The Good Ol’ Days

The Good Ol’ Days

By Abby Heugel, Managing Editor

As a society, we are inundated with e-options for everything from communication, dating and shopping to flight check-ins, video conferencing and banking. And while some of these options have made life infinitely easier, it’s hard to ignore the fact that something personal seems to have been lost along the way in cyberspace.

Where I feel it the most is with correspondence, be it a hand-written thank you, an event invitation or a simple birthday card sent every year.

Maybe it’s because growing up, one of the things I looked forward to most was a card that my grandpa sent me once a week — via snail mail. The cards were nothing elaborate; they didn’t play music or feature textured, sparkly material. But what they did have was my grandpa’s handwritten note, scrawled out every week above his shaky signature until well into his 80s, with an envelope sealed with a sticker.

I kept every single one of them.

Needless to say, I still value the handwritten note to a fault, which is why I like our May issue. Along with Everyday Party and Bachelorette, we include a feature on greeting cards and a preview of the National Stationery Show. While many think the greeting card is fading, I would beg to differ, given the passion the stationery industry has for their craft. As retailers, you have the chance to remind shoppers of this relevance—and increase your sales.

Also relevant is the element of personal contact and service that shoppers receive from brick-and-mortar stores, something that can’t be attached or downloaded from Internet sites. While they can buy a costume online, they can’t try it on. While they can attempt to put together a theme, they can’t actually feel the material of their purchase.

But most importantly, they can’t benefit from the relationships and connections that are made through personal contact in your stores. While there’s no denying the ease of e-options, for some things, there are times that you want something tangible — an invitation, not an e-vite; a handwritten note, not an e-mail; a smile, not a site.

So the next time a customer talks of sending a greeting, have them consider going for paper…someone may just keep it around for a while.

Originally posted Monday, May. 24, 2010