Designer boutiques inspire catalogue design


Presenting products in situ is a tried-and-tested catalogue
creative technique. The BTC by Design catalogue, from the Bishop
Trading Company, takes this concept a step further: All the
products it sells are photographed in room settings, with the
catalogue emulating a designer boutique. Customers are presented
with designs for a Town and Country hallway, an Oriental Opulence
sitting room, a Dream in Cream bedroom. Alongside the copy for
each room is a “Designers’ Secrets” tip box, to
further help customers re-create the style at home.

Managing director Max Bishop established Bishop Trading in 2005
to import home furnishings from India and Vietnam. In October
2008, the company produced its first catalogue; the second
edition mailed in October 2009. “We’ll be printing a new
catalogue next spring,” says Bishop, who aims to mail
seasonally as of 2010. He also hopes to add suppliers from China,
the Philippines, Portugal, and South Africa in the coming months.
The catalogue has had a “fortunate phenomenal
reception” from the UK and European media, Bishop proudly
notes, with BTC appearing on average in seven magazine and
newspaper features each month.

Reaction has been positive from customers too, he says. “We
hold focus groups every six months and have had marketing
questionnaires with a choice of products to win to incentivise
response… Fortunately the customers’ reaction has been positive
and complimentary.” Without disclosing specifics, Bishop
says turnover had risen “fairly accurately to our revised
forecasts from October 2008 and particularly increased since
March 2009”.

BTC by Design targets professional and affluent consumers 30-45
years old. It also aims to appeal to over-50s looking at buying a
second home and retired people seeking to downsize but buy a few
key pieces. BTC used its own database of names as well as rented
lists to mail 55,000 copies of its first two editions. It also
sends copies to requesters at a rate of eight per day, says
Bishop.

As well as a catalogue, BTC by Design maintains an ecommerce
site. The company has embarked on a link-building programme,
“constantly updating” its search-engine marketing for
natural listings and pay-per-click advertising, says Bishop, and
has a presence on five affiliate sites. BTC by Design is also
“constantly blogging” and participating in forum
conversations. It recently added to its site “short films
with products featured and celebrity friends,” Bishop
says.

BTC has set its sights on opening three showrooms in the next
three years. It already operates a showroom at its warehouse in
the Cotswolds, and Oxfordshire will be the next destination, says
Bishop, who also plans to open a store in Edinburgh in 2011.
These stores will predominantly serve BTC’s trade
customers-interior designers, hoteliers, restaurateurs-who make
up 30 percent of the customer database.

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