Think about how saturated the online market is with companies selling products. Good real estate in search results is at a premium and differentiating your business from competitors is challenging, to say the least.
Now think about the volume of print catalogs in comparison to their online version. Consumers are not overwhelmed by a flood of catalogs every time they get the mail. And interestingly enough, since millennials are heavily influenced by visual elements and their brain perceives printed pieces as being more genuine, companies that distribute print catalogs are in an ideal position to harness millennials’ considerable spending power.
As a result:
- 70% of consumers say that a high-quality catalog motivates online purchases and a longer time spent on the brand’s website.
- 86% of people who receive catalogs tend to display it on a shelf or coffee table.
- E-commerce companies that incorporate digital and print catalogs into their marketing strategy see 50% more purchases over time.
But how do you successfully transform your digital catalog to a print version that generates sales both online and offline?
Create The Structure
When it comes to creating a print catalog, basic product pages, content indexes and the front and back cover are necessary pieces of all catalogs. Other elements that are not technically essential, but still offer a great deal of value, include:
- Table of contents
- Product pages that include descriptions
- Section separators
- Thumb index
- A section for paid advertising
Once you decide which of these pieces will help sell your products and build brand loyalty, it is vital to place them in the order that will highlight your products in the most beneficial way and make the catalog easy and enjoyable for customers to digest.
Also, make sure the printed catalog structure reflects the digital linking structure of your website. You will basically create a printed breadcrumb path directly to what they're viewing offline to online, and vice versa from digital to print. Don't make them struggle to buy something, it should be a seamless experience which ever way they choose to finally make that purchase.
Make Product Descriptions Compelling
The expression, “A picture speaks a thousand words,” does not necessarily apply when it comes to your printed catalog. While the pictures within should absolutely be high in resolution and show off the product's best light, customers need to know exactly what the product does.
Make sure that you always include the following details in each product description:
- Product name
- SKU codes or item reference/number
- Product features
- Product category/subcategory
- Item description
- Price ranges if it is available in individual or bulk quantities
If you are scratching your head over where to get some of this information, you can rest easy. You can find it on your website, on ERP systems or internal databases, or in the previous version of the catalog if one exists. That said, it is imperative to carefully review and verify the accuracy of this information to ensure it is correct and updated.
Use High-Quality Images
The vast majority of your customers are visually motivated, meaning that imagery makes a major influence on their purchasing decisions. The quality of every image used should be high, with a minimum DPI (dots per inch) image resolution of 300, to ensure they print clearly on the paper stock. The images you used in your digital catalog or website will be too low because they are probably more around 72 DPI.
A 1/8" bleed area and a 1/4" quiet area are also essential, in order to prevent images that run off the page from getting cut off during the printing process.
While the resolution of images is critical, it will do little to no good if the photograph used is out of focus, poorly lit or positioned in a way that does not highlight the product’s features. Make sure that every single photograph clearly depicts the product.
Come Up With The Layout
Once you have decided which images, product information, and elements to include in your catalog, it is time to focus on the layout. Graphic designers and marketing experts play a huge role in this step because they have the expertise to know how to layout and organize your page content best. Also taking into account the catalog as a whole for consistency and to strategize the buyer's journey and sales funnel.
When planning the layout, you need to think about the number of pages it will include. Striking a balance between not overwhelming customers with too many pages and adding enough pages to give them a sufficient amount of information is critical.
Don't forget, you can't just add one page to a print catalog. When you add one page for print, it is actually 4 pages. Think about it, take a piece of paper and fold it in half. The fold itself is how the catalog with be bonded together so it splits the paper into two pages. Now, flip the paper over and there is another two pages on the other side.
It is fairly obvious that creating the first edition of a catalog will require significantly more time of the designer than a redesign of a catalog. This time investment should be factored into the budget for the project.
Integrate The Print Catalog Into Your Online Marketing Plan
In addition to standing on their own, offline catalogs are an excellent way to drive sales online. Executing this endeavor successfully is easier when you include AR or QR codes alongside product descriptions in the print version. Doing so allows customers to scan the page and conveniently place an order via their mobile device.
The easier and more seamless you make the buying process, the more likely customers are to purchase - not just once or twice, but many times.
Backed by about 20 years of experience designing catalogs with roots in graphic design, the Tag Marketing team has the skills and knowledge to optimize the power and reach of your print catalog. We will ensure it achieves the goals you set for the print version itself and motivates customers to make purchases online, as well.