If you have finally decided that it is time to launch your very own online shirt shop, then chances are you have prepared everything except your catalog. Your shirts are just so awesome that they’ll sell themselves, right? Actually, it is not quite that simple. Your going to need each advantage you can over other sellers & brands if you want the lion’s share.
As a savvy t-shirt seller with the bigger picture in mind, you will be carefully building your brand on your own website. This is where having an awesome catalog to showcase your merchanise will be worth it is digital weight in dollars!
Why Should You Invest Time Into Making a Catalog?
While the ulimate reason is to generate more sales, building a professional company & crafting an attractive brand could be the main motivating factor. Whether you are trying to make a killer first impression / liven up an existing catalog, a fresh t-shirt can work wonders for your brand.
Ten Steps to Map Out Your New T-Shirt Catalog
Just as you have carefully planned, plotted, and sketched your tee shirt designs, it is time to do the same with your catalog. Once the catalog has a reason for existing in first place, it needs to be brought to life.
Unfortunately, it’ll more than likely take more time, especially basing on the amount of inventory being represented. Be sure to work around everything with a pressing deadline as this will take a lot of free time.
1. Who Are Your Clients?
Chances are, unless your catalog is being directed towards your target audience, it is going to fall on its face. These target cliets should dictate all aspects of the catalog’s design, from the colors, language used, fonts, images, and even the specific gender your brand caters to.
For example, a shirt line for women should not accidently feel like a brand for dads instead.
2. Make Your Brand the Star of the Show
Many business owners think that as long as they have their name and logo at the top of the page, they have branded their shop. However, every pixel of the screen needs to incorporate the brand.
If your brand has a specific color scheme or motif, use it for each page & every subsection. There has to be some underlying brand message / story that links back to the products. The personality of this company has to shine through in the text used. Most importantly, it all has to make sense.
3. Carefully Draft Out Your Pages
What makes page designing take forever is struggling to figure out how & where to add images that you thought of a moment ago. Make a detailed list of everything that will be going onto the page. This includes their descriptions, the featured products, any images or other media files that will accompany them and any other section or page.
If you intend to include it, write it down now. It is easier to erase something off of a notebook than struggle with it in the design space.
4. Get Sketching
Even if you do not have a web designing background and intend to hire one, it is still a good idea to draw your dream catalog out. Some creative types, including web designers, are visual people, having a rough sketch of what you are looking for will help get your message across.
Even if you do not know how to draw it out, you can, at a minimum, find other shop’s catalogs as a reference point. Occasions are, either with a drawing or an existing catalog, the designer can make edits and let you know what will and won’t work for your brand. It’ll, however, make the process much easier on everyone.
5. Make Wise Design Choices
Many think that experimenting with colors & layouts is best done with their catalogs. Those people are wrong. Shoppers are accustomed to how a catalog “should” feel and when your deviates from that preferred design, it frustrates them & forces them to go elsewhere.
Catalogs are a little boring because that is what people want – an easy-to-use cluster of products. And if the buying process is going to be difficult, they will find a store where it isn’t.
6. Get Professional Product Pictures
While you have no doubt taken pictures of your shirts already, your catalog should not look like an eBay listing. You could have professionally photographed images showing your products as best that you can. When you start with a super high-quality image, they will stay looking great, even after taking a dip in quality after being put online. It’ll cost more to have a professional, but it is often worth it.
If you’re going to take the shots yourself to save some money, make sure it is with a good quality camera. There’s a chance that, basing on your inventory, that your supplier has product images. Go ahead & use them, as the supplier has spent the money on making them look good.
7. Use Attractive, Attention-Grabbing Fonts
Again, your catalog isn’t the place to try out crazy looking fonts. Stick to a basic, easy-to-read sans-serif that everyone knows. Some of the more common ones are Helvetica, Arial and Verdana, although there’re certainly others.
Rather than using fonts that are harder to read, make heading levels & hierarchies. You can also rely on font options like bolding / underlining text, using caps or using different sans-serif fonts for different levels.
8. Quality is King When it Comes to Content
Yes, search engines & users alike are looking for great quality images that are relevant & eye-catching. However, if you paid someone a dollar online to write a text for your pages, it probably is not going to hold many people’s attention. Even though the text is legible, if it is boring or just a list made of other lists, chances are no-one is going to stick around long enough to read.
Online, suddenly everyone is an English major and they will not hold back about even the simplest typos. Make sure that you proofread your copy first or if you wrote it yourself, have someone read it.
Do not edit all in one sitting, either; make sure you take a couple of passes at it and then come back to it later. Otherwise, your brain could become blind to certain mistakes.
It’s a good idea that you and any other proofreaders do it when you are the most alert; when you are tired, you’ll only put in so much effort into proofreading. Keep in mind that this should be short, concise product descriptions & not a novel; a long description means bored readers.
9. Leverage Design Tools
Whether you are on a shoestring budget / need to be a control freak with your catalog, there’re plenty of inexpensive & possibly even free tools to help you design your catalog. Using them are usually simple, require no prior knowledge or experience and still come out with a professional-looking catalog space.
While you will always get a better result by hiring a professional designer, templates & tools are a great alternative that will not necessarily scream “amateur”. While no two design tools are made equally, there’re plenty of reliable ones out there. Some of my favorites are Canva, Shopify, Catalog Machine, FlippingBook and Supadupa. With a little research, you could find the best fit for your needs.
10. Perform a Cold Analysis
For better or worse, a catalog launch can show changes in buyer behavior. When a new design or an initial one, is launched, it is best to run some analyses to see the changes. The most pertinent things to see for would include bounce rates, sales changes and click through rates. If they have stagnated or decreased, then additional changes are needed.
You can run a questionnaire or survey to customers. Who better to ask than the ones using it? When asked online, clients are usually brutally honest.
If you have recently made a catalog or have any tips that work for you, we would love to hear them. Sound off in the comments below / hit us up on our social media pages.