What a B-to-B Catalog Should Be
I am a sucker for perfection—those things in life that cannot be improved upon. Examples include toothpicks, McDonald’s french fries, the Boeing 747, Avery labels, a Bombay Sapphire martini, Fred Astaire movies, Rubbermaid® products and business-to-business (b-to-b) catalogs that don’t waste my time.
The catalogs from Consolidated Plastics are good examples of the latter.
The Twinsburg, OH-based company produces four b-to-b catalogs: Plastics; Rubbermaid Commercial Products (right); Bags, Packaging and Shipping Supplies; and Commercial Mats and Matting. My favorite is the Rubbermaid book, which features bright colors, terse but perfect copy, absolute ease of navigation and no-hassle ordering.
The cover of this 8˝ x 10-1/2˝ book is a model of simplicity and elegance, showing a pristine loading dock with two giant Rubbermaid rolling Tilt Trucks piled high with trash, yet so beautifully balanced that a woman is depicted easily rolling one across the floor. On the cover are but two lines of copy: the toll-free number and “98% OF ALL ORDERS SHIPPED SAME DAY.”
Open the book and the first thing you see is the alphabetical index. No wild goose chase through the pages; you can turn to precisely the items you need.
Each page is devoted to products that are similar to one another, such as wastebaskets, storage sheds, recycling containers, floor cleaning systems, plastic pails with covers, etc. Most items come in various colors and several sizes, but only two or three samples are illustrated with four-color photographs.
The entire line is then listed in close proximity to the illustrations. This means each catalog page can show a few items, but offer 20 to 40 or more SKUs. In the 52-page catalog, a mind-blowing 1,275 SKUs are offered for an average of 24.5 per page. Even the back cover sells.
Consumer catalogs cannot touch this for economy and efficiency!