Catalogue production can be separated into two specific areas. These are consumer and business to business markets. Business to business catalogues need to be more directory based, so customers can make straight forward comparisons between products.
The catalogue design for a business-to-business catalogue needs to be more functional. In most cases a customer browsing a catalogue of products for a business market will already have an idea of what they are looking for. Therefore, it is important to make it as simple as possible for them to get to what they are looking for, with functional page layouts.
Catalogue design to consumer markets, on the other hand, needs to be more creative. In this case, we generally find that consumers receive a catalogue and browse through at their leisure without initially intending on purchasing anything. We are therefore aiming to make the customer make an impulse purchase. To do this we need to tempt them, which is where intelligent, market focused catalogue design comes in.
Mass market catalogues are those that sell products two a very wide population of people, whereas a niche market catalogue is targeted at people with specific interests or fit into a specific demographic.
Producing a catalogue for a mass market can be expensive. The catalogue design and catalogue production process up to printing is quite similar, however, because you are targeting a very large population of people you will need to print your catalogues in large numbers. This can be tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions. This clearly is a very large investment. The conversion rate in percentage terms will possibly be small, but because you are producing in very large numbers the overall response can make the process worthwhile. With recent increases in commodity prices, paper, printing, and distribution these mass market catalogues into consumer markets have decreased. This, however, reduces the competition amongst catalogue producers and you would therefore hope for a higher response.
Catalogue production into niche markets can be an excellent way of generating business for your enterprise. These niche markets are far easier to target. Also, the catalogue recipient will be interested in the products that are within the catalogue. These niche markets may be something that you can segment buy a customer’s hobby, age, or a specific requirement that they have.
Over time an organisation can build up a very comprehensive database of customers that are specifically interested in or have a requirement for their products. This makes future marketing communications simple and very cost effective. Their customers get to know the catalogue and their product and look forward to receiving it. Today, everything is available on the Internet via a website, but companies can stand out from the digitally saturated world with a catalogue. This gives them a big advantage over their competitors. The aim of all these catalogues is still to drive customers to the website, but this is an excellent marketing tool to achieve this.
All professional companies have a brand identity, this forms the basis of the catalogue design process. When consumers receive a catalogue, they are far more likely to purchase from a company they know and trust. It is, however, possible they will be receiving a catalogue from an organisation for the first time, this therefore, is an opportunity to begin the brand building process. Working with the organisations brand identity, the catalogue design can begin.
Having established the organisations brand identity and the look and feel of all their customer facing material, the catalogue design can be created.
An eye-catching cover is the first step in tempting the customer to open the catalogue. For companies that sell high value luxury products it maybe they want to set the tone for the catalogue with a single lifestyle image. On the other hand, for organisations selling lower value products, they want to get the cover working harder and sell products, highlight special offers with images of numerous items.
Companies that do not manufacture their own products will generally speak to the companies who supply them, these organisations will generally have product photos available.
This can save a great deal of money and if they are a large and reputable brand the photography will generally be of a very high quality. If, on the other hand, you do not have product images available you will need to organise photography. With today’s cost-effective digital photography this can be done in house, if the products are not high value. If the products are high value and photography is not available it would probably be advisable to use a professional photographer, although this can be expensive.
Product Focused Catalogue Design
When establishing the best approach for the catalogue design of the internal pages, consideration needs to be given to the target market. If the catalogue contains ladies fashion items, for example, each page should be designed individually and based around the photography. The aim here is to let the picture do the talking, along with whatever essential information is required.
If the catalogue contains products that are more functional, and not bought on their appearance, a more directory style catalogue design maybe preferred. This would show the product images in boxes and can be based around templates displaying one up, two up, four up etc. The key to this kind of catalogue design is to allow the customer to simply view the products and give them all the information they require in a visible and straightforward manner. The text that accompanies the products also wants to be displayed in a way the allows the recipient to have all their questions answered and then go on to make a purchase.
Catalogue Design Techniques
When creating catalogue designs there are several proven techniques that can improve response rates and order values. The key to this is retaining the customers attention and ensuring they do not suffer from what is called eye fatigue.
In summary the aim for catalogue designers in the consumer market is to understand their customers. Creating page designs that meet the customers’ needs and give them all the information they require in an attractive and convenient manner Leads the design process. If this is done correctly catalogues see an increase in their success.
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