Here’s a breakthrough idea for enhancing your Web site to make it perform more effectively: Apply the catalog rules you already know!
After all, catalogs are a visual medium and so is the Web. When you’re selling products, the product picture and other graphic elements are kings. Though good catalogers already know the key rules of catalog design and merchandising, for some reason these rules are not being applied consistently to even the best Web sites. Let’s focus on a few of the key catalog rules you should be applying to your e-commerce site.
Maximize Your Hot Spots. We know that a print catalog has several hot spots in which we place our best-selling (in units or dollars), highest-margin, or most brand appropriate/brand enhancing items. The hot spots, of course, are the front and back covers, front and back inside spreads and the pages around the order form or any other bind-in card.
Likewise, your Web sites have hot spots that need to be leveraged with your best-selling items, brand positioning statements, unique selling proposition statements, offers, and similar items that you feature in your catalog.
These hot spots will be:
• the site’s home page or other landing pages (common points of entry for visitors to your Web site),
• the second page shown after the first click,
• category opening pages, search results pages,
• and the checkout page.
These are areas of your site that are most often viewed and therefore should be leveraged. With the right online reporting tools and careful analysis, you may find other pages that also have high viewership and deserve special layout attention.
Create Great Covers/Landing Pages. We know that the catalog cover is of the utmost importance in getting people inside the book (or at least not to pitch it into the recycling bin before they even leave the post office). This is especially true for prospects. One of the revolutionary aspects of the Internet is that your Web site is accessible to tens of millions of first-time visitors.