How do you grow business 14% in the same year as losing your largest customer?

Thayalan 1

That was the challenge facing Thayalan Markandu, Card Connection’s franchisee for Middlesbrough, when through no fault of his own he lost a chain of his most lucrative stores.

A relative newcomer to the greeting card franchise network, he took this early blow to his business firmly on the chin. “As an ex-retailer myself, I knew how true the old saying that ‘retail is detail’ really is. So rather than crying over spilt milk, I looked at how I could make the most of the business I still had,” explained Thayalan.

With the able backing of his wife Siva, Thayalan identified several positive steps he could take.

Firstly, he took time to re plan his merchandising routes, calling on his most important outlets more often. Once there, he maximised on customers’ recent buying trends to trade up to more higher price point cards, whilst also increasing the choice of his Relations cards – another big recent growth area.

Next, he looked beyond his greeting card displays, towards what other non-card product he could supply.

“I found by increasing the quantity of each gift bag, bottle bag and giftwrap design I put on display from six to ten was an easy win, as no empty pockets when I returned on my next visit also meant no lost sales,” reasoned Thayalan. “Then I looked carefully at each store I supplied, to identify any small areas of unused space and persuaded the owners to allow me to fill them up with Card Connection’s range of party products.”

The increased stock count has meant less disruption to Thayalan’s merchandising cycle through being asked back to make urgent re-stocks, whilst the trading up on price points and inclusion of extra non-card products has meant more profit per store, per visit.

“The extra £16,000 of sales I’ve seen speaks for itself,” said a smiling Thayalan.