By Kelly Bristol, Vice President, Associate & Buyer Engagement, Brandwise
Hello Friends! I’m excited to be working with the Greeting Card Association on its new GCA Marketplace. I had been a member of the GCA for more than 20 years through the National Stationery Show, and more recently, the Dallas Market Center, and I love that this partnership has allowed me the opportunity to remain connected to the industry and my longtime industry colleagues and friends.
I hope you’ve heard about the GCA Marketplace, the GCA’s B2B platform for buyers to write orders with you at their convenience. Launched in March, the GCA Marketplace now boasts tens of thousands of products from more than 80 members and is growing every day!
The GCA Marketplace is powered by Brandwise, a company that has been in the gift, stationery & home industries for 24 years. We at Brandwise have 300,000 buyers in our ecosystem, and in our partnership with the GCA, we are reaching tens of thousands of relevant buyers in your category with a weekly email to encourage them to shop on the GCA Marketplace. Once these buyers register for their Passports to shop, they become a GCA buyer which strengthens the GCA’s buyer lists. It’s a beneficial partnership for the GCA and for all of you!
In my roles within the greeting card industry, I stressed to publishers the importance of being where your buyers are. That has meant exhibiting at trade shows, doing store visits, and now, more than ever, it means having a strong online presence. Your own wholesale website is a great start but maximizing your exposure by participating in more than your own site is critical as buyers are now comfortable discovering new brands on multiple online marketplaces.
The goal of *Noted is to “gather together all members of the greeting card industry.” The GCA Marketplace extends this mission by exposing thousands more buyers to the Association and its talented publisher members, both large and small, year round. As vendor participation is limited to GCA members, the buyer benefits from a focused shopping experience, and is better able to discover the best in the industry – including many LOUIE Award finalists and winners and now, winners of Noted@*Noted!
Participating members are now receiving orders from both buyers who are new to them, as well as from existing clients. It’s been exciting for me to see orders being placed, and the names of the great and varied stores that are shopping, as I’m quite familiar with so many of them.
Here’s a sample list of just some of the hundreds of buyers placing orders on the GCA Marketplace:
Arabesque of Naples
Barnes & Noble
Columbia River Maritime Museum
Hub City Book Shop
Hudson Flower Shop
Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum
Joy Street life + home
Juniper Art Gallery
Miller’s Orchard, LLC
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Racine Art Museum
Stanford Hospital Gift Shop
Sweetwater Paper & Home
The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center
Where’d You Get That
…and so many more!
Speaking of *Noted, the virtual show proved to be a success for increasing buyer engagement. Many buyers attending *Noted registered for their Passports to shop the GCA Marketplace and subsequently placed orders! Sales on the GCA Marketplace nearly tripled over pre-show orders. Now we need to keep the momentum going!
If you are on the GCA Marketplace, promoting your presence to your buyers is an important way to drive traffic directly to your line, just as you would to promote your participation in a trade show. To ensure buyers find you on the GCA Marketplace, simply include the URL from your page on the GCA Marketplace and include the link in your outbound emails, in social media, and more. Buyers clicking on the link will be brought directly to your line or will first see the Passport creation page bearing the GCA Marketplace logo. Once the buyer has created a Passport, they’ll be brought directly to your products!
In addition to buyer emails that the GCA sends to promote the GCA Marketplace, we at Brandwise are sending weekly themed emails to tens of thousands of buyers featuring products from 6 different members. Each image links directly to the featured product on the GCA Marketplace, so that the buyer can review and order! These emails have nice open rates and are helping to drive the relevance of the GCA Marketplace to all these buyers.
We hope that the GCA Marketplace will become the go-to resource for buyers who are shopping for greeting cards and related products. Your participation on the Marketplace, and your promotion of it to your buyers will help the GCA to accomplish this goal.
If you haven’t yet signed-up to present your line on the GCA Marketplace, please read more about it on the GCA website, and get started here. Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have; I’d love to hear from you!
Kelly P. Bristol
Vice President, Association & Buyer Engagement