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Who Is Your Wholesale Catalogue About?

Because it's not you

I won’t make you guess. It’s the retailer.

Now, don’t get me wrong. What you think and feel about your wholesale catalogue matters. As the world’s leading expert on the lovely thing you make, your knowledge, experience and opinion are vital.

But if you’re smart, you’ll put all of it at the service of the retailer.

The sole purpose of your catalogue is to make it easy for a shopkeeper to say yes to placing an order.

Since it’s our cash on the line, do what we prefer.

Let’s say, for example, that you decide to put your name and a snappy description of what you make right at the back of your catalogue. You like how this looks, and it doesn’t feel like you’re bragging or drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

But let’s see how it works for the retailer. This is the eighth catalogue he’s looked through today and the fifteenth this week. He’s tired and busy so when he gets to yours he just wants to know:

a) Who you are.

b) What you make.

c) Whether he can trust you with his money.

And he wants to know this stuff as fast as possible so he doesn’t waste time wading through products and catalogues that aren’t relevant to his store.

So although having those details at the back feels good to you, it’s tiresome for him.

He’d be much happier to see a brief welcome page at the front of your catalogue, providing a snappy description of your collection and a few indications that you’re a safe and reliable supplier. A quote from a current stockist, perhaps, or the logos of some awards you’ve won.

That would help him relax and pay attention to you.

This one simple tweak (and there are many more you can make to your catalogue) shows you know how to work with retailers.

So what I’m saying is this.

You and the lovely thing you make have starring roles in your catalogue, but the retailer is the hero.

Your catalogue exists for one reason: to help them get something wonderful onto their shelves with as little friction as possible, so their store can flourish and their dreams come true.

That’s not to say that what you think or prefer is of no consequence, but you’re not the priority. Whether you’re answering the phone, packing up a delivery or designing your wholesale catalogue, your job is to serve the shopkeeper.

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