Play Your Cards Right
New and old uses unite to expand the market for plastic cards.
Plastic cards are breaking the mold. From artistic attributes—including oil-stamped logos and holograms—to out-of-the-ordinary shapes and multi-purpose designs, plastic cards are growing not only in diversity, but also in popularity.
"People are adding a lot of things to cards," said Jim Brown, vice president of sales and marketing, Plastic Printing Innovations, San Diego. For example, instead of the typical four-color process, clients want silkscreen, pms color and foil stamps.
"We've had a lot of interest lately in using card and key tag combinations in retail loyalty applications," noted Jerry Sumner, director of product management, Arthur Blank & Company, Boston, Mass.
This combination generally consists of a credit card-sized card with one to several detachable key tags attached. "Not only is it used in the supermarket area, but also in the general retail market," said Sumner.
Steve Pye, account executive, BFI Print Communications, Whitman, Mass., has had no problem selling this combination piece. "It's just a matter of getting it in front of people and showing them the value of the piece," he said. "As soon as people see it they like it—it almost sells itself."
The card and key tag combination offers something extra which, according to Pye, is something customers are looking for. "First I just sold a plain card, but then end-users wanted to target the whole family," he noted. "This piece allows one family member to carry the card and others to carry the key tag, and they all get the benefit of carrying a loyalty card."
Another new development in plastic cards is e-money, which capitalizes on the popularity of the Internet. People can go into a retail store and purchase this card, which can then be used on the Internet with specific merchants who accept it.