Cleaner Look Boosts Order Size for BTB Cataloger

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The revamped NES Clothing 2001 business-to-business catalog has brought higher average sales orders for the retailer.


Steven Valeri, vice president of marketing for NES Clothing, Middleboro, MA, said a new layout contributed to an average sales order of $350. He would not give the average sales order for previous catalogs, saying only that the $350 was higher than previous figures.


The book is sent to screen printers, embroidery companies and promotional-product companies. The catalog also is used in a generic form for embroidery companies that print company logos on apparel.


"This year we took a look at what we're selling and realized the people we're selling to are offering full apparel programs to their customers and needed a way to tie together all their products," Valeri said. "We decided to switch our layout around. We offer more clothing collections for the first third of the book, which gives our customers' customers a chance to see the catalog with the different look and how the clothing can fit their lifestyles."


The catalog dropped in January with a circulation of 40,000. In creating this year's catalog, the goal was a book with a consistent look and feel, and that was easier to use, Valeri said.


"We felt people shouldn't have to search for anything buried on a page," he said. "There should be no need for them to struggle looking for particular items. There had to be a good balance between white space and the amount of products on a page that would allow the customer to look at the catalog more leisurely."


Tom Roskelly, creative director at Fleming & Roskelly, a catalog agency in Newport, RI, was given the task of creating a more usable book that would appeal to NES' customer base.


"What we did was put one large image of the featured product with maybe two or four smaller photos on the page," Roskelly said. "Before, the catalog would have shown a photo of every single item in a particular category, and that added to the clutter and made it difficult for customers to navigate."


The catalog now uses headings on each page to feature clothing collections, as well as subheadings to feature the various styles for a particular article of clothing. For example, a page featuring T-shirts in the Anvil Collection shows a large photo of the product, followed by five smaller photos in different styles. Descriptions are broken into subheadings -- adult, youth, pocket, long sleeve and youth long sleeve. Roskelly said previous catalogs would have shown all the different lines.


The cataloger also simplified the color bar for items offering multiple color choices by indicating colors that might not be available for each item. Male and female figures are featured to indicate the availability in those categories.


The second page of the catalog features a directory of departments and name brands. The third page features short descriptions of new clothing collections that include Woolrich, JanSport, Arnold Palmer Collection, Wrangler and Avanti, as well as the expansion of popular brands within the catalog.


Valeri would not give sales figures for items in the new collections, but said sales were better than anticipated.


The 2001 catalog measures 8 inches by 10 inches and has more than 500 products on 276 pages, making it the largest catalog NES has produced, Roskelly said. His company has created the business-to-business catalog for five years. Previous catalogs averaged about 240 pages.


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