What’s Your Merchandising Vision
6. Focus on covers. Says Plotnick-Snay, “We only have, on average, 1.6 seconds to get a catalog recipient to open our catalog, so the cover had better be appealing and compelling.”
Tennis adds, “We want our cover to effectively represent the product line as a whole.”
7. Observe the standard pitfalls. “I’ve found few catalogers can afford to repeat more than a third of their products per catalog,” says Howard. “Traditionally, you need at least 50-percent new products in order to go back to the same universe of names the next season and expect similar response rates,” he adds.
According to Howard, “All too few catalogers get it. They continue to repeat losers, and it’s a debilitating and costly mistake.”
8. Deliver what you promise. Says Cary Tennis, “Our goal is to give customers care that’s equal both to the high quality of our merchandise and the high expectations of our sophisticated buyers. We think it’s as important for customers to have a positive customer-service experience as it is for them to receive high-quality merchandise. And that’s an ongoing challenge for us as many of our pieces are drop-shipped directly from the manufacturer.”
9. Use graphic aids to help the reader shop. Gooseberry Patch uses a lot of call-outs on its catalog pages for this purpose. “A big yellow gold star, for instance, is used to help point out items specially selected by Jo Ann and Vickie,” says Plotnick-Snay.
10. Present your products in unexpected ways that play to your brand’s personality. “Customers are bored, tired and pressed for time. Wake them up visually,” says Syverson. When you’re thinking of new designs, ask yourself: What’s your brand personality? Take a look through your catalog: Is your brand personality evident in your products and on the catalog’s pages? If not, you’ve got something to work on.