Pushing the envelope: how Moonpig is driving new design ideas

Sarah-Jane Porter, head of cards at Moonpig, is on a mission to expand the online retailer’s card design range, while at the same time looking to help the creative industry at a challenging time for the sector.

Porter is overseeing an initiative to bring in additional design and publishing partners, in order to ramp up newness in Moonpig’s card products and support an industry that, like many others, is feeling the squeeze following the coronavirus pandemic.

Moonpig says the move is the largest on-boarding programme in the company’s 20-year history, and the aim is to triple its publisher partner network. 

“I’ve been at the business for seven years and this is probably the most exciting project in that time,” explains Porter, whose work to bring in new partners coincides with rapid growth in demand for Moonpig products.

“We want to be the most representative card retailer on offer – we want customers to come to us to find whatever they want. With that ambition goes an aggressive growth plan that we can’t address with our in-house team as it is.”

With card retailers prompted to close shops temporarily during the government-enforced lockdown period between March and June, online sales in the category have ramped up.

Multichannel retailer Card Factory reported significant online growth, and has launched a new website and is investing in a mobile app. Moonpig, itself, continues to see triple-digit year-on-year sales growth – a pattern dating back to April.

Moonpig is calling for publishers and independent creatives specialising in design-led, humorous, and topical artwork. The programme has already resulted in companies such as Charly Clements, Dean Morris, and KitsCH Noir joining the supplier base, and Moonpig is encouraging other parties interested in partnerships to get in touch via email.

Porter says there is strong consumer demand for cards displaying contemporary themes related to prime minister Boris Johnson, lockdown, face masks, and social distancing. She also suggests a growing demand for “rude humour”, resulting in businesses such as Filthy Sentiments and Objectables joining the designer pool.

Moonpig says it is not forgetting existing partners which help make up its 12,000-strong product list, but this programme has been developed to ensure continued design innovation, and more choice for consumers.

Telling stories

The tech team at Moonpig is working on ways to ensure new card designs receive suitable online exposure, while social media is being utilised to tell the stories of the new publishers.

“We’ve done meet the designer/artist with our in-house team but we’ve never done it with publishers before, until now,” Porter notes.

“Usually they are bigger publishers who do not have one specific face behind the brand. It’s been nice to showcase the smaller publishers – people like to see who designed the card.”

Moonpig has showcased designer interviews on Instagram Stories, and via email and other social media.

In addition to the new publisher drive, Porter oversees licensing partnerships with the likes of Disney and Warner Bros. There is a push towards more partnerships of this sort, covering gaming, influencers, and the sporting world, as Moonpig grows its range.

“We’ll continue to listen to what our customers want, and ask them what they want,” she says.

“We want to have the most relevant offer across the high street and online.”