|Most of what I have been doing these days is working on our printed catalog. If you have ordered something from us in the past year or two, or if you have requested a catalog, you will be mailed one next month. Working on the catalog is brutal. It entails predicting pricing for the coming year and betting which products need to be featured. Even as I work on it I know more and more people are mostly shopping on-line. |
But a printed catalog has one major advantage over most store software: with a paper catalog, you can turn the page and browse. It's a quick way to get a handle on all the products a company sells, and even if the descriptions aren't very long, a good browse can be massively entertaining.
A well-done on-line store will allow you to go into different departments to search, but you can't browse and leaf through the catalog. Most on-line stores work using a "tree" format, and once you start reading the product description, you have to back up and go down the tree again. Also, because on-line stores try to figure out what you want, the suggestions and "Other people bought this" features can make you feel that someone is scrutinizing your purchases or aggressively selling rather than letting you acquaint yourself with the products.
With that in mind, I am pleased to announce what might be the most important new feature we have ever added to the store. Now when you click on a product, the top of the page will offer you a few icons of products before and after the product you are viewing so that you can page through the entire on-line catalog. We're trying to offer the convenience of on-line shopping coupled with what I'll call the meanderability of the printed catalog. Try it here and tell me what you think.
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