The Success of an Online Catalog Depends on the Product Pages
Online catalogs are one of the main reasons a manufacturer has a website. Let's look at one example of an excellent product page.
Note the clean, spacious, visually appealing layout. The page offers a lot of information, but does not overwhelm the eye. A well-laid-out product page is a gift to your visitors. Give them the descriptions, documentation, images, videos, and variants they want.
Most products should have photos that show the product in use, if practical, and in an appealing light. Users should have the option to view the image from the top, the side, facing front, and more. All images should be available in larger sizes, to show the product in detail. And some visual element should indicate the size of the product.
A picture is great, but, visitors also want to read about your products. Give them as much detailed information as you can. Maybe everyone won’t read all of it, but your most serious potential customers will.
If a picture is great, a video is even better, and several videos are better still. Note the layout below, with its highlighted main video and several related videos.
You may not have video for each product. In that case, your layout must remain elegant with or without videos. Our design slides the related-items info up the right side, to fill the space where a video would be.
Put all your reference material -- product spec sheets, CAD drawings, bill of materials, training videos, what-have-you -- in one place, where it is easy to find and access.
Related and Recently-Viewed items
Visitors interested in one of your products are likely to be interested in others. So, tell them about related items and highlight items they’ve viewed previously. They’ll appreciate it.
Certifications and Standards
Do your products meet safety standards or other industry certifications? If so, include them.
Where Does the Data Come From?
A well-laid-out product page is great for visitors, but can be a nightmare for your website administrator. Your online catalog must be easy to maintain. If it’s not, it will quickly fall out of date. Smaller manufacturers can maintain product information in a spreadsheet or in Microsoft Access and then upload it to Titan CMS. Larger manufacturers can use our PIM (Product Information Manager) to support their product pages. The PIM can receive information from other systems (e.g., ERP or accounting packages) and feed it out to other systems (e.g., InDesign). When a website user visits a product page, the page is built dynamically by pulling the relevant information from the PIM.
How does the PIM Integrate with my Other Systems?
Say a new item that relates to another of your products comes into inventory. Enter it in the PIM and it's automatically added to the website page. Has the pricing changed in your ERP system? The ERP system can automatically update the PIM and change the price on the website. One of our manufacturing clients uses the PIM to feed five external systems, including their website, a marketing publishing system, and an Original Equipment Manufacturer database.
Examples of Product Catalogs
Follow the links to see some of our manufacturing catalog website designs:
Server Products is a leading global provider of market-driven dispensing solutions for the food service industry. Northwoods redesigned this website, including a new product catalog that is maintained by Titan CMS. The company’s pre-existing ERP system feeds detailed product information to Titan.
U-Mark, an innovative manufacturer of professional-quality markers, for years tried but failed to integrate product data, which included photography and video, into an obsolete website. The user experience and data management experts at Northwoods helped them create filters that allow users to effortlessly find the products they need.
Pactiv, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of food packaging and foodservice products, endured poor product search, an expensive content management system and boring design for years. Northwoods provided them with the powerful search and filter capabilities of Titan CMS, including a feature that displays an equivalent Pactiv product if users accidentally input a competitor’s item number.
Dispense-Rite provides quality cup dispensers and related products for the foodservice industry. They needed a web design that reflects their brand and makes it easy for clients to locate product information. Northwoods emphasized information architecture and online catalogs as it took their existing brand to the web. Deployment of Titan CMS allows implementation of filter blocks, which greatly enhance product searches.
Ready to improve your online catalog?
Schedule a free evaluation to determine your online catalog needs. Our evaluation includes strategies to improve the following areas:
Product naming and detail information
Product categories and tagging
Page layout and design
Use of video and images
Schedule Your Evaluation (It’s free.)