How Great Catalog Design Boosts Sales

How Great Catalog Design Boosts Sales

Why Catalogs?

P.T. Barnum said it best: “Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!”

In other words, it’s not enough for a manufacturer to produce superior products, a distributor to offer a diverse range of products or a retailer to stock them. Or for a medical or healthcare facility to provide excellent treatment and therapy. If nobody knows a business exists, customers and patients will turn instead to a competitor that’s done a better job of communicating their products and the benefits from them.

Fortunately, there are measures any business can take to raise its public profile, and one of the most important is via its catalog. A business’s catalog presents a list of the products or services offered accompanied by descriptions, prices, and other information such as pictures or links.

Catalogs date all the way back to 1498 when publisher Aldus Manutius of Venice produced a list of the books he was printing. Tiffany’s produced Tiffany’s Blue Book, the first American mail-order catalog, in 1840, and other companies like Montgomery Ward were soon to follow.

Catalogs are effective because they carry a company’s message to a large audience inexpensively. In fact, in our era of the Internet and social media, they can be less expensive than ever. And today the overwhelming majority of businesses provide them online even though many still distribute hard copies as well.

Catalogs are also effective because they reach potential customers or patients wherever they are. People don’t have to visit some brick-and-mortar location to find out what your business has to offer.

Moreover, in many instances, catalogs provide the convenience of handling the whole shopping experience remotely. People can order what they want, pay for it, and have it delivered to their doors. It’s fast and often cheaper.

The catch is that today, pretty much every business has a catalog. That means it’s not enough for you just to have one, too. You need a good one. If it’s not, customers won’t bother trying to use it despite its inadequacies. They’ll consult some competitor’s superior catalog.

What Makes an Effective Catalog?

New catalogs should come out yearly or even several times a year. The new catalog doesn’t have to showcase every product on a business’s website or on its shelves, especially if there are a lot. It should showcase new offerings, so naturally, a good time to distribute one is when new products are coming out. For many businesses, the changing of the seasons is a good time, too.

The catalog should showcase deals and promotions. These motivate customers but will do no good if nobody notices them.

Nothing drives sales better than great photography. Combine compelling images with brief but informative text. Since you want striking images, you don’t want stock photos. You want original photos of your products. You want close-up photos of the product by itself, but it also adds impact to show it in context. You might, for example, want to show builders working with the power tools you’re selling.

Take A Look At Some Sample Spreads