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Creating a CD of your online Catalogue

And suggestions/advice etc appreciated

7:53 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi There...

I have an ecom site with probably a 1000+ products. We continually get requests for a catalgue, but we are not prepared to produce anything paper based due to the cost, and constant changes in product range.

We'd like to produce a cd, but not sure how best to go about this... is there any software out there that can create an interactive cd?

My other thoughs, are writing an ASP script to chuck out the products into a suitable layout, and then save this as a PDF, stick this on the CD with the Adobe installer.

Or, write an ASP script that builds a set of html files, again stick these on a cd, and possibly add installers for FireFox or similar.

What do you think?

11:37 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We've had to deal with the same issue. Ironically, catalog requests only appear on our largest e-com sites (500+ products). ;)

I agree that it is not financially feasible for even a minimum print run (1000 units), especially if your consumer base is entirely Internet-driven.

Printing vs. CD press costs may still pose a problem, but with 1000+ products, I'd venture a guess that CDROM's are the cheapest route. The min. cost you're looking at is about 1.25/ea for 1,000 CD-ROMs with 4/4 cmyk color print, glass press, jewel case, shrink wrap--the basic "works". This does not include development costs. Postage may or may not be a problem depending on your finances for this project.

I will say, though, that this would be my last consideration. I can easily find a graphic artist at 1/3rd the cost to create a printer-friendly PDF of an entire catalogue for online viewing, printing or download.

The benefits of going the PDF route are clearly evident, but it does depend on your market.

Good luck,


7:18 pm on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How much would you say it would cost to even graphically SET UP the catalog?

This is something else to consider...

aside from printing, postage, and other shipping expenses (envelopes, packing up 1000s of catalogues) you have to pay someone to actually design it!

my advice would be to get a very reasonable expected revenue number you think you can obtain (remember, be reasonable), and figure out if it will be worth it to undertake all those costs and hours of work.

i've been toying with it too, but right now i'm just plugging away with internet advertising...it's just so cheap!

Zack (not Shak)

9:17 pm on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I have come a cross programs that put your ecom site on to disk as a self start app.

Have you considered these?

4:18 pm on June 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've produced three catalogs so far - about 25 pages each. It is expensive - even just the printing costs.

I get quite a few "gee, I sure wish you had a catalog" comments from my online customers, which was a surprise until my wife pointed out how there's no substitute for a printed catalog she can paw over - and no substitute for accessing the merchants web site for ordering from said catalog!

I did consider a cat on CD, but it requires a computer and a "catalog" still means printed on paper to most of us. If your products are high dollar, then I think customers are more willing to access a CD for product info, but if not, I personally feel it more of a hassle than finding another vendor who does have a printed cat. (When electronic books become the norm, I'll be singing a different tune.)

Beleive it or not, I'm now going to laser print my next catalog as it is requested, and forget about mass-mailing until I can get revenues up enough to justify the expense. If that results in a resounding thumbs down due to quality, I'll go back to "sorry, no catalog at this time".

12:16 pm on June 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Design is not an issue, as i would simply create something that looked and behaved very much like the website, but without all the fancy bits - shopping cart etc - you'd get a simply category listing, that linked to a product listing for each category.

I can quite easily write an ASP file that will loop through the categories/products and produce a set of HTML files which i can then stick on a cd and run locally.

I have looked at some autorun programs that lauch the default browser with the specidied html file from the cd, so thats possible.

As for production runs of CD's - I'd simply burn the cd's to disk myself. I can't imagine the demand would be that high - we probably wouldn't advertise the cd catalogue, just send it out to customers who ask. burning one cd, sticking in an evelope a couple of times a week is no big deal.

Its interesting what you say about wanting to sit with a paper catalogue to flip through. I do this myself - i'll sit with my TLC catalogue in the lounge and flip through - its much quicker/easier and more comfortable that browsing through the website. And altermatly i glance at every product as oppossed to just the categories i think are worth clicking on.... so prehaps a cd is not the way to go.

So to round up - forgeting about production costs - what do you think to the html files on a cd with autorun program - effective or not? Any better way to produce a cataloge cd?

Thanks and apologies for the delay betwen me returning ;)