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.

 

The Elements of a Product Catalog: Table of Contents, Contact Info, and Your Story

How do i make it easier to navigate my catalog? Will my customers be able to reach out to me? Does it matter what my business is all about? This catalog digest helps you with all that and more.

Table of Contents

It’s important for whoever is viewing your catalog to be able to easily navigate it and not spend too much time looking for what they need. A table of contents with page numbers and product names can make the shopping experience for the customer much more enjoyable and stress free.

Featuring Images from: Brumleve Industries Wholesale Pricing Catalog

Not only is having a TOC a great way to make a shopping experience smoother, it may help the maker of it as well. If in the future you wish to edit your catalog and add certain products or remove them, the table of contents you made will help you do all this faster. Also having a Table of Contents may also show that you are more professional to the people viewing your product offering.

“Implementing Shopify and having Catalog Machine integrate with it has been a life saver in getting our products, descriptions, and prices automatically imported. We will be distributing our catalog to our wholesale customers. They will now have a color catalog with a much better layout of product, images, and prices”. -Michael Brumleve, Brumleve Industries

Business contact info

Your customers, whether it’s a single individual or a store you are supplying, need to have easy access to your contact info. Make sure to include it either on the first few pages of your catalog or potentially at the end.

Featuring Images from:  Seattle Pump and Equipment Vac-Tools & Accessories Catalog

 

“I found Catalog Machine through the Shopify App Store and immediately began working on our company industrial tools catalog. 2 weeks later I had an extensive 179 page tools catalog filled with hundreds of products that my sales team and customers could use immediately. Something I was dreading became a fairly simple and enjoyable process thanks to Andriy and Catalog Machine!!”- Cole Childers, Seattle Pump & Equipment co.

Tell your story

One of the pages from your catalog can show your vision, how your business started off and what it is that inspires you and everyone involved to keep going with it. You shouldn’t be afraid to self promote.

Featuring Images from:  V’Enza Creations LLC Wholesale Catalog 2018

“I use the catalogs as 3 different options at the moment. I have LOVED having these, they allow me to change things if needed and I have viable information I can instantly send to potential clients!”- Sheila Vaske, V’Enza Creations LLC

Effective storytelling will get the customer engaged. And since you’re marketing your product and business with the catalog anyways, you shouldn’t hesitate to let the customer know a bit more about who they are buying from.

 

For the full galleries featured here you can visit the links below:

https://www.catalogmachine.com/brumleve-industries/catalogs/wholesale-pricing-catalog.html

https://www.catalogmachine.com/seattle-pump-and-equipment/catalogs/seattle-pump-and-equipment-catalog.html

https://www.catalogmachine.com/venza-creations-llc/catalogs/venza-creations-fall-2017.html