Greeting Cards – Competition Everywhere

moonotecardsMOO, that darling of the Digerati (is that still a word?), has launched MOO notecards.  MOO is best known for its mini-cards, which are small versions of business cards with a picture of your choosing on the back and text and an icon of your choosing on the front (or is it the other way around?).  In other words, they are almost totally customizable.

Similarly, MOO notecards will allow you to choose a picture for the front and text and an icon for the inside.  Inside, however, is a bit of a misnomer as the cards are really postcards with a flap that allows them to stand up for display.  Plenty of online card companies allow you to customize cards, but MOO’s format gives the whole thing a twist and makes it a bit  less formal.  Because the customer base for its mini-cards is  probably not the same as online card buyers (just a guess), MOO may also find that it is able to tap into a relatively new market for cards.

While hardly earth-shattering, this product launch is simply more evidence that the world is passing traditional card companies by.  If you open up the greeting card market to include substitutes (as you must), you find yourself in the “social expressions” market.  Now you realize that text messages, emails, blog comments, video cards, and Facebook “Wall” postings are all competition for greeting cards.  Like so many businesses, card companies are faced with some tough choices – become a true social expressions company and broaden into technology based tools as well as paper, stay with paper but move into customizable cards online, or stay with traditional, non-customizable paper cards.  The first choice is dangerous because you’re moving into unknown territory, while the last two mean you have to accept a shrinking market (rapidly shrinking in the latter case) and enter new businesses to make up the lost revenue.  Sourcing low cost cards from China will only get you so far.

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