Part two of this three-part article focuses on the options available when creating a custom catalog.

Bell & Sons has been a distributor of foodservice equipment and supplies in Redford, Michigan, since 1957. After decades of steady growth, the company is focused on serving its core market, but also has a goal of gradually broadening its scope, including jan/san products.

The company had its own catalog, but sales reps realized a gap. The printed piece didn’t adequately address non-foodservice products and markets. The company doesn’t have dedicated marketing staff, and needed help expanding its reach without a sizable investment. For help, they turned to their redistributor.

RJ Schinner created a new catalog to use alongside the other. Its cover included the Bell & Sons logo and contact information. Inside are only the products the distributor sells, including vendors it works with outside of RJ Schinner. It also uses Bell & Sons’ specific part numbers.

“RJ Schinner is invisible on it,” says owner Greg Bell. “To our customer, it just appears like our catalog. Also, it uses our own part numbers from our database, which makes it very easy to interact with our customers.”

The catalog combines Bell & Sons’ high-volume products with its lesser-known janitorial offerings. Sales reps take it to existing customers in normal channels to educate them on items they may not normally associate with the company.

“Our customers don’t think of us as much in the janitorial category, and this is an opportunity to convey to them what we have,” says Bell.

Reps also use the blended catalog, alongside the original foodservice version and more narrowly focused manufacturer materials, when calling on potential customers.

“It’s very nice to walk in with a full arsenal of catalogs to show people the full cross-section of what you can do,” says Bell.

Likewise, the custom catalogs are useful at trade shows, says Bell, where they can be handed out for later review.

The new books also educate the company’s own sales reps, reminding them about the full range of products available in their sales arsenal.

“When it’s in the catalog, it’s an easy way to go back and get information, because the part number is right there,” says Bell. “RJ Schinner has a website preloaded with our numbers and the reps can get pricing right there.”

In addition to the custom catalog, RJ Schinner has also provided Bell & Sons with flyers to push specific products or categories. Distributors can use these simple promotional pieces monthly, quarterly or sporadically to highlight new products, consolidate inventory using discounts or drive seasonal sales.

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Jan/san Distributors Turn To Wholesalers For Unique Catalogs
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Janitorial Supply Wholesalers Can Serve As Marketing Arm