How to Determine Appropriate Page Counts
Strategy by Stephen Lett
Good circulation planning and merchandising are the keys to success for a catalog company. Knowing how many books to circulate can be determined by calculating a catalog break-even point.
But determining the number of pages your catalogs should include can be more difficult and somewhat more arbitrary.
This month, I'll look at basic criteria that can help determine the best page counts for your catalogs. I'll also review the economics of adding pages to a book. Pages increase response, and the economics generally are favorable, provided there's enough good merchandise available to support additional square inches of selling space.
The decision to add pages always should be driven by merchandising. Adding pages means maintaining the proper page density. It doesn't mean you should devote more space to items being added.
Nor does it mean giving more space to existing products simply as a way to fill more pages. For the economics to work, proper density must be maintained as page count is increased.
It's best to work in increments of eight pages. If you add pages to your catalog, you're really talking about adding a minimum of eight pages. The multiple would increase from a base of eight to 16 pages, 32 pages and so on.
Generally, it wouldn't be cost-effective, for example, to add only four new pages although it can be done (i.e., a four-page self or separate cover could be added).
Checklist for Determining Catalog Page Counts
1. Break your product line into product categories.
2. Determine the number of products available in each category.
3. Review the number of products within preset price ranges to uncover price-point gaps.
4. Profile the 10 best products to use as a screening guide to help know what to add.
5. Profile the 10 worst products to know the types of items to avoid.