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5) Time is always an important factor. Unlike turning pages in a catalog, navigating an online catalog can be much more involved. Always make it possible for your buyer to locate product in two or 3 clicks. I'm sure you've heard this before; Humans are, by large, impatient beings and longer it takes them to reach product in question, more chance you have of losing them. Use indexes and/or categories. Not just one, but several. Make it possible for your visitor to access product from several different angles or headings. Remember Wild Bill's Rule. Never make them look past 2 or three clicks from your opening catalog page.
6) Add "Value" to your catalog. Even catalogs can benefit by content. The Internet is all about information. Use content as a draw targeted prospects to your catalog. Say for instance that you host a catalog for tools and home improvement items. A perfect benefit for this catalog would be How-To articles on Home Improvement. For beauty supplies, you could give tips for makeovers. Get point? Offer content relative to your products to properly align this free or low cost marketing idea to your product base.
Offer extras! There is nothing new about offering your buyers "FREE EXTRAS" for purchasing your products. FREE Extras could be slow moving or stagnant products, a how-to guide, a toll free number, free delivery or a free product support. The idea is that you are giving buyer something extra for buying from your catalog.
7) Just as any other web site, opening page or cover page to your catalog should begin selling process. Just as magazine, book publishers and yes, catalog publishers spend a lot of time and resources designing and implementing covers, so should you. You have to have an opening page that says "Open Me, I'm Worth It!" Think of your "opening page" as a big headline. You must use all your writing and design skills combined with enticing graphics and/or photos to convince them to turn to next page so to speak. Whether true or not, a dull cover conveys appearance of dull products. Goodbye Sales! Here is place to begin aligning your copy with your product line. "Comprehensive Product Line", "Product Superiority", "Problem Solutions" and "Price" as a whole should be addresses and enforced right here. You could be giving away best made product, for most popular fad, and if you can't get them to open cover (or click inside), you won't be giving away spit.
8) Make ordering easy. Recently, I needed a CD Burner and I visited an online catalog, whose copy and presentation was excellent. They had comparable pricing and quality products. I was ready to buy. I went to order form and found a 2 page demographics survey that had to be filled out for privilege of purchasing their product. I Don't Think So! Keep your form to minimum requirements, clear and easily understood. If you must have demographics, ask for them after purchase. Getting back some demographics is far better than getting no sales.
Accept Credit Cards. Except for very limited product lines you must accept credit cards to survive. I myself don't accept credit cards yet, but have not had a need to do it yet. Then again, I do not operate a catalog site. People buying from an online catalog, expect; no demand to be able to use their credit cards for immediate purchase. Make it clear what credit cards you accept and that fact that you use a secure server for transaction.
The Internet Shopping Arena is growing at unbelievable speeds, literally destroying old name business that deny Unbeatable Force of that we call "The Internet". Every day more and more people turn to Online Catalogs to fulfill their shopping lists. Are you ready? Is your online catalog up to snuff? Only your web surfers know for sure!
My best wishes for your Success!
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