October 26, 2016 David Deal

Catalog Design for Online Retailers

Catalog design has evolved into online retailing. If you sell products at a retail location, you must to have a strong online product catalog to experience to true potential of your business. I am always amazed when I meet a potential new client for catalog design that operates only from their brick and mortar retail store. With the fast switch to online shopping happening at warp speed, the fact that any brick and mortar retailer can be successful with a physical location only is actually music to my ears. It means their product offering is so good, the haven’t needed to rely on online sales to survive. If your products offering and customer experience is that good, I can’t wait to get your online catalog launched! This article focuses on catalog design for online retailers.

Here are 5 important strategies and “must haves” when creating catalog design for online retailers:

  1. Use Google-Optimized Product Information: Create a simple category structure with category names that are widely used. You want Google search engines to find your products and serve them up to people actively shopping for those items. To do that, you need structure your your product information in a way that is friendly to shoppers, and Google. Cute and original product category types may seem fun and cleaver, but to Google search logic, its confusing and won’t be served up to many people. (i.e. use “Bowls” not “Decorator items”. Use “Bags” not “Fashion Accessories”. Use “Blankets” not “Fuzzy Things”.
  2. Create Rich User Experiences: Google algorithms are so intelligent now that they can detect when you are trying to trick them, and users, into viewing pages that don’t really warrant attention. The best way to drive quality shopper traffic to your site is to build a rich and authentic customer experience. Use high quality color photographs that can be enlarged to show product detail. Use detailed descriptions of your products. Add quality videos that highlight the product quality, details and uniqueness of your offerings. Google sees the combinations of all these things as a quality catalog design that delivers a higher customer experience and ranks these sites higher in search results.
  3. Anchor Linking: The practice of anchor linking is selecting one or two key terms within a product page and making those words links to pages outside of your site that help define or clarify the term and general meaning of that word or phrase. (See, I just gave you one on the term “anchor linking”!) Google sees this as a great user experience and your products will rank higher. Don’t worry about linking people to sites that are not yours. Google wants this feature for users so give it to them.
  4. Leverage Social Media as Backlinks: Post products with ad “boosts” on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. The social sharing of products and back-linking click-throughs are seen a validating a quality experience for users and will result in higher organic ranking. Great catalog design is the fuel. Social media is engine that will drive your business across the finish line.
  5. Ask for Customer Reviews: Google sees authentic customer reviews as an important indicator of your product experience and quality. And Neilsen reports that 70% of users trust reviews. Don’t just hope a beautiful catalog design and good products will earn the reviews. Ask for them! Customers are usually happy to give reviews if they are asked. Otherwise, it’s usually just the angry ones that take the time to deliver a review and those are NOT the ones that help.

Deal Design has spent 17 years growing product businesses through catalog design, online retailing, brand development and SEO optimization of web site content. If you are looking to grow your product sales, ask us how we can help.