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Catalog Planning & Design Services
We provide a full range of catalog planning and design services. Our experience covers both B2C and B2B catalogs as well as catalogs in support of retail business. We've developed five year business plans for catalog startups. In additional to financial planning and design services, we also have operational and fulfillment expertise.
The first step in launching a catalog is doing the catalog feasibility study. It is during this process that critical factors are identified that ultimately determine the success of a catalog. Defining the purpose, objectives and goals of the catalog are the first step in conducting the feasibility study. After defining the purpose and objectives of the catalog, the next step is to conduct a detailed market analysis.
After we have conducted the market analysis, we will develop the business concept definition. It is at this stage that we define your product strategy, offer strategy and USP (unique selling proposition).
Then we’ll address the promotional strategy, advertising and creative execution. The business concept also involves developing the fulfillment and staffing strategies and the relationship of the catalog to your base business if it’s associated with other multi-channel marketing efforts such as retail distribution.
Next, we define the financial objectives and conduct the breakeven analysis for the catalog. We work with you to project sales, earnings, budgets, funding requirements, payout/payback, ROI, and conduct breakeven analysis on the business. At this point, we determine the problems and risks associated with your launching a catalog and the effects it has on the base business.
The final step in conducting the catalog feasibility study is setting up the timetables for:
- Merchandising the catalog.
- Purchasing inventory.
- Setting up the fulfillment operation.
- Hiring and training staff.
- Producing the catalog design, copy and photography.
- Production of the catalog.
- Media buying and mailing.
The next step after doing the catalog feasibility study is to develop the catalog business plan and doing so is critical to the success of the catalog.
When planning a catalog business, we follow these steps:
1. Define audience. Determine who will be receiving the catalog. Determine the customer and prospect demographic, psychographic, lifestyle and other characteristics that are important.
2. Define product / service offering. Determine what products and services will be offered in the catalog. Step 1 and 2 may be reversed depending on the current status of the business. For example, a company already selling products / services over the Internet already has their product (service) defined, in which case they would move to the next step, defining the audience for the catalog
3. Define catalog positioning / niche. Determine how the catalog will be positioned verses the competition. Determine what niche the catalog will occupy.
4. Define offer / selling proposition. Determine what will be the overall offer. This includes pricing, payment terms / offer, shipping and handling offer / terms, customer services, customer support, etc.
5. Select target media. Select the media that will be used to promote / mail the catalog – mailing lists; advertisements in publications, electronic media, etc.
6. Develop catalog creative. Select catalog format; prepare catalog copy, prepare catalog design; catalog production (printing, etc.).
7. Develop fulfillment plan and operations. Put in place processes and operations for order processing and tracking; shipping of orders.
8. Use a database to capture and maintain prospect and customer mailing, response and order data – this may be part of an existing CRM system and in the case of a company already selling direct to the consumer over the Internet, they will already have such a system in place.
9. Analysis of catalog results.
Catalog Design Phase & Considerations
Once, we've completed the planning process, we begin the design process. Much of the feasibility study and the actual business planning will impact the path that design takes. The catalog format will be influenced by the marketing plan, the overall economics of the project, the range of formats, order form formats, the merchandise, the intended image you want to convey, and the theme of the catalog.
A catalog should have a unique concept and point of view that reinforced throughout the catalog. At the most fundamental level, the presentation should answer the questions, “How is the merchandise unique?” “How will it benefit the buyer?” and “Why would or should the buyer choose your catalog and products over another?” A catalog needs to have an overriding theme. The catalog should have a point of view and personality. The catalog needs to use a design that is appropriate to the merchandise and the intent of the book. The catalog needs to communicate and reinforce the catalog’s unique selling concept at every customer touch point. The overall design and feel of the catalog should be targeted to and in harmony with demographics and psychographics of the target audience of the catalog.
This is an overview of the catalog planning and design process. Each situation will be unique and we will customize your services to fit your specific needs.