Shutterfly enters the greeting card business
Consumers have a new option when they want to send printed stock or personalized greeting cards using an Internet-based service. Online photo service retailer Shutterfly Inc. this week launched Treat.com, an e-commerce site that enables shoppers to choose from more than 4,500 customizable greeting cards. Consumers can add their own text and images to the designs.
Treat.com was born of Shutterfly's April 2011 acquisition of Tiny Prints Inc., a private company that operated stationery, photo book and greeting card e-commerce sites.
Consumers pay $2.99 for each card, or less if they become members in the Treat program. Members joining at the Super Sender level—for $11.99 annually—receive a $1 discount per card, while those choosing the $5.99 per-year Savvy Sender membership receive a 50-cent discount per card. Both levels include one free card per year.
Shoppers can search for greeting card designs by selecting a holiday or event or using the search function. Upon selecting a card, Treat guides consumers through the steps for adding their own greetings and photos. Images can be uploaded from services such as Shutterfly, Picasa, Flickr, Facebook and from a consumer's computer.
Consumers pay for postage, unless the card is sent without a stamp to the Treat account holder for hand delivery. There are no shipping or handling fees.
Consumers must create an account with Treat or log in with their Facebook credentials to use the service. Treat also offers a free calendar to track important events, and can import the birthdays of a consumer's Facebook friends. Treat account holders also can set up reminders within their calendars.
Customers also can include a gift card to retailers such as Amazon.com Inc., Recreational Equipment Inc. or SpaFinder Inc., make a donation to a charity in the recipient's name, or send money via a check. That service is enabled via Tango Card Inc., a stored value services provider. The recipient must enter an activation code, which is printed inside the greeting card, on Tango Card's web site. Then, she selects a retailer's gift card or chooses to receive a check. Tango Card mails the gift card or check separately. For donations, the recipient can choose the charity and a check will be sent by Tango Card.
In addition to the e-commerce site, Treat will offer a smartphone app this summer for the iPhone and Android devices, says a spokeswoman for Shutterfly, No. 66 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Shutterfly is not alone in offering customized greeting cards online. Hallmark Inc., No. 166, and Apple Inc., No. 3, also offer similar services, though Apple's is only for mobile devices.
"Our research has confirmed that with Treat, Shutterfly is fulfilling a want and need of customers," the spokeswoman says.