Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Appreciating evolution of boxed Christmas card packaging

Mark Fletcher
November 30th, 2019 · 3 Comments

It is good to see some Australian card suppliers, Paper Street and Henderson Greetings, offering boxed Christmas cards in open packaging this year. Packaging without the usual acetate all-enclosing container.

In this type of packaging, a slim cardboard box frame is used to hold the cards with most of the surface area front and back open so that customers can touch and feel the actual cards. It is an open box approach.

I like this. I like that it is a good environmental story as well as a good customer service experience.

Feedback from customers in-store has been terrific so far this year. since we have the traditional and new packaging from various suppliers in-store, it is interesting hearing unprompted comparisons about the packaging being made.

The open box in the photo below is from a card company in the UK. I am holding it so you can see what I mean about the benefits of this type of packaging.

Where cards have treatments, such as embossing, the open box approach works well, offering shoppers a tactile experience that could / should more effectively guide purchase.

I anticipate a consequence of more card companies adopting the open box approach to the traditional boxed Christmas card packaging will be better product, product that leverages the tactile shopping experience. Customers will benefit as will retailers and card companies.

Anything we can do to grow card sales has to be important, right?! I think this open box approach pursues that goal.

With physical retailers chasing opportunities to offer experiences, it  is appropriate and timely that innovative card companies are facilitating a better experience in Christmas boxed card shopping.

As competition with online intensifies, anything we in physical retail can do to leverage in-store tactile experiences matters. 

Boxed Christmas card sales are important for the newsagency channel in that compared to everyday card sales, we perform very well in the boxed Christmas card space. Being on the front foot with innovation matters as it is differentiating. This is where the work by Paper Street and Henderson Greetings is important as it provides indie retailers with an advantage.


Category: Greeting Cards

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter // Nov 30, 2019 at 10:09 AM

    I think this more about getting rid of plastics making their offer Greener, better for the environment and sustainability. What I call the feel good factor. However, the Tactile addition is a great added extra.


  • 2 Colin // Dec 1, 2019 at 11:30 AM

    I agree with Peter and suspect this is where the manufacturers are focussed.

    It is hard to imagine an industry more susceptible to the Green lobby and climate change.

    Think about it, greeting cards :

    – involve multiple layers of packaging that are all disposable, indeed the card itself is

    – is produced by a sector that is a major source of carbon emmissions

    – involves cutting down trees and is linked to deforestation

    – has an overseas sourcing approach and excessive carbon miles

    – has major dominant players who do not have recycle targets, either in production or sourcing

    – produces non recyclable throwaway items with excessive use of acetates, glitter, metal adornments etc

    It didn’t take that long for public opinion and political pressure to have a sea change effect on drinking straws and plastic bags.

    The Greeting Card industry must know their day is coming.

    Indie newsagents can be ahead of the game. Stock local, stock ethically sourced, recyclable and biodegradable.


  • 3 Peter // Dec 1, 2019 at 2:00 PM

    “Since its invention some 100 years ago, plastic has become an integral part of our daily lives, but every year some eight million tonnes of it ends up in the ocean, and there it can be lethal. While filming Blue Planet II the crews found plastic in every ocean. Even in the most remote locations.” – Sir David Attenborough
    Consumers are fast becoming aware of the positive impact they can have on the environment. Our industry is already under pressure to keep up with this trend and we plan to stay at the forefront of supporting eco-friendly change.

    Since becoming a member of APCO last year, I’m pleased to report the following initiatives have already been implemented or are well underway:-

    • From this month onwards, plastic wrap will be removed from individual Paper Rose and Pigment designs. You may receive a mix of wrapped and non-wrapped individual card designs during this transition. The only designs that will continue to be individually wrapped will be those that have attachments that need to be protected during shipping, such as handmade specialty designs.
    • Paper bands will be trialled for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day in 2020 instead of using plastic unit bags
    • Vegetable based ink and sustainably sourced board (FSC accredited) will continue to be used for locally produced designs, despite this not being promoted on the back of each card.
    • We will continue to reuse the plastic filling material we receive our goods in, when packing your orders, ensuring this plastic is reused
    • Acetate packaging has been removed from Boxed Christmas cards
    • Launch of the “Coffee Paper” collection last year which was printed on board produced with recycled coffee cup fibres

    Future key initiatives:-
    • We will continue to investigate alternative materials to reduce our dependence on polypropylene unit bags in the hope a strong and cost-comparable option becomes available in the near future
    • An alternative for carton filling to protect product during transit is currently being investigated
    • The reuse of the cardboard boxes in which we receive our goods, particularly during Seasonal times, whenever possible (commencing Father’s Day 2020)

    We’re also seeing a wonderful trend growing amongst consumers to support local. It is important to us that we continue to work closely with Australian printers and finishers whenever possible and in turn, we thank you for continuing to support us also.

    Kind regards,
    Chief Executive Officer
    Ph: (03) 9709 8888


    I hope this from Hendersons is of interest.


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