5 minute read

Print catalogs HAVE NOT lost their sales-generating power in 2020, as evidenced by these statistics from Xerox:

  • 57% of consumers prefer printed catalogs over digital catalogs.
  • 69% of consumers consult a printed catalog before making an online purchase.
  • Catalogs influence an average of 2.5 purchases.
  • More than 77% of recipients visit a retail store due to a catalog promotion.

This notion may seem far fetched, but not all customers shop online or even spend a lot of time online. These customers can fall through the cracks for companies that do not have a catalog. Furthermore, a print catalog is tactile and human beings are influenced by their five senses, including the sense of touch. Looking at products online cannot replace the tactile experience of thumbing through a print catalog.

Catalogs also expand your marketing reach beyond your website. Using a multi-channel approach greatly improves your chances of gaining new customers and luring existing customers back again and again.

Multiple channels related to catalogs include:

  • Printed catalog (offline) – made of paper
  • Digital catalog (online) – convert the PDF used for printing into a flipbook
  • Website catalog (online) – such as your eCommerce site or social media platform

While the merits of print catalogs are obvious, they must go the distance in order to compete against online content. In order to do so, your catalog must provide valuable product information and seamless experiences offline to online and vice versa.

So, what are the processes and pieces you absolutely need to ensure your catalog drives sales?


Obtain Insight From Stakeholders

Before your business gets ahead of itself in producing a catalog, you need to get buy-in from key decision-makers at your company. You should involve them at every stage in order to avoid backpedaling that can blow your budget and your projected completion date.

Including the sales team is also vital. These are the people who interact with your customers on a daily basis. Sales associates know your customers’ pain points as well as what their reaction has been to your products or services.

Ask the following questions of stakeholders during the planning process, it’s extremely helpful!

  • What is the primary goal of this particular catalog?
  • How will we measure the success of the catalog?
  • Who is our target audience for this catalog?
  • What kind of feedback have our customers provided to us in the past that we can leverage for this project?
  • What is the budget we are allocating to this catalog?
  • What is the timeline for this project?
  • Are there geographic considerations or is this catalog going to be distributed nationally?
  • Have any of our competitors had great success with catalogs that we can analyze?


Structure The Catalog Thoughtfully

When it comes to the order and structure of your catalog, you need to do much more than throw images and copy together. It should be structured in a way that leads the audience through your products and offerings to motivate them to go online and make that purchase.

Your most popular or newest products should appear first. A significant number of people stop paging through a catalog after so many pages due to lack of time or waning interest. So, the products that perform best or the services you want to highlight for other reasons should always appear at the beginning of your catalog.

Here is a basic structure for catalogs:

  • Front cover
  • Introductory pages
  • Table of contents
  • Chapter separators
  • Buy pages and advertising
  • Back cover


Make It Fast And Easy To Purchase

You should make it as quick and easy as possible for them to find what they’re looking at offline, online.

Some methods of accomplishing this are:

  • QR codes – They scan the unique graphic/barcode on their phone and be brought directly to that page online such as a product page or collection/category page. Or they can even buy that item directly from the catalog using the QR code scanner app.
  • Image recognition apps – No need for bulky QR codes that take up space, just use your camera within an app and it will pull up all sorts of information about that product, you can watch videos, even make a purchase it directly from the catalog.
  • Put your website URL on every single page
  • Have all your contact info on the back cover – let them contact you in a way that is most convenient for them including phone, email, and even address if you have a physical storefront.
  • Make sure your catalog structure reflects your website linking structure.


Stick To A Simple Layout

While aesthetics certainly play a part, functionality rules when it comes to the layout of your catalog. This goes for both your online catalogs and your offline catalog. And the simpler the layout is, the more functional and convenient it is for customers. An excessive amount of typefaces and images can overwhelm customers, while a simple design is easy on the brain and eyes.

This is important because, at a very basic level, your catalog must be easy for customers to view and read. Any formatting that makes it difficult to do either – for example, small text on a dark background – should be avoided. Utilizing white space in a smart way is also important for this reason.

And appealing to customers in every way possible is your top priority. If they get turned off and toss the catalog aside, your time and financial investment is futile.


Create It And They Will Come

A catalog that is properly planned and skillfully produced can be a powerful driving force behind both your online and offline sales. Remember these points when creating it:

  • Get buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Keep your ideal customer in mind
  • Product placement is imperative
  • Use white space thoughtfully
  • Make your product descriptions informative
  • Online and offline should be a seamless experience
  • Don’t make it difficult to find and buy

Print catalogs are an excellent tool for driving online and offline sales. That said, you need a team with ample experience and advanced design and marketing skills to execute them. Tag Marketing has been creating catalogs and websites for about 20 years.

When you let us design your catalog, you can rest assured it will produce a return on your investment.