Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
An online marketing catalog is a wonderful way to merge traditional paper catalog marketing and Internet marketing.
But there are some unique challenges involved in making the catalog format work well on line. Here are our top ten tips for making your marketing catalog work.
10. Great design
As much as we would like to think that appearances don’t matter, the fact is that what people see is critical to getting them to dig deeper into your online catalog.
Make sure the colors, images and fonts are appropriate for your topic and will appeal to your ideal customers. Avoid clutter, flashing banners, and too many different colors or fonts to create a design that encourages people to stay on your site and shop.
9. Ease of navigation
Make sure visitors to your online marketing catalog can move through pages and among products easily. It’s especially important to keep the path from catalog view to ordering clear and simple.
And keep the experience consistant. There’s nothing worse that browsing a virtual catalog, clicking on an item and finding yourself on an entirely different site, in a different context, with no clear way to return to the catalog experience.
8. Clear, effective copywriting
Make sure the messages and information on your site and in your online catalog are clear. Pay attention to the basics like spelling and grammar. Then build effective content that provides the information shoppers need to make buying decisions.
Yes, you can and should be creative. Maybe even funny. But don’t let your spin get in the way of clarity.
A great online catalog (indeed any great e-commerce site), will draw your visitors into an interactive experience.
Providing product recommendations based on shopping behavior, offering live chat, or allowing customers to view products by color, size or style are all powerful ways to take the shopping experience from so-so to engaging.
6. Appropriate use of technology
Sure scrolling image bars and changing pictures might appear exciting, but make sure your use of technological bling doesn’t distract from the customer experience.
It’s a good idea to test your online catalog on friends, family or even a review panel before you launch a new online marketing catalog. That way you’ll know if the display, ordering and shopping cart technology you’re using is really a feature or a flaw when it comes to a shopper’s experience.
5. A unique message
Odds are there are at least a few competing online catalogs in your product niche, so make sure your catalog’s message stands out from the crowd.
Whether it’s a different twist on the product line, a unique offer of service or a different way of presenting your goods, make sure your catalog’s message is memorable.
4. Meaningful content
Forget the fluff. Leave overstated claims behind. An online catalog is a great opportunity to share content with your visitors. Consider short stories about how your products have helped other customers solve problems. Or maybe the history of the product.
Let the type of online marketing catalog you have determine the nature of the content that works best.
3. Clear, attractive images
The best part of shopping a brick and mortar location is seeing the merchandise. Make sure the images in your online marketing catalog offer an up-close-and-personal experience, too.
Select clear, high resolution images. Install an enlargement feature to allow viewers to see a larger version of each picture. If the details are important, consider offering close-up shots of those elements, in addition to the full product image.
2. Accurate information
There is nothing worse that ordering that “large” purse, calendar or screwdriver only to pull a tiny product out of the shipping box. Or selecting the “free” shipping, only to find that it came with so many exceptions that almost no one will quality.
Reduce cart abandonment and returns by making sure your product information (including colors, sizes, materials and functionality), delivery options and personalization choices are all accurate described.
1. Clear pricing
Make sure all pricing is visible as shoppers browse your catalog. Making customers search for prices, or worse yet, wait until they’ve added items to a cart to see pricing is a user experience guaranteed to drive people away from your online catalog.