One of the most-asked questions I get is, “What product density is right for my catalog?”
There are two main drivers to finding your appropriate product density (or the average number of products per page): your brand and your square inch sales report.
Brand. In general — but not in every case — the more upscale the brand, the lower the product density; the more downscale the brand, the higher the product density. So if you’re starting a new catalog and have no idea what density to use, look at competitive catalogs (or noncompetitors who sell to your audience), and take your cue from them.
Square inch report. Once started, focus on what your square inch report tells you. It’s your key to increasing and decreasing the space allocated for each product. This report should tell you what your sales per square inch of catalog space are for each product, how individual products’ square inch sales compare to the book’s average, how much above or below breakeven, and other factors. Track trends over time, too, as you’ll be able to tell if you’re over-enlarging or over-shrinking space for particular products.
More Pages or Higher Density?
Problem: “We want to add 10 percent more products, but our density’s already set. Should we just add 10 percent more pages?”
Doctor’s Remedy: This gift cataloger wanted to add more products to lift sales, and first planned to add more pages to do it. But a second look made it decide to redesign instead, adding one more product per two-page spread. And with the money it saved on paper, prepress and postage, it instead invested in mailing more catalogs. Result: a healthy sales increase, plus higher sales per catalog.
Are Upscale and Increased Density Compatible?
Problem: “My square inch report tells me to increase density a lot. Won’t that downscale my high-end brand, hurting sales?”