order catalogs

All brands and businesses want the same thing in the end: sales. Everybody want to sell as much as possible. If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in this yourself and you’re looking for ideas and tips on how to increase sales.

There are many ways to optimize your marketing content for online sales, but today we’ll just focus on product catalogs and how they can help you sell more.

A product catalog is a publication that presents a list of products or services along with descriptions, prices and other details, such as images or links.

A short history of the mail order catalog

Back in the day, when the internet did not yet exist, companies used only printed catalogs to present their products to customers. The whole process of sending the catalog, ordering and shipping happened through the post.

history of sales catalogs
Image source

Customers received catalogs in their mailboxes, picked the items they wanted and then sent their mail order along with money for selected items and shipping. The products were received through the post in the following days/weeks.

These catalogs weren’t much different from what we have nowadays. In fact, there are still brands that use mail orders successfully, but the buyers usually send their orders via telephone or website.

Why publish product catalogs

Mainly, product catalogs work because they help brands reach larger audiences, so their marketing messages and offers have a greater impact. This helps brands sell more. More leads = more customers. That’s what happened in the golden days of mail order catalogs and it still happens today. Nowadays it’s even easier to share your catalogs with your social media following or your subscribers, and it’s also cheaper.

You reach people at home, work, everywhere. You don’t have to wait for people to step into your store. Just provide all the relevant details and your products will sell themselves. You don’t even need to have a physical store where people come in to buy the product. You can receive orders through mail or through your website.

E-commerce is thriving because people love to shop from their homes – it’s faster, more convenient, and often cheaper. But when all your business is online, you need to make sure people find your online store. This is where your product catalog comes in handy: it’s the virtual window display of your e-shop and it can lure people in. You just need to make sure it looks beautiful and enticing.
How? Just read on.

12 tips for better online product catalogs

1. Hire a catalog designer

If you want to have a beautiful product catalog, you have to work with a designer. Before you hire somebody, look at their portfolio to make sure you like his/her style. If they’ve done similar works in the past, it’s even better.

Brora fashion catalog

Find some catalog examples you like, show them to your designer and tell him what you like about them. This will give the designer a clearer idea of what you want and expect.

2. Frequency

You don’t need to show all the products from your website in your catalog, especially if you have hundreds. Make a plan to send catalogs a few times a year: when new products are coming in or as the season changes. People like to see new stuff, so show them!

3. Deals and promotions

Limited time offers instill a sense of urgency in buyers. If they are presented with a good offer, they will convert right away, which will result in a boost of sales for you. It’s definitely worth a try.

4. Gorgeous photography

Visual content is the best, so make sure it shines in you catalog. Don’t use long, boring descriptions. People don’t want to read, they want to see. Seduce them with gorgeous images of your product.

5. Show your products in context

If I want to buy a shirt, for example, I expect to see a photo of a model wearing it, not just the product alone on a transparent background. My point is, make sure you have photos of the product alone, but also show it in context. Show people how that sofa could look in a beautiful living room or how that set of plates could look on a nice table arrangement.

6. Don’t use stock images.

You need original photos of your own products. Hire a creative photographer who has done this kind of work before. He may be able to help you with ideas on arranging the setup or give you some tips on the kind of models you need for the photoshoot, if you’ll need any.

7. Videos are your secret weapon

If you have a file format that supports it, use videos in your digital catalog. (we know a tool that’s perfect for this – Flipsnack) Of course, you will need a videographer, models and it will cost you more, but videos are one of the most effective marketing tools of the moment, so it’s worth investing in them. Once you have videos, you can place them on your website & on social channels, so your investment will pay off.

8. Display the price for each item

The price is a very important piece of information, so it should appear in the catalog, even if it’s not written in a big or bold type.

9. You must use links in your catalog

Each product from the catalog should have a link to the product page in your e-shop. You can put a highlighted hyperlink or a “Buy” button. Or you can speed the buying process with Paypal widgets placed directly in your catalog. You can do that with Flipsnack – learn how here.

10. Share your catalog in newsletters

Build a subscriber list and share your catalogs in newsletters. Have a “sign up for newsletter” field on your website, where people who are interested in your products can submit their email addresses. Just make sure you have an unsubscribe link in your newsletter, to prevent being marked as spam.

11. Share your catalogs on social channels

Your fans will like, comment and share them and this will increase the exposure of your product catalogs, attracting new customers.

12. Embed catalogs on your website

You can put them on the homepage or on a special landing page where you get lots of visitors.

Do you have any other tips or ideas that should’ve been listed in our blog post?

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Thank you for suggesting that we don’t use stock images in the photos for our online catalog. My sister started a craft supply business a few years back, and it’s been pretty successful! She’s trying to draw in more customers by having an online catalog of her products created. I’ll definitely give her a call and remind her to use original photos of her products.

  2. Above given tips are very useful for product catalog. Thank you. but i have one question that if we are implementing all above things in Catalog, whether it will become more complex for customer according to structure and UI? .

    • I believe it will not make the catalog too complex and hard to navigate, because it will provide useful information in a structured way.

  3. do my clients have to sign on to flipsnack to see the catalog? I was hoping they would just be able to see it without having a FS account.

    • Hi Kristen,
      Your clients don’t need a Flipsnack account to view the catalog. Perhaps you copied the catalog link directly from the browser, while you were on the flipbook details page.
      Make sure you copy the share link, which has this format: flipsnack.com/username/flip-book-name. If you need help, make sure you contact our support team via Live chat.


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About Jani

Janina is passionate about PR, digital publishing and online marketing. She loves the seaside, crafts, books, adventures and summer nights.