How to Create a Catalog Price List

Ever wonder how a company keeps track of product pricing in catalogs? It's not that hard when you have a product price list, especially when it's automatically updated. Creating a catalog price list will streamline work for your sales team and help bring in new customers.

Catalog vs. Product Price List

Catalogs and price lists aren’t exactly the same thing. Though catalogs do have prices, they have an entirely different function. Before you decide on whether to make a full-on catalog price list or simple product price list for internal use, you need to think about your intentions.

Catalogs are customer-facing, which means the product pricing in catalogs is meant to attract customers. It’s basically an advertisement that you want to make look as attractive as possible. A regular price list is purely informational and helps streamline processes across different departments — from your purchasing team and your sales team to advertising and marketing. Yes, you still want to include measurements and pricing, but you’ll also want to include the quantities of what’s available. No one can sell something that's out of stock and you don't want angry customers when they're told their purchase is on backorder.

Since a price list doesn’t actually cross over into the eyes of the consumer, it can be totally bare bones. Many companies use product price list apps or product price list templates to help keep their team in the loop. One of the most common methods is by using a shared Microsoft Excel document to keep track of inventory, prices and discounts. This is especially helpful because Excel can make calculations on the fly depending on the formulas you assign. Whatever method you use, it just has to be accurate and fully updated at all times.

Choose Your Product Price List App

Before you can make a price list, you’re going to have to choose where to input your catalog prices. There are a variety of product price list apps geared towards different kinds of businesses. For example, AtVenu focuses on live sales at events, which would be a good idea if you’re a vendor at a concert or festival. Other apps like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 are geared towards more corporate sales experiences like large e-commerce companies or telemarketing firms.

In some cases, certain website providers — like Shopify or Limited Run — have catalog price lists built in that automatically update when someone makes a purchase. You can easily see your items, quantity, sales and pricing on the back end in an easy-to-read format that isn't customer-facing.

Start By Gathering Information

Product pricing in catalogs is just one piece of the puzzle. To start, don’t worry about prices yet. You need to gather essential information first. What is the description of each product? What colors does it come in? How many of each color do you have in stock? If this is for a customer-facing catalog instead of an internal list, you’re going to need to collect any information that might attract a customer.

Write Product Descriptions

Product descriptions will be your bread and butter. They’re what will help convince your customer to make a purchase. If this is for an online catalog, you might even want to include a video of your product. According to recent data, 64 percent of consumers make a purchase after watching a branded video. Since 84 percent of people watch videos on their mobile devices, make sure it's optimized to play on a phone or tablet.

Build Your Price List

Now it’s time to build product pricing in your catalogs. You want to be able to keep track of price changes and keep the list completely up to date. A spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel is helpful because it helps you compute sales margins, discounts, and promos. If you’re using an e-commerce website like Shopify, the discounts and promos are calculated automatically, so you don’t have to worry very much. Still, make sure your prices have a good profit margin or you’re going to accidentally bankrupt yourself.

Label Everything Clearly

The most important thing is that your spreadsheet stays clean. You’ll want to label the columns clearly with each different category. These categories can be anything like product name, item number, color and price. If you’re working on creating an online catalog in an e-commerce store, you can upload your product photos directly to the platform. If not, it’s going to take one more step.

Create The Physical Catalog Layout

If you’re going to make a physical catalog, you need to create a visually appealing layout. You probably will want to hire a graphic designer, but if not, get acquainted with a design program like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. Next, put your price list information into the eye-catching catalog pages with plenty of enticing product photos. Save it as a PDF, then print a test copy to make sure it’s up to snuff. You can then opt to get physical copies printed and mailed to your customers or save it as a downloadable copy.

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About the Author

Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.