Catalogs aren’t anything new. In fact, we’ve been using them to shop for our favorite products since the 1800s. That’s over 200 years now!
Today, retailers aren’t offering traditional in-store shopping experiences anymore (at least not exclusively). Instead, they’re shifting their focus to e-commerce, paying attention to consumer trends, and reworking their business models to meet the needs of people who prefer buying things online (nearly all of us).
Product catalogs for retail marketing
As a result, catalogs are experiencing a renaissance of innovation in the digital retail space.
According to Chron, catalog marketing is “a sales technique used by businesses to group many items together in a printed piece or an online store, hoping to sell at least one item to the recipient. Consumers buy directly from the catalog sender by phone, return envelope or online using information in the catalog.”
For e-tailers, catalogs work. Here are 7 undeniable reasons why:
1. Your inventory might and probably will change. Online catalogs can be updated instantly to reflect these changes.
2. Including a search option streamlines the entire shopping experience. Customers can find products quickly and access your catalog from anywhere.
3. Items are purchased immediately, and virtual shopping carts facilitate the process. You’ll be selling stuff even when your store is closed.
4. With analytics, you’ll know which products sell and which ones don’t. Leverage this data to refine your marketing strategy and improve your catalog’s profitability.
5. Online distribution is very, very easy. Share an eCatalog on popular social media sites like Facebook, for example, where prospective customers can follow your brand.
6. Digital catalogs are viewable on all major mobile devices and platforms.
7. They’re interactive and aesthetically pleasing, too, meaning audiences can learn every single detail about a product before they buy it (from videos, slideshows, etc.).
Create a product catalog by uploading a PDF
If you've already mapped out your content on a PDF file, upload it to a content marketing platform (CMP) and convert PDF into interactive digital HTML5 catalog.
Create a product catalog from a predesigned template
Many CMPs offer free, ready-to-go templates. Find one that works for your store and the products you sell. Then add, edit, or remove any part of it.
Adding interactive elements
With interactivity included, eCatalogs offer more enjoyable and involved shopping experiences. Below are several interactive elements you can add to yours:
Hotspots: tag products with hotspots. When shoppers click on one, you’ll auto-direct them to your website where they can find more information about it.
Videos: showcase products in vivid detail with comprehensive video overviews.
Audio: music serves an incredibly important purpose in retail stores. The right kind can even influence buying behavior. Upload MP3 or SoundCloud audio files to your electronic catalog and set the perfect tone.
Slideshows: showcase multiple products in one slideshow.
Feedback plugins: receive feedback from customers as they’re viewing your publication.
Subscribe plugins: once viewers fall in love with your content, they’ll want to subscribe to it. Make it easy for them. Joomag’s Email Subscribe plugin collects and sends their emails right to your inbox.
Rating plugins: let viewers rate their shopping experiences.
Other useful features to consider
Branding: add logos to your product catalog and showcase your brand in style.
Branded apps: publish content on a custom branded app. Let mobile shoppers access your products from anywhere in the world.
1-click updates: making some last-minute changes to your inventory? Edit published content in real-time and you’re ready to roll.
Distribution: with so much noise in the content marketing space, even the best digital catalogs can get lost in the crowd. Use multiple distribution channels (like link sharing, social networks, custom domain linking, embedding, and branded apps) to ensure yours won’t.
Lead generation: looking to turn your eCatalog into a lean, mean, lead generating machine? Great! There’s a lot of competition out there, so you’ll need a reliable way to turn casual visitors into leads and leads into paying customers. Get started by embedding subscription forms and pop-ups into your catalog.
Analytics: data can tell you a lot about your content. But knowing is only half the battle. You’ll also need to leverage that information to improve your online catalog and understand what consumers really like.
There’s a lot more to cover, but we couldn’t fit it all into this tiny blog post. Don’t worry, you can learn more about retail marketing in our fact-packed white paper, Digital Innovation in Retail.
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