Boost Sales and Shopability via Photography and Merchandising
Two more tips to help you freshen your design and improve sales.
The best B-to-B photography tells a story. You can tell a story by showing the product in use, by showing comparisons and contrasts, and by showing the drawbacks of not using your product. Just like great copy, B-to-B photography should be benefit-driven.
Metalcraft, based in Mason City, Iowa, sells a line of commodity items that it manufactures: I.D. plates and barcode labels for fixed assets. Yes, creating drama with I.D. tags poses special challenges, but the catalog pulls it off nicely. On its back cover, a hand wearing a heavy-duty rubber glove uses a bristle pad and a cleaning solvent to scrub a gooey mess off an I.D. label and its surrounding equipment surface. The benefit is easy to understand: Metalcraft’s barcode labels won’t come off, even when you’re scrubbing them with solvents that are strong enough to clean industrial spills.
If you’re in charge of fixed assets on a shop floor, having barcode tags fall off expensive tools and equipment is a serious problem. Metalcraft’s photography shows a real-life benefit of using its labels. Benefit-driven photography doesn’t just happen. It’s the product of a company studying its market and wrestling with its product to identify how it solves a problem within that market.
Tired of your catalog looking like a warehouse? Then remove the products that aren’t selling. Nothing clutters a catalog like outdated products no one buys.
With postal rates skyrocketing, it’s time to reevaluate every product in your catalog to make sure it carries its weight in terms of sales. There always will be products that you need to carry to maintain credibility in your market niche or for the convenience of your customers. But don’t make these products your staples. Removing non-selling merchandise from your catalog is the next best thing to a creative makeover. If they’re buying it, they’ll be glad to see it go.
If your market positioning requires that you maintain your current product count, shifting the poor-selling products — or even whole categories — to your Web site may be in order. Consider devoting a page of your catalog to highlighting the products that are now Web exclusives. This may allow you to pull an entire signature from your mailed catalog without adversely affecting your sales. Once again, consult your metrics before making a decision.
B-to-B catalogs offer some of the most engaging challenges for art directors, copywriters and merchants. Are you ready to take it on?
George Hague is senior marketing strategist at J. Schmid & Assoc., a catalog consulting firm in Mission, Kan. You can reach him at (913) 236-8988 or at email@example.com.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.