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What is an electronic catalogue?

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What is a Catalogue

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What is a Catalogue

A catalogue is a publication which companies use as a way to promote their products and services. This graphic piece allows different companies to inform their existing and prospective customers about the prices and features of their products in order to encourage their sale. A catalogue is a means for companies to present the detailed umbrella of products and services directly to its customers.

As they comprise all kind of information, catalogues are completely practical. Their first pages generally include a presentation on the company’s main features, including its goals and values -working plan, relationship with customers, quality, technology used-, and pictures of the company’s building(s), production system, and personnel. The most important part of a catalogue is dedicated to show the different products and services. Apart from a description of each item and its prices, this piece includes necessary data such as information on contact -address, telephone number, website, e-mail-, branches or subsidiaries, methods of ordering, shipping and payment, and opening hours.

There are different types of catalogues which vary according to the content they include and their target. The most usual catalogues are those that promote consumer products, comprising pictures (photographs, renderings or illustration) of the items that the company sells. With every picture, there is a description of the product, including its characteristics (size, colors, material, functionalities, manufacturing process, etc.). In the case a catalogue is used to promote industrial or technical products, the description includes pertinent and specific information about each item, its model code to make the process of purchasing and selling easier, and guidelines on how to use the product. Catalogues promoting consumer or technical products also tend to include pictures to show the product structure, functionality and installation. Apart from this, they may also comprise photographs of spare parts. Together with the products, catalogues may also add prices, discounts given by the company, and special offers. There are also service catalogues which include the services offered, their duration and costs. In these cases, pictures related to the services offered are included.

Catalogues may be classified into two main groups according to their target: consumer catalogues, and business to business catalogues. Technical catalogues are usually aimed at other businesses. Catalogues promoting consumer products are generally aimed at the average consumer. Once catalogues have been designed and printed, they are distributed among people, whether by mail or by handing them out-for example during a commercial presentation. Catalogues are regularly updated, adding information on the latest changes in the company’s production.

Regarding the material of which these graphic pieces are made, it is of high importance to take into consideration different aspects. The number of pages of these publications may vary according to the possibilities and size of each company. The standard sizes are 5 ½ "x 8 ½ ", 8 ½ "x 11", 11"x 17". However, less conventional sizes and formats can also be designed to draw the attention of customers even more. There are also different binding methods - Case binding, perfect binding, wire binding, comb binding, spiral binding. Regarding printing, Catalogues are generally printed in 4 colors to make good use of the commercial possibilities that photographs provide. Black and white and one color catalogues can also be designed. The type of paper used for catalogues depends on the type of catalogue, considering the budget possibilities of each company.

Catalogues are essential tools to promote and sell products and services since, thanks to the space available, many images and explicative texts with all the details that customers need to know to choose what to buy can be included. Apart from this, a good design and photographic or illustration quality may result extremely attractive to readers. These design pieces represent the company that use them and they make its products and services permanently available for customers.

Thanks to the development of the Internet these last few years, apart from printed catalogues that represent a company materially, electronic catalogues are also developed. They work as a tool for advertising and online-sale, and allow a greater amount of people to gain access to them.

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