Catalog Doctor: How to Boost Page Sales, A Marketer's Checklist
Patient: Doc, my catalog looks good, and the copy's pretty good, too. But somehow I don't feel like each page is selling as well as it could. Can you give my team any prescriptions for boosting page “sellability”?
Catalog Doctor: Many catalogers have merchants select the products for each two-page spread, then hand them to designers/copywriters to make them look and sound good. But that process can miss the middle step of analyzing how to make each two-page spread sell harder. Here's a prescription for a checklist to help you add that analysis step. Follow it and your catalog should sell better soon.
Marketer's Checklist for Two-Page Spreads to Orient Consumers
- A big spread headline can add clarity, sell and pacing. It can help consumers decide if the spread is worth looking at.
Ask: Does this spread need one? Examples: "Our lightest T-shirts are cool and comfortable," "Are you vacation ready?" and "Luxury."
- Small category titles are like tabs in a big dictionary. Used often by B-to-B catalogers, they can work well for many consumer catalogs by helping consumers know "they're in a section they're interested in."
Ask: Should this spread have a category title? Examples: "Kitchen" or "Garage" in a home catalog, "Classics" or "Mysteries" in a book catalog. Sometimes longer is better: "Chevy Parts" is good, "Chevy Parts 1965 and Older" is better.
- Category breaker spreads "break up" standard design patterns to catch attention and say, "Hey, new category starts here, better take a look."
Ask: Should this be a breaker spread? If yes, what technique should you use: introduction? Big feature product? Lifestyle shot? Switching from a grid to a nongrid, or vice versa?
Strategies to Increase Page Views by Quick-Scanning Shoppers
- Hero products (bigger than average, placed in key spots) help grab readers’ attention so they slow down and look at the rest of the products on each spread.
- Ask: Have I assigned a No. 1 and No. 2 hero for this spread? Are they best-sellers for that category? Occasionally "new" or something else special can justify making a non-best-seller a hero.
- Useful/interesting product groupings help quick-scanning readers better notice great products.
Ask: How can I build effective groups on this spread? Examples: Chicken-motif items together, dustpans with brooms, group of anti-pest items.
- Don't bury special features.
Ask: Does this product have features that would benefit from special attention outside of the copy block? Examples: Photos of a hidden zip pocket, callouts to a Teflon coating, illustration of how a table unfolds, etc.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or email@example.com.