case studies

Retail Case Study: Carlton Cards


The largest greeting card manufacturer in Canada, Carlton Cards sells a range of greeting cards, party accessories, gift wrap, boxed cards and Christmas ornaments. All are available in department and grocery stores, mass merchandisers, drug stores, card shops and other retail outlets nationwide.


Like other consumer packaged goods companies, Carlton Cards must contend with limited retail shelf space to display and sell its merchandise. To make sure retail outlets displayed the optimal mix of its cards, the company wanted to gain a better understanding of who buys its merchandise at each location. In search of detailed customer data, the Mississauga-based company turned to Envision and PRIZMC2 to analyze each of its trade areas for local demographics, lifestyles, values and competitive pressures.


Using ENVISION, EA’s powerful online micromarketing tool, Carlton Cards produced 20-page executive reports examining the clientele of each of its trade areas; the user-friendly reports took only ten minutes each to compile and print. The profiles helped the company gain a detailed portrait of the customers and prospects surrounding each outlet and determine how to stock shelves with cards to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other life milestones. 


The key to success in the greeting card industry is offering the right cards for the sending situations of a local store’s customers. With ENVISION, the company could analyze each of its trade areas, classifying its likeliest shoppers into PRIZMC2 segments and, with the link to PMB data, learning their demographics, lifestyles, attitudes, price sensitivities and—most important—need for cards for specific life events. The analysis yielded two target groups: the upscale Crazy for Cards group, featuring PRIZMC2 segments like Cosmopolitan Elite and Urbane Villagers, and the midscale Comfortable Card Lovers group, with segments such as Fast-Track Families and Nearly Empty Nests. To help determine the marketing message for each store, the data included each group’s prevailing Social Values.
By comparing the analysis to the greeting card mix within a store, Carlton Cards was able to determine if it was offering the right merchandise. Envision also identified other retailers selling cards in Carlton Cards’ trade areas, which helped the company design the appropriate department size and product mix to differentiate its store from the competition. Within a few weeks, Carlton Cards evaluated over 1,000 stores. “With ENVISION, we were given a user-friendly tool to let us see who shops at our retail outlets,” says Jim Driscoll, Director of Marketing and Retail Logistics at Carlton Cards. “Ultimately, it helped us develop more meaningful connections with our customers.”