How to make a jewelry lookbook?

Every top seller in the jewelry industry knows the importance of a lookbook for the business.  Learn tricks from these successful jewelry sellers to compete with them online. Read this article carefully to find your way to victory. 

Why would you need a lookbook in the jewelry industry?

A lookbook is a trend of the last few years. It also seems to lasts for a long time from now. There should be some good reasons for that. We have defined the top 3 reasons why a lookbook benefits a business if you are in the jewelry industry.

1. Jewelry sales shifts online

According to online jewelry sales statistics, the jewels e-commerce business grew by 14.2% in 2018. In 2019, more than 29 million people purchased jewelry online daily. In 2020, COVID 19 revolutionize the jewelry market by forcing most companies to shift sales online. As well as rethink their digital strategy. For example, the Courbet jeweler has decided to invest part of its capital in enriching the platform with functionalities based on 3D video and augmented reality. From now on, it will be possible to choose a ring in conditions similar to those of a physical store (LUXUS, 2020).

However, most of the companies in the industry do not accumulate that much capital to copy the Courbet strategy of dealing with crises. In this case, creating a digital version of a catalog allows the business to reach out to customers and don’t spend millions of dollars on R&D and innovation.

In addition to environmental forces, the power of buyers also encourages online sales. Millennials and Generation Z wield around $200 billion in buying power. At the same time, 67% of Millennials prefer to shop online, and 73% of Gen Zers shop online. By connecting the dots, you can see how attractive this niche at the market has become. 

2. The is always an emotional connection with a brand or/and a piece of jewelry 

… especially if we are talking about expensive jewelry. R. Bates (2020) came up with 9 psychological reasons why people buy diamond jewelry: I’m worth it; let’s celebrate; I did it; I want something exceptional; reflecting the qualities of a diamond; making the write impression; the promise of a diamond; redemption; purely a gift. We are not going to discuss each of them separately, but let’s sum it up. Usually, people are buying expensive jewelry as a gift for someone to show the importance of the person by the high price. Or to themselves as a reward or a method to underline their status in society. 

Why would you need to know that? To create a brand identity. It has to meet the main reasons for the purchase. For example, despite the broad product line Tiffany always associates with the engagement rings; Rolex is a way to show who is a boss here, and Pandora is about traveling and collecting memories. Every successful brand has a clear and distinctive story behind it. So, the first thing you should do is to come up with the story, whereas the lookbook will help to tell the story to your buyers. 

To achieve it, all the professional lookbooks and catalogs makers advise presenting a product on a person and within a context. For example, a golden diamond necklace on the white background says nothing. But if you put this necklace on the grandma’s neck and imagine a grandpa hugging her, you will see that this necklace is a symbol of life-long love. So, would you prefer to spend $1000 on a chain or the never-ending love?

3.  Jewelry is a fluid industry 

You want to stay up-to-date and engage your customers by updating the product range almost every season. It’s all up to you how to provide a supply, but a lookbook is a point where the supply and demand are crossing each other. So, what do you want to do is to present your latest collection as fast as possible, and a digital catalog is the best way to do it. 

First of all, updating the digital catalog is a lot faster than transporting a new collection to the store, reorganizing other products, and do the documents connected with this action. With a digital lookbook, it’s a matter of a few hours. If you decide to save your time, keep in mind that with Catalog Machine, you can not only update your lookbook with a few clicks but also start receiving orders and payments right from the catalogs. 

Secondly, going online is the best way to reach out to thousands of people at once. Selling from the store, you limit the target audience with a location factor. Whereas, if you can manage cross-country or even international shipping, you will pop it up in times.

Now you see the importance of the lookbook for the jewelry industry and maybe even want to create one for yourself. What should you know to succeed?  

What is the trick? 

The main focus of each lookbook is a photo. We would recommend you hire a professional photographer to be sure of the quality of the image. But what if you don’t have free money for that or want to create everything by yourself? We have created a list of rules; you should keep in mind to create a professional-looking photo of the product

  1. Product positioning – no matter who or what is at the picture, the product that you are selling should be the first that your clients see. You can use bluer everything else around to make it stand out, put it at the center of the picture, or brighten it up a little bit. 
  2. Be careful with the lights – if you are shooting indoors, set up your white background “studio” with a window to either the left or right and a white reflector of some sort on the opposite side. You want to light your product evenly and without shadows.  
  3. Never use zoom unless you have a professional camera – it will bluer the image. Come as close as it is needed. 
  4. Keep your camera clean – even a little bit of dust at the lens could spoil the image. 
  5. Don’t use a flash – unless it is removable. Remember, to strait light at the ‘face’ of the product. 
  6. Don’t move the camera – use any kind of camera holders. Everything is better than hands.
  7. Edit the image after – you can find plenty of paid or free courses on the Internet on how to improve the photo.

Summing up, to be able to compete at the jewelry market, you want to create your lookbook. Go to https://www.catalogmachine.com/ to start improving your business!

10 Tips: How to make a fashion lookbook

A lookbook is a must-have for the fashion industry! It helps with creating brand awareness, building brand loyalty among the customers, and increasing sales. We’ve come up with the top 10 tips for you on how to make a selling lookbook!   

Tip #1 Simple design

The product is a star of the show! So, be sure that customers’ attention is not distracted by the background. Using white color, you can’t go wrong. Not sure about the design? No worries! We have templates created for you. In addition, the simple design means one product per page. 

Tip #2 Professional looking images

No matter how much effort you are putting into the lookbook, it won’t look great until you have professional-looking images. What does it mean? First of all, good quality. Higher a photographer or improve your photo skills. Secondly, use a photo as a chance to show how the product can be used. Are you selling sports clothing? A photo of a happy person playing softball and wearing your T-shirt is the best what you can do. Remember, a good brand is not selling products; it is selling a lifestyle. 

Tip #3 Consistency 

Pick up 2 main colors and 3 supporting shades. Same with fonts. 2 is max. Play around with bold or italic options, but don’t go with too many different fonts.  

 Tip #4 Top sellers

Create a section with the top 10 most buying products. Customers enjoy lists because they are easy to process and fun to look at. The tricky part here includes the products you want to sell. It may not be the true top sellers at the beginning. But trust me, they will become after this move. 

Tip #5 Buy buttons

Be sure there is a buy button right near the product. Remember, the easier the way is from seeing to paying, the more likely your customers will go through it. In most cases, buying cloth is rather emotional than a rational decision. However, the emotions are usually not last long enough to come back to the lookbook again.

Tip #6 Sell a “look”

The lookbook is about inspiring and educating your customers. So, if a model wears a blouse and a skirt, make your customers able to buy both of them. It solves the problem, “I love that skirt, but I have nothing to wear it with.” Greater experience for your customers, higher sales for you. 

Tip #7 Contact information 

Place the phone number or at least an email at a footer or a header of each page. It makes the impression that you are happy to talk to your customers, have nothing to hide, and are reliable. Besides, it will decrease see-buy time, the importance of which we’ve already covered.    

Tip #8 Must-have elements

There is a list of must-have components for each lookbook:

  • Cover page
  • Engaging photos
  • Product description (fabric, size, color, think what is relevant to your customers, but don’t overwhelm it with unnecessary info)
  • Buy buttons 
  • Social media share option
  • Contact information
Tip #9 Watch with your customer’s eyes

It does not matter if you like the lookbook, it does matter if your customers do! So, after finishing the lookbook creation, try to stand into your client’s shoes and see how it looks like from their perspective. You can even show it to some of your clients or people who are presenting your target group and ask their opinion. 

Tip #10 Stay up-to-date

Usually, apparel lookbooks are created every season. However, it’s not enough, because you don’t want to present any item that is out of stock. You can automate your lookbook production with Catalog Machine, so you will save your time and money as well as meet your customers’ expectations.  

Click here to create the lookbook of your dream! 

 

Benefit Your Business: Fashion and Supply industries

The online product catalog will benefit any businesses – increase sales and customer engagement. The professionally made catalog provides up-to-date product information in a beautiful format. You can present products your way and reach customers anywhere – online, by email, or in social media.

Each industry has specific expectations for the catalog. This post focuses on creating catalogs for Fashion and Parts/Supply industries.

Fashion Industry

Melita Vienazindiene & Ramune Čiarniene in 2014 figured out 10 main characteristics of the fashion industry.

Some of them, such as globalization, low predictability, and velocity, are the result of the modern world changes. They characterize most industries today. Volume in the fashion industry is also not that high if we compare it with parts or food industry. So we would focus on the other 6 characteristics. 

Pay your attention to…

Variety.  In the fashion industry, a variety of products is provoked by differences in sizes and colors of the same product (apparel industry). It can also be the difference in the materials (jewelry industry). Usually, the storage place is limited. It doesn’t matter if it’s a store or pages of the catalog. For sure, you can manipulate several pages a way easier than square meters at the store. 

High impulse purchasing. Working in the fashion industry, you know how important to present your products in an attractive looking way. So people would want to buy it the second they see it. Using a catalog, you can easily manipulate the appearance and build your image. Moreover, today more and more people prefer shopping online. Meet this client’s expectation and enable them to order and even pay for the purchase right from the catalog with Catalog Machine new feature.

High volatility. Lead time. Short lifecycles. Seasonality. All of these characteristics of the fashion industry challenges you in terms of time. You always have to update the information about the existing products, show new collections, and remove old ones.

To solve it easily, you might want to think about the platform that would update your product information at the catalog automatically. Even a designer is not an option. Because it usually takes them long enough to update the catalog. Plus, a designer’s work is expensive. Good news, Catalog Machine can do it for you. Once you add the product and define the fields to present, all the information that changed at the database will be updated at your catalog right away. 

Parts/Supply Industry

The main distinctive characteristic of the parts industry is a high volume of products to present. So you can hardly place all of them at the store. It makes even more sense if you work as a retailer at B2B market. Your client will buy a more significant volume of products. And want to know all the information before the purchase as it is a business decision. 

In this case, a catalog can present not only photos of the parts, but also all relevant information your client wants to know. So you can easily meet clients’ expectations without spending hours on discussions.  

Other characteristics were mentioned by Elisa Shoenberger  in 2018 – productivity, quality control, good design, and cost-effectiveness. Having a catalog can benefit you at most of them. Except for good design and quality control, as they are connected with the product manufacturing process.

Productivity. Balancing efficiency with productivity translates to profit. Automated catalog creation is helpful in terms of saving time. You can add as many products to the catalog as you want, edit the information, and even receive the orders right from the catalog. All of these features help manufactures to increase productivity. 

The important part here is that we are talking about automated catalog creation, not the designer’s work. Because working with one will turn into a high invoice and will take some time. At the same time, a good catalog equals to a good marketing campaign. As your customers get familiar with the company and products, you are offering. So, how will you save money? No designer and lower marketing expenses.  

Summing up

The creation of a catalog can benefit different industries because of flexibility. You can manipulate the information that is included, use it as a marketing campaign or internal company’s documentation, easily update and include product database. So, hurry up to start meeting your industry challenges with Catalog Machine!

What Should You Do Before Starting the Catalog?

Catalog creating is a global trend in 2020. Many worldwide brands and retailers use online and printed catalogs to increase sales. Among these brands, you might know Nordstorm, Patagonia, and Amazon. Let’s have a look into statistical proof of how the use of catalogs improves the company’s performance.

In February 2020, Jonatan Zhang published the result of the US-based jewelry and luxury watches retail study. His findings are impressive! A company that sends catalogs to their clients experienced 49% lift in sales, and 125% lift in inquiries compare to those who did not. 

Do you think it’s a power of email marketing? Wrong. Those who used emails only increased sales by 28% and lift inquiries by 77% percent. You see that the catalog makes a huge difference. Let’s find out why. 

More than 75% of the company’s revenue comes from repeat purchases. So, once a person buys something, he or she agrees on receiving information about the existing promotion. The companies used that email list to share the digital catalog, which is a great way to enhance repeat purchases.

For sure, not every catalog will lead to that outstanding result. Today we will discuss what you have to keep in mind before starting a catalog to reach your goal.

1. What is your goal?

You have probably read different articles that are talking about how important it is to define your goal at the very beginning. Since a catalog is usually a part of the broader marketing campaign, this rule works here as well. 

Are you going to target new customers, or you want to concentrate on repeat purchases? 

Do you want to increase customer loyalty, or is nothing better than a simple increase in sales? 

Do you want your clients’ orders right from the catalog, go to your website, or come to a store? 

Finding answers to these questions, you will form an idea on how to present products, which structure of the catalog should be, and which information included is better to be included.

2. How old is your client?

A couple of months back, I was talking to one of the Catalog Machine clients. He told me that they are interested in the PDF version of the catalog because their clients are mostly older people who prefer to ‘have something in their hands.’ 

It’s not the only outcome you may retrieve out of knowing how old your target audience is. It’s actually a specific field in marketing called generational. Because people from different generations are making buying decisions also differently. 

Baby Boomers:  They are the most loyal customers you can find on the market. Once baby boomer bought something from you a couple of times, be sure he is going to be your customer for long years. So, no need to concentrate on brand loyalty when you create a catalog for them. This generation also likes different kinds of promotions: cashback, upsale, etc. So, be sure you will mention free shipping and mark the lowest prices on the pages of your catalog. 

Generation X: Send your catalog via email.  According to InnoMedia, NuStats, and Vertis, 86% of this generation brings in the mail every day, and 68% have used coupons they received in the mail. They are also very busy. Today the typical representative of generation X is around 40. He/she is working, paying bills, and caring about children. You can imagine how busy they are. So, be sure you include only necessary information in your catalog and be clear with your call to action. 

Millennials: If you want to reach out millennials, go online, preferably on Social Media. Share your catalog on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and be sure you will receive a response. Millennials also appreciate other people’s opinions. It would be nice to include a testimonials section to the catalog or use opinion leaders to promote it. 

Generation Z: These young people care about the world. Mention how socially and environmentally responsible your company is to gain their trust. Millennials are skeptical about old-fashion advertising techniques. So, you should make your offer personalized. To do this, segment them and create a catalog for each of the segments.


3. What do your stakeholders think? 

Before sending your catalog to the target audience, share it with your stakeholders. Ask what does your team members, investors, merchandisers, and in-store experts think. First of all, you will receive valuable feedback. There is always something you might oversee. Secondly, you will show that you value their opinion. A good and loyal team is the core of your business.

4. What is your budget?

The catalog created by a designer, especially for you, is probably the best. At least when we are talking about visually appealing. However, a good designer asks for a good salary. Moreover, you will need a new catalog every time you come up with a new collection. You also don’t want to present products that are out of stock.

On the other hand, preparing that kind of catalog takes lots of time.  Due to one of our clients, their designer was not fast enough to update the catalog every time they received new products.

The excellent option here is the combination of the catalog creating software, such as Catalog Machine, with more professional editing tools, such as InDesign or Photoshop. 

All of the points are necessary for catalog success. So, take a minute and think about your answers to these questions. And after this, create your account at Catalog Machine and start the catalog that will work!

User Experience: Make your Catalog Appealing

 

Catalog marketing is worth all the investment when you can excite and engage your audience. Today we are going to tell you in detail how to make your catalog looks unique, which information should be included and how to present your products most attractively.

1. Your Story is Your Advantage

Thousands of catalogs are circling the online and offline spaces. Your main goal is to stand out. Good news, it’s not that complicated as you might imagine. Most of the existing catalogs look similar and are nothing but the compilation of the products’ information.

The first thing you should do is to start thinking about your catalog as a way to tell your story. All people love stories because a good story involves an emotional connection. Use it to create brand loyalty among the customers. A catalog should be an extension of your brand and should support whatever messages you stand for.

What part of the catalog is mostly responsible for that? Every single one! Every photo and every product description is a chance to transform your values and ideas to the target audience.

Looking through hundreds of catalogs of our clients, we also want to admit the usefulness of the introduction page. This is exactly the place where you can mention what you stand for or shortly describe the history of your company. It works well, especially if you are presenting a family business. Use this as a chance to invite a customer to your world!

2. Keep Your Customers in Mind

 

Talking about your business, don’t forget who is going to read it. No matter how great your values are, if they contradict your customers’ values, no one will be your client. For example, you are selling wooden furniture, and you don’t want to mention deforestation even briefly. However, a point about eco-products in your life will work out well.

Your customers want to read only what they really care about. How will your product impact their lives? Which problems will they solve with their help? The answer should be included in your product description. Remember, people are buying fridges not to keep their meals cold, but prolonging the time before expiration.

3. The Power of the First Impression

It’s a matter of a few seconds, whether your customers are going to like your catalog or not. That is why you should think carefully about your cover page. It’s the first thing your customers will see.

Cover Page

 

How to make a good cover page?

The cover must be aesthetically appealing. Think about everything, colors, fonts, images. Here are a couple of tips from the Catalog Machine designer.

Use Adobe Color to find great color matches. All you need to do is to type in the name of the color you are interested in, look through the proposed colors combination, and select the one that suits you the best. After that, click on the selected palette and copy HEX (ex. #010D00)number of the color. Paste the number into the Catalog Machine color selector.

You have multiple font options at Catalog Machine with different styles. All of them look good, so we would recommend selecting from the offered base to stay safe. If you want to be creative, you can find more fonts at Google Fonts, create an image from the text and insert the image to your cover page.

Be sure you include your logo on the cover page. If you are in B2B (business-to-business) and prepare the catalog for one or a couple of specific clients, insert their logos into the cover page as well. This will make your catalog more personalized, and your customer will appreciate such an individualistic approach.

The content you include to the cover page also matters. Depending on the category, an offer or hook can pique interest, or create a sense of urgency.

Structure your content

Other than the cover page, your catalog should be structured well. Remember that larger catalogs should have a table of contents, folios, or tabs.

We would also strongly recommend you to leave enough white space. Even if you have hundreds of products, don’t put 16 of them on 1 page. It looks a little bit messy and hard to concentrate. The optimate number of products per page for the companies with a huge product base is 9 (3×3 grid).

If you have a lower number of products, the best option for you is to have 1 or 2 items stand out on the page, whereas all other elements as the lending support.

 

Be consistent with the fonts and colors. Select 2 main and 3 supporting colors. The shades also count as different colors. Whereas #0C19CC and #0D18B2 are both dark blue, they look slightly different, so we count them as 2 separate colors.

Same with the font. Use Bold or Italic style to stand out a piece of information, but don’t mix different fonts. Check the fonts of your footer and header. People usually forget about them and leave them with predefined settings.

4. Photos

It’s probably one of the most important parts of each catalog. Why? Images are helpful in two main aspects. They contribute to building brand identity and make navigation through the catalog easier. That is why the best catalogs are highly visual.

Here is some advice on how to make your product images look nice.

Make sure about the lighting and resolution for printing. Most printers recommend 300 dpi for the resolution (the higher, the better). Make photos at studios, because it’s easy to regulate the lightning there.

It might be a good idea to hire a professional photographer, so you will be sure about the images’ quality. Although it might be a little expensive, you will have material not only for the catalog but for future marketing campaigns.

The perfect photography is where the person is interacting with your product!

Don’t put too many products in one photo. It looks unclear to the viewer. The best option is to group images of separate products by category.

Focus on top sellers and position them with products that compliment them rather than items that could replace them.

5. Increase Chances of Sale

 

How?

Clear Ordering System

 

It should be obvious at first glance how to order the product. Since it’s the main purpose you’ve created a catalog. It should be a bright visual sign or a clear statement that’s easy to find what customers should do to order the desired product.

Good for you, if you are using the Catalog Machine all you should do is to enable your customers to order right from the catalog.

Highlight promotions and sales. It’s always nice to hear about free shipping or a discount.

 

 Insert Contact Info

 

Insert your company’s contact info on every single page. Include both phone numbers and email to connect the customer with your salesperson. It’s always a good idea to post your website url.

Summing up

Follow these 5 simple steps to provide your customers with a memorable experience and boost your sales. Your catalog is similar to the logo or a business card, as all of them are creating a business identity, which makes you unique.

Next time before publishing your catalog, make sure it is both functional (easy to read and intuitively designed) and appealing (looks clean and professional).

The Catalog Machine team is happy to offer you a new service. From now you can order your catalog from us, so all you will need to do is to provide us your product information.

Sign up at https://www.catalogmachine.com and message us about your catalog preferences.

 

Inventory Management & Catalogs

Businesses with dynamically changing portfolios require a flexible data management system and a real-time view of inventory. Both of them are essential for your business longevity and survival.

Catalog Machine allows you to create a centralized product catalog for all your needs, from online and PDF product presentation, tiered pricing, backed with the inventory management system. Today we will tell you how efficient inventory management helps to expand your business lifetime.  And how a catalog creation becomes a perfect way to manage your data. 

First things first, all you need to know about inventory management

There are multiple definitions of inventory management, as it varies from a company operation process. Generally, it refers to ordering, storing and using (selling) the company’s assets. Inventory could include finished products or raw materials and components, depending on the business and industry.However, the purpose is similar among all companies. Keep on the loop which products you have on hand, where those products are being sold, and when items are running low. 

Why is it crucial to have the right number of items in your stock?

There are two ways of consequences if you estimate your inventory stock wrong.

  • Shortage.  A shortage of inventory means lower customer satisfaction, lower sales, and lower cash flow. 
  • Abundance. A large inventory carries the risk of spoilage, theft, damage, or shifts in demand. 

If inventory management is not handled properly, it can result in a business either losing money on potential sales that can’t be filled or wasting money by stocking too much inventoryFor this reason, inventory management is vital for a business of any size. 

Are you in retail? 

Inventory management is an essential part of a business in every industry. Meanwhile, if you are operating in the retail industry, inventory management importance starts to play the first fiddle. Just because without inventory, the retail business is useless. 

Catalogs & Inventory management

A catalog combines all the inventory information you want to present or to know: wholesale and resale prices, product variants, description, image, etc. Taking this into account, a catalog could become not only a way to present to your customers up-to-date information and enable them to buy but also an effective data management system.  One of Catalog Machine clients is working in the Art industry. It’s a medium-size retail company that are organizing pictures exhibitions. They told me that they need their catalogs for data management. One catalog is equal to one exhibition. So, they can keep on track in terms of sold out and presented pictures. 

It is just one case of how the catalog could be used for effective inventory management. If you are planning to grow your business or at least stay in the game for a long time, we would recommend you to create a catalog with all your products included. 

Why Catalog Machine for your catalog and inventory management?

Display and manage your products with Catalog Machine. It’s a simple way to manage your inventory. Let me tell you what you can achieve with Catalog Machine.

  • Organize your inventory. Keep all the inventory in one place. Easily create multiple catalogs. Put your products into categories and collections. Have different variants of one product (different colours, sizes, etc.)
  • Become fast and flexible. Import product at one click using integration with Shopify, Etsy, Magneto, eBay, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Zapier. Easily export your inventory. Create a catalog that will be presented on your website and ranked by Google.
  • Facilitate online experience. Create on Online Store and Online Catalogs. Get notified when someone places an order.
  • Scale your business. Capture and consolidate product data across all channels in real-time to serve catalog and inventory data, at scale, all the time.
  • Improve performance and customer satisfaction. Automatically present to your customers only in-stock items. Enable them to order right from the catalog or online store. 

Era of Automation: Catalog Machine integration with Zapier

Do you still believe that product marketing is time-consuming, expensive and hard? Wrong! Welcome to the era of automation!   

Today we will share a way how to do your product online marketing in the most efficient way. 

Connect different parts of your business with one app

Going to a modern online business you will see that there are thousands of apps that will help you to automatize your workflow. Most of them are pretty useful, but you will simply have a lack of time to use all of them. 

That’s where Zapier comes up. Zapier is an online platform that connects 2000+ web apps with each other. So, you can automate a business workflow quickly and easily. Due to the efficiency that Zapier allows you to achieve, Evernote included it into the top 10 apps in 2018. 

We can bet that you’ve already heard about Zapier and it’s powerfulness. However, the secret of it is deeply connected to another app. Today we want to show you what you can achieve with a combination of Zapier and Catalog Machine.

Catalog Machine Integration with Zapier 

Catalog Machine is a necessary tool when it comes to presenting products to your clients: creating online or PDF catalogs, building your online store and even managing inventory (product stock). As we have already discussed, this is one of the first steps you should take. As it doesn’t matter how good your product is, unless no one sees it, no one buys it. 

The Catalog Machine integration with Zapier allows you not just to present and sell your product but save a lot of time. You can use this time to focus on more important things and grow your business. 

Zapier connects Catalog Machine with thousands of other apps. Google Sheets, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Gmail, Shopify and Slack are just some of them. Let’s see what you can get them in practice. 

Google Sheets, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox 

Uploading products and managing product database is probably the most time-consuming business process. Simultaneously it’s essential to run the business properly. It gets worth when you have to update your product database across several platforms (ex. Company’s document system, website, social media etc.).

Now imagine how great it would be if you change a single row in Google Sheets, and the product information will be updated automatically at other platforms. Good news! Zapier allows you to do exactly this. 

You can update products, catalogs, online store in Catalog Machine from updates rows in Google Sheets or Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox CSV files. In addition, you may receive a record at Google Sheets once you receive a new order. Convenient, isn’t it?

Gmail  

Don’t want to check the platform every other minute to check if someone has made an order? Easy! Use integration with Gmail to receive an email once your customer submitted an order form. 

Shopify  

Lots of businesses have accounts and product databases on Shopify. However, like any other platform it has, it’s limitations. For example, during the conversation with Catalog Machine customers, he confessed that Catalog Machine allows him to create tiered pricing and target retailers and wholesalers at the same time. 

It would be a pity after updating your product database, start it from the very beginning at the other platform. That’s why Zapier connects Catalog Machine to Shopify, to transfer your data at one click.

All of this is just a small part of what you can achieve as a business using Catalog Machine integration with Zapier. 

Are you excited to start? Sign Up to a Catalog Machine. And follow this link to find out how to connect your Catalog Machine app with Zapier. 

  

 

    

  

          

 

How to keep your business profitable during the COVID-19?

A lot of businesses were negatively impacted because of the coronavirus. However, some of the business owners were creative enough and could make a profit even at this challenging time. Today we are going to tell you the possible strategy to cope with a pandemic. Moreover, we will discuss a real company example that is staying profitable even during this challenging time.

Going Online

McKinsey & Company said ‘The battle against COVID-19 is one that leaders today must win if we are to find an economically and socially viable path to the next normal’. We are offering you not to wait until this battle will be won by the leader, but rather won it by yourself and become a leader eventually.

Due to the self-isolation policy all over the world, the online world receives first priority compared to the physical one. This is why moving a business online today is a necessity, if the manager wants a company to continue to operate.

We believe that is a force for better because going online benefits businesses in various ways. Here is a list what will be improved, if you move your business online:

  • Increase sales
  • Improve external communication
  • Improve companies’ image
  • Higher employee’s productivity
  • Speed up processing
  • Enhance and efficient service
  • Attract new customers

Generally speaking, a business will improve its competitive position.

Majectic Meat Case

However, going online does not mean the creation of the website, it’s a more complex process, that involves an online ordering system, social media, etc. Let us tell you a story about Majectic Meat Co.

Being a meat supplier to Utah’s local restaurants, the company lost most of the clients as the restaurants got closed one by one. Moreover, they had a lot of product surplus that was going to spoil very soon. It means not only no profit but also huge losses. The company’s management was limited in time to come up with a decision. So, they did what has never been done in the company before. Majectic Meat Co started selling meat directly to the community by adding an online ordering system to their website. As a community was happy to show support to a local business, this single move saved the company.

Mike Marsh firstly told this story. We found this case a perfect example for all small business owners, who are unable to sell their products because of the shut-down policy. However, to embed an online ordering system, Majectic Meat Co asked a local IT expert. Furthermore, we can bet that in the foreseeable future, they will ask the expert for another favour or even hire him because this kind of system requires permanent support.

Good news, we want to become that expert for you! With Catalog Machine you can update all the product base at once, integrate online ordering system into an existing website or use it separately, create tiered pricing, and a lot more!

Check the video on how you can start receiving orders online and selling directly from home in this video.

Top 5 factors that stop a small business from selling more

Are you trying different methods to increase sales, but nothing works well enough?

Have you tried Digital Marketing? Have you made the most out of your capacity? Sure?

We will show you what stops the small companies from using Digital Marketing to its fullest extent.

Top 5 barriers

Taimnen Heinin and Karjaluoto Heikki* proved that small companies are struggling when it comes to digital marketing channels usage. We are talking about a website, emails, social media and blog. You, as a small business owner, risk not derive benefits from the opportunities. The first step to overcome this is to become aware of the barriers that stop you. Not other words explore the list.

 

  1. You

Yes, you are the first and main factor that might stop a company from selling. Sorry for being too straightforward; we did not mean to heart your feelings. What is the result of your background, motivation, capabilities and experience?  It is the stop or stimulation of the effective usage of digital marketing channels. Scientifically this factor belongs to a group called “firm-specific and owner-manager factors.”

Heinin and Heikki* talked to 16 small business managers. Some of the interviewees had prejudices about the usage of social media. As you already guessed, it provokes nothing good for a company. Usually, this kind of attitude towards social media was the result of unfamiliarity with different channels and how they work.

The moral of the story increase your digital intelligence. Good news, we are here exactly for this purpose. Keep reading this blog to overcome the ‘You’ barrier.

Let me tell you a story about how overcoming a “you” barrier bring a start-up to success. A few years ago one passioned about tourism girl decided to create a business based on her hobby. ‘Challenging holiday” had a unique business model, they offer a combination of holiday tour with business lectures and extreme experience. Sound fun? You can imagine how many thousands of dollars a girl invested to arrange the first tour… and almost failed. The lack of Social Media knowledge didn’t let her target the right audience. In a week before the trip was supposed to start, she decided to use opinion leaders as a way to promote her business. In couple of days, all trip spots were sold out! This is an example of how crucial the experience and knowledge of business owners is for small business success.

  1. People around you

Here were are talking only about coworkers. In a big company, the lack of knowledge or experience of one employee mitigates by another one. In a small company, there is always a lack of human resources.

What to do? Invest in your people. To grow the business, you should start playing in a long game. Shift a focus from the sales into increasing digital awareness among your employees.

The importance of people around you was nicely described by David Ogilvy in ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man.’ “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

  1. Goal…

… and the way it should be achieved. Due to the research* small companies are focusing primarily on the website, SEO (search engine optimization) and social media. What’s out of focus? Blogging!

Blogging is a two-way communication process, as well as social media. But, compared to the last one, blogging retains more control. The two-way communication channels allow you to engage the customers and create brand awareness.

There is a tricky part here. People are having fun at social media and expect the story to be told. No direct sales! Social media should be perceived as a tool to start a dialogue with the customer and create value for them.

Want to be straightforward and sail right away? One-way communication channels are here for you. Your website, SEO and SEA (search engine advertising) and the emails are an excellent way to sell. You may achieve a better ‘right now’ result, but what’s about the future?

  1. Competitors

They are always here. Especially if your competitors are bigger companies. They might dictate what is necessary at the market to survive. We can be sure of the first rule. Digital existence. If a company cannot be found in Google, it does not exist.

The way you exist (which digital channels are you using) is up to you. You may research your competitors and use the same channels as they are to stay at the same level. The other way is to find your niche, a channel that is not taken or not that popular.

For example, AirBnB is a substitute for traditional hospitality. So, if you are thinking about opening a hotel, you should take into account the prices offered by  AirBnB. Especially if you are not offering luxury class services.

  1. Resources

We’ve already talked about the importance of a human resource, but there is a list of other resources that can’t be overlooked. It is money, time, technology. Each of them is a potential barrier for a small company that holds it away from the bright digital future.

The lack of resources is a common characteristic among all small-size businesses. How to win? Be more efficient than others. We’ve already described one of the possible ways to achieve it here.

 

Now you know what might stop your business from success. Moreover, you know some options on how to overcome these barriers. Forewarned is forearmed!

Be skeptical of yourself as a business owner. Around yourself with people you admire. Keep your competitors and modern trends under the radar.  Use your resources wisely.  Doing all of this will allow to set up realistic goals and grow. Start with yourself. Spend a couple of hours today to think which areas are needed to be improved. Search various education online resources and online platforms to select the most suitable way for you to become a better businessmen/women.  The barriers are needed not to stop you, but to make your way more interesting!

 

* Taimnen, H and Karjaluoto, H, (2015), The usage of digital marketing channels in SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 22 (4), 633-651. doi:10.1108/JSBED-05-2013-0073

Digital technology. A new way to beat your competitors

Are you the owner of a small company? We know how to beat your competitors online. So, you can improve your digital marketing strategy and grow your business. The answer was given by a group of scientists P. Foroudi, S. Gupta, A. Nazarian and M. Duda in their article “Digital technology and marketing management capability: achieving growth in SMEs”. Long story short, digital technology increases your marketing capacity. Whereas the last one makes it easier to grow. 

Have you ever look at digital technology as a way to expand your business and beat the competition?   Every company, including your competitors, use a business model. To diversify you from the competitors, you should create a unique business model. The most efficient way is to build digital technology in the heart of your business model.

How to find digital technology that will allow you to win?

First of all, going online or using any digital platform is not your (a business owner) choice. Or, it may be better to say, you weren’t the first one. The first was your customer with his or her needs and wishes. Now it’s your move. Go where your customers are and sell. Digital technology will help you to increase sales and decrease costs.

Secondly, you are not the only one who is ready to respond. All businesses have direct and indirect competitors. For example, you own an Italian restaurant. A Chinese restaurant across the street is your direct competitor. Whereas a food market two blocks away is an indirect one. All three of you satisfying the same customer need – hunger, but in a different way. To stay successful, you should identify your direct and indirect competitors. Pay attention to the business models they use to operate and identify the gap. This is your niche and a chance to get a competitive advantage.  

If you can’t find any gap in the current market, innovate. In a fast-changing business world innovation is the most sustainable business advantage. The term innovation can be scary because it usually associates with uncertainty. To create competitiveness you should not risk it all. The implementation of digital technology in a new way can be considered an innovation.

What digital technology is the sweet spot? 

To sell your product you should at least show it to your customer. At most you should present t in the most attractive way. To do that you have to maintain a team of a photographer, a designer and a marketing specialist.  Another way is to waste all of your time to handle it by yourself. Now multiply it by the number of products you have. The first option is costly, the second one is time-consuming. Digital catalog is a digital technology that allows us to save both time and money, and still present your product in a way the customers will like. This is how you can gain a competitive advantage and a chance to grow your business with the use of innovation.     

How does it work in real life? 

Our customer research clearly shows how using a digital catalog increase small company efficiency, saving time and money. We will discuss 3 different cases further. 

Time efficiency

First, the owner of the clothing store struggled with maintaining several digital platforms (such as website and social media) manually. Uploading the same picture of the products to different places took him too much time. Whereas the was no way not to do this because product based were updated super fast. For him, the creation of a digital catalog and simply share it across all the platforms become a solution to save lots of time. 

Cost efficiency 

Second, the company has already relied on the creation of catalogs, however, they were using printed versions. Due to the owner “it’s way too expansive and it’s not that efficient”.  There were two reasons: printing costs and too high and you can’t reach that many customers in person compared to the online world. A shift towards digital catalogs let him save a lot of money. It should be mentioned that for the special clients he is still using a PDF version of the digital catalog and print them out.  

Time & Cost efficiency 

The last example is the small company that relied on the designer. There were three major problems here: the designer couldn’t finish the catalog as fast as it was required by the market, it was impossible to change one product (if it’s out of stock, etc.), and a good designer asks for a good salary. So switching to a digital catalog allowed them to save both time and money. 

There are many more examples of how using the online catalog helped our companies to change their business model for better, save scarce resources and beat their competitors.