There are many web companies that propose digital catalogue apps by showing most beautiful images for products featuring fascinating graphic design. Everything seems so easy, fast and, above all, so very cheap. Pity that catalogue sales are not all alike!
We often find unsatisfied customers who have decided to adopt these solutions: in many cases the app is available for sales, but it is not used because there are no multimedia contents or they have been realised in an initial wave of enthusiam and then no longer updated; in other cases the app is completely neglected after some time, for the most varied reasons.
These are our 3 suggestions for choosing a software for catalogue sales:
- Reflect on your salespersons’ sales model
- Consider the total cost of ownership for a catalogue sales solution
- Consider which the aspects that help you save money are, should this be the first motivation for the adoption of a solution
Your salespersons’ sales model is the first point from which to start in the observation and analysis of your needs in sales digitalization projects. It is fundamental not to adopt predefined models imposed by third parties just because it is trendy that salespersons should use tablets or other digital tools.
Which is the path salespersons follow in their purchase consultancy? Do they choose a customised route on which products are the ones customers usually acquire? Or must they follow a predefined itinerary designed by the sales or marketing management? Is the electronic-format catalogue intended to substitute the sample catalogue? Is it intended to extend the user’s experience? How important is it for the customer to understand the company or observe the single product with multimedia store detail? How many references and variants does the product assortment to be submitted to the customer present? Is the choice of products, quantity and packaging type contextual to the catalogue presentation? Is price negotiation contemplated? In which sales phase? In which context do sales occur: do environment conditions allow contents use by the customer or are they just information support for the salesperson?
The overall management cost of a solution must not be confused with the mere acquisition cost of use licences and sw starting cost: behind a complex digital sales solution – integrating the concept of product catalogue with order management – there are multimedia material realization and inner staff costs (or external agencies coordinated by inner personnel) that care for contents (images, product records) and sales logics (price lists, promotion mechanisms per channel, customer and product cluster, incentive mechanisms for sales and customers…) and, last but not least, technology management costs, users’ support and connectivity.
Digital catalogue apps are promoted to shouts of “saving paper”: though entirely agreeing on the choice of paper saving, above all regarding environmental impact, we can state from experience that the first saving reasons in the adoption of a sales application are:
- process automation: it makes them fast and efficient, allows objective measurement of people’s activities, and approving workflows become more fluid and easily traceable
It is therefore essential to clearly define and share the whole sales process and the trade marketing strategy, as well as be wary of the siren songs promising the latest “easy, fast and cheap” catalogue app, freely downloadable from the app stores.