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Catalogues 4 Business » Blog » Catalogues – The art of selling off the page

Catalogues – The art of selling off the page

Catalogues 4 Business has one aim, help you get more sales from your catalogue. We are experts at creating pages that attract, engage and ultimately sell to your customers. It’s a rare skill, trust me!

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times; a good catalogue gets your company more sales. It really is that simple, it’s the only reason it exists. The trick is to create pages that sell. We believe that you only get one chance to get your catalogue opened and working, so you have to nail it from the off. “So how exactly do I do that Ian,” I hear you ask?
Well, in order to sell to your customer, you have to understand how they buy. You have to manage their expectations, accurately describe your products and remove all barriers to placing an order.

Think of your catalogues as a shop…

The cover is your catalogue’s shop window; it needs to communicate what you are selling, why you are selling it and why the reader should look inside.
You should walk through your catalogue as if it were a shop and think about how products are presented, the clarity of the layout, the space allocation, the use of hotspots. Shops reserve prime space for their best sellers; supermarkets keep key products at eye level, so they are noticed straight away, just as you should use hotspots in your catalogue.
Shops also bring attention to special offers, create impulse buys and introduce exclusive offers; a catalogue needs to include all of these to drive sales.

How many times have we heard people say: “I only went to the supermarket to get some milk, but came back with a whole load of other things.” We want the same to happen with your catalogue. When people are in your catalogue, we don’t want them to just buy the 1 product, we want them to buy, 2,3, and more! Use upsells, cross sells, multi-buys and bundles to increase the customers spend.

Creating pages that sell is also about developing strong iconography, and using colour effectively. Choice of colour can be used as a means to attract attention. A red Ferrari for example shouts, but a pale blue one doesn’t have quite the same effect. However, the ability to shout also creates noise. Using colour to shout about your products is great, but if you make all your products shout at once all you end up with is a cacophony of visual noise. The technical term for this is ‘clowns trousers’ – lots of colour that does nothing to enhance appearance! Basically, you have to use strong colour sparingly, to avoid upsetting the visual balance. Don’t make your shop (catalogues) too busy with colour and imagery, otherwise customers will get ‘lost’ and products will merge with background.

You have to think about the journey to the checkout and think about how YOU would shop. You can pick up loads of great ideas from retailers.


How important is service to you? What makes you choose a particular shop over another? Is it the shop layout, service or theme? How do you expect the sales person to behave? How do you feel when a salesperson goes that ‘extra mile’?

Now think about the salesperson. They are there for a reason, products don’t sell themselves. A good salesman will always try to upsell, he will also cross sell and be knowledgeable. He wants to close a sale. Your catalogue should behave in exactly the same way.
And remember the only question a customer wants answering is “what’s in it for me?” They are buying benefits not products and your customer wants to feel that they have bought wisely and in charge of the process throughout.

To summarise, in order to make your catalogue sell, it has to be:
• Easy to buy from
• Easy to navigate
• Clearly presented

The ‘Million Dollar Question’ is always – can YOU buy from your catalogue? It’s amazing how many businesses create catalogues that put barriers in the way of the customer placing an order. Imagine YOU are Your customer and see if you can complete the order process. Selling 3D products in 2D media is a real skill. Customers can’t touch the product and experience the quality or ask any questions. However, if they do ask questions – you have failed!

Catalogues 4 Business are masters of selling off the page and we know what your customer wants and we know how to engage them. We have been catalogue professionals for 15 years and know every trick in the book!

Ian Simpson, Managing Director of Catalogues4Business and Digital4Business