Designing A Great Retail Sales Catalog
There was a time when thick, glossy retail sales catalogs were a regular part of mail delivery to American households. The most iconic of these, the Sears Roebuck and Co. catalog, offered everything from clothing to appliances to prefab homes.
Today, thanks to cutting-edge technology and the rise of the Internet, online marketing has replaced catalog sales. Or has it? Retailers have discovered a synergy between online and catalog sales, with nearly 50 percent of consumers browsing catalogs before making a website purchase. In fact, popular e-commerce sites like One Kings Lane and Birchbox are turning to print catalogs as a way of increasing their reach and bringing in new customers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the average catalog costs less than $1 to print and generates $4 in sales. With that type of return, it pays to put in the effort to design an attractive and effective retail sales catalog using these helpful tips.
The cover should show, not tell
Obviously, the cover is what grabs a customer’s attention and makes them want to read more. Instead of a simple display of your product, the cover should include an image that appeals to a certain lifestyle. For example, if you sell sunglasses, customers will identify with a picture of people wearing them while having fun around a pool or at the beach.
Give your top-selling items the most space
Catalog items that receive the most “real estate” in a catalog typically produce the greatest number of sales, so feature products that generate the most overall profit as opposed to the highest margin products. Resist the urge to try and spur sales of lesser-performing items by giving them prominent placement. You’ll realize more return with a modest increase on a top-selling item than with a large increase on a poor-selling item.
Note the best-selling items
People like to have their choices validated by knowing that others share their taste. Tag items with a simple icon that indicates your best-selling products.
Stay consistent with your brand
Don’t feel you have to reinvent the wheel with each issue. Consistency is a hallmark of the best brands. When you maintain a basic style, customers will come to recognize your look and associate it with your brand.
Use top-quality, high-resolution photos
Low-resolution photos have a grainy quality that is less than flattering to the products. Use high-resolution photos with 300 dpi (dots per inch) for crisp, sharp pictures that provide a detailed view.
Give the customer enough information to make a buying decision
The best pictures in the world aren’t enough to generate sales on their own. Compose direct, easy-to-read copy blocks beginning with the benefits, followed by specs such as color and size, and ending with SKU number and price. Use a simple font that is easy on the eyes.
Make it easy to purchase
If a customer has to search throughout your catalog for the ordering channels, you are likely to lose the sale. Do you take orders by phone, on your website, or both? Feature that information in several places so it’s readily available once the buying decision has been triggered.
Create a sense of urgency
Incorporate time-sensitive offers that will encourage readers to place an immediate order. Offer free shipping for a certain time period or start a loyalty program that will generate repeat sales.
Integrate hard copy and digital
Customers like to browse catalogs and make the actual purchase online. Make sure you have a digital catalog that corresponds with the physical catalog.
Include tracking tools
Ease of tracking is one of the main benefits of catalog sales. Create some simple codes that measure sales data by catalog mail date, specific promotions, or any other metrics you choose.
Don’t turn out a catalog that ends up in the recycling bin. Design a vibrant, informative catalog that customers will enjoy reading. Consult your printer or print reseller for more suggestions on catalog design that converts readers to customers.