Of course you want your catalogue to look polished and impressive – even if you’re designing it yourself on a small budget.
But if you’re wondering how fancy your wholesale catalogue needs to be, here’s some good news. When it comes to production values, retailers aren’t looking for fancy.
We’re looking for safe.
There are two types of safety we want to observe in our suppliers.
The first is about feeling protected. We want to see indications that you’re unlikely to mess up, screw us over, forget crucial details, miss delivery dates, be unreachable or simply run off with our money.
We’re looking for markers of your credibility, reliability and trustworthiness as a partner. That may come across as fanciness to the untrained eye, but it’s really a way for you to say “Look, if we do business together, I won’t flake out on you.”
The second type of safety concerns branding. This time, we want to feel like your stuff is worth the money and that we can be confident about sharing it with our audience.
You see, there’s a chasm sucking at the feet of every retailer.
It’s the fear that our customers simply won’t buy the stuff we put on our shelves.
And no matter how careful we are, or how much research we do, that risk can never be completely eliminated. But there’s something that takes the edge off: proof that you’re the real deal.
Imagine two wholesale catalogues created by suppliers who produce silver jewellery of the same quality.
One catalogue is a sketchy document which has clearly been knocked up in an ancient version of Word. A formatting problem means the text is broken and disjointed and the photos are dark and blurry.
On the cover of the second wholesale catalogue, there’s a crisp, bright photo of a model wearing a necklace from the artist’s collection. On the inside page there’s a friendly, professional welcome note. The product photos are clear and accompanied by wholesale prices and minimum quantities. There are pictures of attractive gift boxes that come with each item. The colours and fonts are harmonious and cohesive.
If you were a retailer, which would you order from?
Which feels safer?
The second one, right?
That’s because the design decisions in the second catalogue are in alignment with the product. The artist says her jewellery is high quality and she backs up that claim with a high quality catalogue. Every aspect, from her choice of background colour to the size of her headlines, reinforces this idea.
By the time a shopkeeper reaches the last page, therefore, he’s absorbed this message dozens of times, leaving him with the strong impression that this artist genuinely knows what high quality means and that she has the ability to deliver it to his customers.
This makes the yawning chasm shrink a little.
It gives him a solid reason to expect a successful outcome.
So instead of making your catalogue look fancy, make the retailer feel safe.
Take every opportunity to demonstrate those markers of your credibility: your taste, trustworthiness, and sky-high standards. It’ll get you much further than seeking to impress.
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