Industrial supplies: Lab Safety Supply, January 1999 General Catalog

An awesome offering. The most complete I have seen. It gets bigger and better every year.” That’s how one of the panelists describes the merchandising in the Gold Award-winning Lab Safety Supply catalog. Another judge adds, “It’s a perfect 10!”

For certain, at nearly 2,000 pages, this is a colossal marketing effort. “I doubt that Lab Safety has missed anything,” says one judge. Although a book this size could be intimidating or overwhelming, the cataloger makes every effort to ensure that the catalog is easy to shop from. A color-coded table of contents divides the safety and industrial supplies offerings into sections. Blow-in cards detail the company’s technical services, and Post-it Notes bound into each catalog allow customers to flag the pages of products they want. “This book is user-friendly beyond belief,” says a judge in admiration.

Sharp, clear photographs just about jump off the page, while colorful graphs and charts add interest and organization. Thanks to lots of photographs of people modeling or demonstrating the products, the cataloger creates a “wonderful balance of interspersing a human element – without overdoing it,” one of the judges says.

Lab Safety really shines when it comes to copy; in fact, all of the judges give the cataloger’s copy the highest possible score. Product descriptions begin with a benefit subhead, followed by clearly identified product specifications and compliance certification. The catalog often uses brand names to reinforce the copy, and it bullet-points the benefits of some items.

Customer service is a top priority for Lab Safety. The first 10 pages of the catalog introduce the company and its services to readers; the last six pages are devoted to ordering information and a resource directory. An “outstanding” customer service and ordering section includes a fold-out card with all the services clearly identified, and for first-time orders, the ordering process is broken into four steps. A 100% “no risk” guarantee ensures customer satisfaction.

Despite a complex product line and an imposing 1,956 pages, Lab Safety could not be easier to use, the judges agree. “A great deal of thought has gone into marketing the concept of this catalog, and it shows,” raves one panelist. Another judge proclaims: “Meticulous detail brings this catalog to new levels never before seen in the catalog industry.”

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