People assign a lot of value on, "Looking at the big picture."
Fair enough, when you've created a catalog, the goal is to convert leads and sell your product.
But the big picture is made up of hundreds of smaller decisions.
Which is why today, I'm aiming the spotlight at the little design tweaks that can make a big difference to your catalog.
TWEAK 1: Fewer Input Fields
Danish Agro is a major agricultural player in the Nordics. They sell a diverse range of products aimed at farmers; seed mixes, animal feed, farm machinery and so on.
One thing that sets Danish Agro apart in their retail catalogs is how they honor the mantra of collecting Strictly Need To Know information.
On the right hand side of the screen-grab is Danish Agro's newsletter sign-up form. All they ask of their visitors is their name and their email address which I know seems counter-intuitive.
As marketers we're taught to collect as much information as possible, but by dialing back what they asked of their visitors, Danish Agro made their visitors' experience better.
How much do we really have to know for a newsletter sign-up? Sure, in some cases companies do need to know about language preferences or are legally required to ask how old the subscriber is beforehand.
But as Neil Patel argues, "Reducing the number of options in your form fields from 6 to 3, for example, you can increase your conversion rate, on average, by 66%."
So it's worth auditing forms and asking yourself, "How can I make this as easy for my customer as possible?"
TWEAK 2: Optimize your catalog LAYOUT for mobile
Notice how the layout of this page is in a 4 grid, one to two visual messages per quarter of the page? This isn't just a simple design choice. It reads really well on a mobile phone screen.
According to a recent Comcast study, people spend most of their time online on their mobile phones.
In Europe and the US it's over 60% of their online time and in developing countries that number's even higher.
But what I really like about it is that it's easy on the eyes on a desktop too so it's not even just a question of future proofing your layout but just good design.
RELATED READ: How eCommerce Is Changing Online Catalogs For The Better
TWEAK 3: font size matters
Fleggaard is a Danish-German cross border supermarket retailer that knows how to grab their readers' attention right away.
"It seems like a really small detail but making it easier for your customer to grasp product information at a glance so they don't have to zoom in isn't just the good guy thing to do," says Rune Rødbro, iPaper's Chief Success Officer. "It's also going to make it easier and faster for your customer to make a call on buying the product. The less friction there is in the customer's buying experience the more likely they are to spend their money on your product."
What I like about this tweak is that it's small but can have a big impact. Studies show that on average, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average page visit.
So prioritizing the information that visitors will absorb and making it as easy as possible to grasp the information you want them to with a larger font is a tweak well worth considering.
RELATED READ: How Fleggaard's Online Catalogs Generate Sales
Tweak 4: GIVE DESCRIPTIVE ICONS A PURPOSE
Using descriptive icons in online catalogs isn't new. Most experienced eCommerce managers are already using shopping cart icons and 'BUY' buttons.
But why stop there?
Here's a great example of descriptive icon use, courtesy of XD Design, the inventors and producers of the popular Bobby anti-theft backpack.
What makes this a really successful use of a descriptive icon - in this case the Instagram icon - is that XD Design built the page around the icon.
It has a purpose.
The customer photos work as social proof and the user created content gives the brand credibility, making the reader more likely to click on the Instagram icon for more pictures.
For inspiration, I've put together a zip file with 70 different social icons of different styles and colors if you'd like to experiment yourself. The toolkit automatically downloads when you click here.
Tweak 5: USE VIDEOS TO FREE UP PAGE SPACE
Have a look at how Danish furniture designer BoConcept keep their catalog pages looking clean with product information videos.
Instead of having a list of features or including text heavy product information for their Madison sofa, BoConcept have used a video instead.
What's great about this tweak is that using video in this way works on several different levels.
It engages the visitor visually.
It explains how easy it is to transform the sofa to a sleeper - pretty crucial information for someone in the market for a futon.
And it frees up space on the catalog page itself, meaning there's more room for sofa to shine and there isn't any need for extensive product information text. Text that we know the viewer will most likely skim anyway.
If you're curious about how businesses like Toyota, ONLY or Mueller use online catalogs as part of their multi-channel marketing strategy, check out our Get Inspired page.
Or better yet, start experimenting yourself with our free 14-day trial!