are paid for with a Starbucks card, the company said.

Read entire article at Nation's Restaurant News.
Written by Llisa Jennings, Dec 22, 2015


651 554 8533

TAGS:   holidays