How to Create a Parts Catalog

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Without replacement parts for cars, machinery, equipment and other essentials, the world's landfill issues would turn from serious to catastrophic. Responsible consumers and companies want to extend the life of the goods they buy. Help them out by being the genius behind an easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate catalog that makes shopping easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Product selection
  • Computer
  • Software
  • Photography
  • Copy
  • Layout
  • Maximize the sales potential of your parts catalog by apportioning products in your inventory into these categories: "Stars" earmarked for prominent placement; standard bearers that consistently sell; and items proving to be a drag on space and money that are best liquidated.

  • Create a rudimentary mock-up by importing photos of parts onto the pages of a word processor or page layout program. Alternately, make a simple paper guide to help your art director figure out how many products they'll be dealing with. Request several cover designs, the inclusion of an order form and allocate a few pages for information about returns and ordering instructions.

  • Work with a copywriter to determine the "voice" of your parts catalog--sharing insights into your target audience. Ask the writer to use "shop talk" to appeal, for example, to men browsing for auto parts, medi-speak if you're marketing to the health care industry or request a less technical approach for a parts catalog catering to women with no technical experience.

  • Using key marketing skills, arrange and paginate your catalog. Group clearance parts together, using small photos, sparse copy and elements that are so bold, one glance says "clearance." Place the image of a part that's new, bold, novel and/or innovative on the cover. Give your hot sellers positioning on right-facing pages--specifically, the upper-right corner.

  • Request the use of no more than three typefaces for your parts catalog. Make certain the fonts fit your target audience--as running eight-point type in a parts catalog read by seniors, for example, could be catastrophic for sales. Stress the importance of call-outs (blue only, high-gauge steel, weather-resistant). Proof every word to minimize mistakes in the final version and your parts catalog will make the best silent salesman in the world--no salary required either.

Tips & Warnings

  • Like to experiment? Try replacing photos slated for that upper-right page hot spot with customer testimonials. These recommendations can convince a catalog reader--particularly if they've been on the fence.
  • Four-color photos on every catalog page may not necessarily give you the most bang for your buck. Save cash by using four-color photos on 50 percent of the catalog pages and two colors for the others--a challenging secret catalog designers have used for decades.

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