Creating a Home Improvement Sales Catalog That Wins Clients
Between 2019 and 2022, Americans increased their home improvement spend from $328 billion to a whopping $472 billion. By forcing so many people to work from home, the pandemic also had a huge impact on home improvement sales. And as households across the US began implementing their DIY projects, hardware stores struggled to keep up with the demand for furniture, décor and building materials.
Fast-forward to 2023, where the rising cost of transportation and home improvement products is taking a toll on décor and hardware suppliers and retailers. To combat an expected decline in sales, the only option for businesses is to raise their game. Creating an appealing sales catalog can go a long way toward achieving this. When well-executed, this type of marketing material is excellent at improving visibility. As such, sellers can effectively present their products and services in greater, more engaging detail.
Here, we’ll give you a run-down of best practices and handy hints for developing a home improvement sales catalog to showcase your products—and also help your sales team close deals.
Why Does Your Home Improvement Business Need a Sales Catalog?
Short of having a sales representative present at all times to answer customer queries, a sales catalog helps make basic information available. For providers of home improvement products and services, the sales catalog gives buyers a complete idea of what products are available for sale. They can then use the catalog to find out more about particular items they’re interested in purchasing—including information such as price, quantity and SKU. When designed properly, laid out correctly and populated with engaging images and artwork, sales catalogs provide a superior customer experience versus standard slideshow pitch presentations.
Many buyers and potential prospects actually like the idea of leafing through the latest catalogs from their favorite retailers. The Harvard Business Review published the results of an eCommerce luxury watches and jewelry company’s experiment with sales catalogs and email marketing. Clients exposed to both the sales catalog and email marketing reported a 15% increase in sales and a 27% uptick in inquiries compared with email-only customers.
There’s a definite old-school appeal to browsing through sales catalogs. Remember the excitement of opening the latest mail-order catalog? Or, the casual convenience of scrolling through an online catalog? In both cases, customers are able to inspect products at their own pace, in the context of a relaxed, laidback environment. Moreover, with a catalog, there’s no pressure to make an immediate buying decision.
The Benefits of Sales Catalogs
By producing sales catalogs on a regular basis, you’re able to keep customers updated on your latest brands and products. Apart from supplying engaging content, sales catalogs also come with other important benefits. We’ll look at a few of these here:
Allows for Comparison Shopping
Many buyers actively perform comparison shopping before settling on the winning product. By laying out items next to each other, sales catalogs allow customers to compare products from the same brand or retailer. This means that no matter which one comes out as the better choice, it will be available for purchase.
Provides a Central, Convenient Source of Product Information
A sales catalog presents products and services in a neatly arranged, well laid-out format. Further, they provide concise information, such as a short product description, source material, variants, availability and price. For customers who like what they see, having this additional material readily available makes a purchase decision much easier.
Shows Products in a Natural, Consistent Setting
Sales catalogs show items in their best light. Whether beauty shots or products in action, these images serve to create a positive impact on customers. In addition, because of the consistency in lighting, background and theme, buyers are left with the impression that no matter which item they choose, they can expect the same great quality.
Provides Alignment Opportunities for Various Departments
Creating a sales catalog doesn’t fall under a single department. Instead, the project calls for representatives from sales, marketing, product design and research. In this instance, collaboration means aligning the information shared across the group. A finished catalog should feature only the approved marketing copy, product information, design, pricing and SKU availability.
Things to Do Before Creating Your Catalog
Creating a sales catalog, especially for home improvement items, requires a bit of planning. To execute it properly, you need to get the details right from the get-go. And that’s before you start thinking about things like photo shoots or asking copywriters to start drafting content.
Decide on Your Objectives
From the outset, you should have with a clear idea of your end goal. What is your objective in making a sales catalog? Is it to showcase your new lineup of products and services? Are you planning to highlight best-sellers or slow-moving items? If there is limited space, do you include your full lineup or provide a shortlist? Your organization should agree on these things before converging on the drawing board. Having the team or project leader make a presentation that outlines objectives is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Draw Out Your Home Improvement Target Audience
Another aspect to consider is your target audience. Are you looking to attract customers new to home improvement? Alternatively, is your market the frequent buyer or home improvement professional? Ideally, your decision should be based on careful market research. Once you determine that specific audience, you can start creating content that aligns solutions with their particular needs.
Identify Insights and Trends Via Market Research
Market research is also a critical factor in gauging how your products and services match industry demand. It helps to identify which market segments are more likely to buy your product, as well as pinpointing areas for improvement and upcoming marketing trends. Otherwise, you might find out too late that what you’re selling isn’t in line with market requirements.
Creating a Catalog That Sells
Once you’ve settled on the specifics, it’s time to flesh out the catalog’s content and appearance. The visual appeal of each page should be supported by easy-to-read and engaging copy. Balancing the two areas is crucial for producing attractive sales catalogs that are easy to pick up and hard to put down. Let’s look at some winning tips that can help you create catalogs that sell themselves:
Ensure Accurate and Up-to-Date Information
Prior to finalizing the team’s marketing copy, make sure that all the details are both correct and up to date. Home improvement catalogs often include information such as the product’s dimensions—namely length, width and height measurements. In this instance, even a single inaccurate dimension can lead to a loss of credibility.
For example, publishing a floor tile’s unit of measurement as centimeters instead of inches can wreak havoc on a customer’s floor layout estimates. Even worse, including discontinued or recalled products in the new catalog could anger those customers wanting to order these items.
Make the Catalog Easier to Navigate
Whether you’re producing a print or online publication, browsing shouldn’t be a confusing or frustrating experience. Make your home improvement catalog simple to navigate by grouping similar-classed products together. The layout should be such that the viewer’s gaze naturally flows from one item to another. Organizing content so that related products are displayed in one place will serve to streamline the catalog presentation. For example, a DIY catalog might start with basic hardware supplies, move on to standard tools, then power tools and finally, safety equipment.
When designing digital catalogs, check that they’re easy to interact with. Adding clickable links that offer further information is a great way to boost customer engagement levels. Likewise, letting users zoom in or rotate objects to get a better view will keep them interested and well-informed. Conversely, static catalog presentations that look and feel like office slideshow presentations won’t generate the same degree of involvement.
Avoid Lazy Copywriting
Dealing with hundreds of products in a catalog may prompt developers to take shortcuts. For instance, they might use and reuse the same copy for related products with token alterations. However, this can come off as lazy to would-be buyers. Moreover, it prevents their ability to make accurate comparisons between similar home improvement products. Besides, duplicating copy for multiple pages online can damage your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings.
Lazy copywriting can also manifest when the marketing team or agency depends too much on generative AI tools. Even if the grammar is impeccable, AI-generated copy can come out as impersonal or cold. Without making additional edits that incorporate specific brand strengths, your copy is liable to leave its intended audience underwhelmed.
Add Cross-Sell and Upsell Opportunities
When browsing catalogs for hardware tools like hammers, screwdrivers, saws or drills, buyers will usually want to look at the associated consumable too. To illustrate, a customer buying a hammer will likely ask for nails as well, while one purchasing a power drill may require drill bits in assorted sizes. Unsurprisingly, many DIY and hardware stores bundle complementary products at a discount. In the case of our drill buyers, this represents a cross-sell opportunity for buying drill bits at a special price.
Marketing teams may also design catalogs with upselling in mind. Here, customers browsing for home improvement tools can click on an item’s link to view the product page. This is where the strategic marketer could also display slightly newer models of the same product—say at the bottom of the page. So, instead of buying the tools outright, the customer will now consider the upsell opportunity.
Integrate Your Inventory
Sales catalogs that present inventory stocks help keep customers aware of an item’s availability. Displaying inventory can also create demand for products, especially if viewers notice the continued stock reduction. For example, Raspberry Blush, which is one of Benjamin Moore’s top colors of 2023, is presently a hot pick for interior walls. As a result, house paint featuring this and any other currently in-demand color is bound to attract lots of interest. Displaying what’s presently in stock on your sales catalog will save customers the frustration of asking for products that aren’t available.
Of course, without integration with the warehouse inventory system, having this as part of your catalog information can backfire. Therefore, only add stock levels if your system is capable of automatically updating inventory levels. If not, rather save customers the trouble and annoyance of out-of-stock items.
Create Your Sales Catalog with Presentation Software
A digital sales catalog to showcase your home improvement inventory can help generate interest and encourage sales. Make sure to adopt a fresh, clean layout, use professional-grade photos and develop killer copy content to maximize appeal. Then, add upsell and cross-sell opportunities to make your catalog easier to navigate. Finally, display real-time inventory levels to help inflate demand for popular hardware items.
When creating a sales catalog, it pays to leverage interactive features. For instance, presentations that allow viewers to click interactive objects to get more information are decidedly more engaging than static slideshow examples presenting content in a rigid, linear manner. Instead, you get dynamic presentations that pivot in any direction the viewer chooses—not to mention additional information that comes alive thanks to interactive elements.
Generate Engaging Content With Ingage
Ingage is a cloud-based interactive presentation software that specializes in dynamic online content—including sales catalogs. Being cloud-based, the system allows teams to remotely collaborate on a single presentation. Furthermore, users can place interactive objects in presentations so as to provide more information on chosen topics. When done, users simply send a copy of the online presentation online, who can then peruse the contents at their leisure. Built-in analytics track which areas viewers find most interesting and which features need improvement.
Let Ingage help you create interactive product and sales catalogs with the power to captivate your home improvement audience. Sign up now for a free demonstration!