Colson Castors Blog

The Thing About Catalogues

The Thing About Catalogues

Most of them may look different but at the heart of it, they're all pretty much the same: a collection of photos, lots of numbers, easy to use if you know what you're looking for and a nightmare if you don’t. Remember the meetings to decide what goes in, what’s left out, how many pages, what colour should it be, where should the company logo be displayed: top right, bottom right – no top left……Then there’s the question of how many copies should we print, where to store them and what do we do when they’re out of date (this usually happens within a week of the first print run) and then no matter how many times you proof read it and no matter how many colleagues you roped in to check it, when you open the box, take out the first copy, turn to the first page and there it is the typo that everyone missed!

Did any of that change with the introduction of online catalogues? The short answer seems to be no, not really. All that seems to have happened (in a lot of cases) is the out of date, error strewn paper catalogue got turned into a PDF file and stuck onto the company website that often has a home page lifted straight from the introduction page of the catalogue. Genius.

Earlier this year we were given two goals: get me a new website and get me a new catalogue. So we went through the route described above and quickly decided that what we didn’t want was anything remotely like it. We wanted a real malleable tool that would work for you the client and also for us; we wanted something that could grow and develop in union with us; and most importantly we wanted a catalogue that is relevant and specific to you the user. So we decided on an online catalogue that is quite a bit different to the others out there.

We asked ourselves what do we actually use a catalogue for and the answer was to provide us with information. We already knew that the information that one person, perhaps someone with a medical application wants could be very different to what somebody in a heavy duty industrial application wants, so the question was how could we bring together products from our different brands into one catalogue and not end up with something unmanageable. The answer was to build in a level of flexibility that is impossible to get from a paper or PDF catalogue.

What we have done is to utilise a bespoke Contents Management System that allows us to add, delete or update products within seconds so the web pages are up to date in real time. The individual product lines are stored within their series codes (e.g. 22/29 Series) and then when we enter them into the CMS they’re sorted into two broad categories: Division and Application. This means that every product has an assigned Division (e.g. Light Duty, Heavy Duty and Accessory) and then it is assigned to one or more Applications (e.g. Construction, Furniture and Healthcare).

This enables the user to create their own catalogue or range of catalogues. You can select All Products if you want everything, or select Light Duty or select Construction or Healthcare or whatever combination is right for you.
Then we get really clever – the website generates the catalogue you have just asked for in PDF format, gives it a front cover, gives you a contents page (remember that this changes with each users request) and it even puts your name and other details onto the first page!

We knew that in the past we had posted 60 page thick catalogues to clients who were only interested in perhaps one or two pages and are confident that the flexibility of our online catalogue will be a lot better for all users. We also realised that not everyone may want a catalogue preferring to have a PDF file of the page or pages they are interested in so we also built this time-saving feature into our website.

Both the catalogue creation and the PDF generation tools are only one click away from our products pages and are located in the toolbars at the start and finish of each product section to ease site navigation.

We believe that this is the best online catalogue in the business – why don’t you try it and see just how flexible it is.

Click here to view our catalogue

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