2023 has seen a number of price changes from Royal Mail with the cost of the first class stamp rising to an eye watering £1.25.
Towards the beginning of the year in April The Royal Mail had already increased the cost of a first class stamp by 15 pence to £1.10, the latest rise represents an increase of over 30 percent. If we go back to 2020, the cost of a first class stamp was rising to £0.85 from £0.76 in the January of that year representing a 65% increase in the last 3 years.
This has undeniably had an effect on the greeting card industry as consumers note the cost of sending greeting cards via the post. As price inflation in the general economy has increased coupled with the relatively rapid interest rate rises, the average consumer is faced with making difficult decisions having less disposable income to spend.
For the moment, strategy wise, second class looks to be worthy of promotion for greeting card retailers, the cost of a second class stamp stands at £0.75 (capped by the regulator) which did not rise with the other price changes announced for October.
Second class takes around 2-3 working days for delivery. If retailers encourage earlier Christmas card buying and sending via second class, this would mean a saving of £0.50 for every card sent over the cost of sending via first class at the new price.
The trend of Royal Mail pricing and performance is a concern for the industry as a whole, the rate of postage price increases is speeding up. The company reported poor financial performance with losses of £1bn caused by declining volumes and industrial action.
Last post dates for the Christmas post is Monday 18th of December for second class and Tuesday 19th of December for first class.
Stocking postal stamps is also very useful for your customers by offering them the convenience to get all that they need from your shop. Keep a note of last post times and locations of your nearest post box so that you are ready to help and direct the customer to complete the process. You could go the extra mile and offer to take cards to the post box at the end of each day.
For more out of the box thinking, if you operate a smaller retail outlet, consider facilitating your own post like system for your well known regular customers and allow them to send each other cards via your outlet when they visit.
In summary we need to take a pro active role in encouraging customers to get started earlier, to use the second class service and reiterate the importance of card sending to friends, family and loved ones.