A Redesign Revitalizes Alsto's
By Noelle Buoncristiano
Problem: Alsto's wanted to change the focus of its catalog to more effectively display its products and increase sales.
Solution: It hired a creative agency to redesign the catalog.
Results: The sales increase has been in the double digits; average order value is up more than 10 percent; and returns have been reduced.
Until 2000, Alsto's catalog was regarded as a "handy helper," comprised of practical tools and directed mainly toward men. Over the years, various agencies tried their hands at producing the catalog for Alsto's.
But consumer interest wasn't growing, so Richard Jacobsohn, managing consultant at Alsto's, along with others at the catalog company, made some changes. They began by adding items to the product line to get a more varied customer base. And they turned to Ambrosi, a Chicago-based integrated marketing agency, to redesign the current catalog.
Ambrosi revised the cataloger's logo, which a prior agency had completely changed. Says Jack Gniadecki, Ambrosi's creative director, "We went back to the original logo and enhanced it, choosing a similar font but with a more contemporary sensitivity to kerning and sizing."
Previously, Alsto's had only occasionally used its tagline "Real values for real life. Since 1958." But Ambrosi made it a permanent fixture of the redesigned catalog.
Alsto's also wanted to make the catalog more inviting and easier to read, so the redesign included clearer copy and better product presentation. For example, copy was written to be more active and benefit-driven. And if a photo didn't capture a product's features and benefits, then callouts or similar designs were employed. Says Jacobsohn, "[Callouts are] not always pretty, but we're into selling and being as straightforward as absolutely possible." Interestingly, this approach also resulted in reduced returns, Jacobsohn notes.
Finally, the cataloger wanted to communicate its pledge of quality merchandise at reasonable costs. "We wanted to show that we're as concerned about pricing as our customers are," Jacobsohn says. Alsto's now displays the cover product along with its price in most issues.