Case Study

Shopper Path to Purchase Leads Innovation Strategies


A top greeting card company, who both manufactures and distributes greeting cards, party supplies, gifts, and gift wrap, realized their focus had been a bit stagnant on a key portion of their business – gift wrap (wrapping paper, gift bags, bows/ribbons and other accessories). The team realized they needed fresh learning in order to support future product innovation and retailer merchandising strategies as a way to maintain or even grow presence at shelf. Even more, they needed key-retailer specific learning to appropriately arm themselves during customer sell-ins.

In search of guidance, the client approached C+R Research for help with their mission. We developed an in-depth foundational study to dive deep into the attitudes and usage of gift wrap, as well as the journey to purchase. With these insights, we were able to provide our client with an updated view of the gift wrap category and recommendations on how to innovate, win at customer sell-ins, and ultimately win at shelf!


Gift Wrapping is Now on the Radar

Our client realized their recent efforts had been lasered on greeting cards where they had been focused on combatting challenges due to e-cards, social media, texting and a general softening in greeting card giving behavior. However, gift giving was still alive and well and needed attention by our client if they were to maintain shelf space and remain competitive.

They approached C+R for help to better understand the state of the current category and how shoppers think through their purchase. Specifically, they wanted to:

  • Establish an understanding of the category by:
    • sizing the market
    • exploring attitudes toward the category
  • Distinguish how gift packaging is used (occasions, recipients, etc.)
  • Understand the purchase journey from pre-shop considerations and retailer selection to in-store decisions/triggers, as well as how the journey differs during the winter holiday season (mainly Christmas) vs. everyday occasions
  • Gauge retailer satisfaction and performance against areas of importance


A Comprehensive A&U

We developed a large-scale quantitative study to help our client answer their important questions. Specifically, we fielded a 20-minute online study among over 5,000 gift wrap shoppers. Given the focus on key retailers and seasonal shopping, we augmented our core sample to reach an appropriate number of gift wrap shoppers by gift wrap type, Christmas and everyday occasions, as well as across channels and key retailers. The structure of the survey focused on:

  • Gift wrap attitudes and habits
  • Their last purchase of a gift wrap item (where, triggers, occasion, planning and decision process, in-store influencers, aisle navigation, satisfaction and unmet needs, etc.)
  • Their last usage of a gift wrap item (occasion, recipient relationship, type of gift wrap used, new or reused gift wrap item, areas of delight and frustration, etc.)
  • Additional questions focused on potential merchandising and licensing partnerships, shopper lifestyles and psychographics

To avoid respondent fatigue, respondents were sent on a split path to evaluate either their last purchase or last usage occasion. And, recognizing a good share of respondents take surveys on mobile devices, we ensured the question formats were mobile-friendly.

The result

New Product Innovation Ideas Emerge

We helped our client uncover areas of product innovation that would capture shopper attention at shelf – every day and during winter holidays. We also developed an understanding of the overall path to purchase, including nuances of shopping by gift wrap types, as well as differences in the path by channel, key retailers, and seasons. By gift wrap types and key retailers, we learned where price overshadowed quality and where the occasion or the relationship with the recipient matter most. This helped our client develop product and merchandising strategies that were custom-built for key retailers, with an eye on different times of the year. By way of the research, we also armed our client with key retailer decks to aid in their retailer strategy meetings.

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