If you work in a small or medium-sized B2B company, you may not yet have started using B2B e-commerce product catalogs to advertise your products or services to other businesses.
However, online product catalogs are a marketing trend that all business-to-business companies are likely to need to adopt in the near future.
Online catalogs are already becoming increasingly popular among B2B companies, as they provide many benefits for these companies.
B2B industry online catalogs are not at all like magazines, and you do not read them like magazines. As a professional B2B buyer, you are not skimming through the material, but you are instead searching for information on a very specific product option to solve a particular challenge.
For KJV the leading Danish distributor of cutting tools, hand and machine tools, transmissions, technical products and products for automation for the metal- and machine industry, the optimized buying process is of big value to them:
The crucial aspect of providing value to a potential customer is, that the consultant is capable of answering questions - even complicated questions - right here and right now. iPaper makes this possible for us.
states Judith Vestmark Hansen, Marketing Coordinator at KJV.
Watch how you can improve your static B2B product catalogs and make them a higher value asset:
If you want to stay ahead of your competition and up to date with the latest techniques and ways of communicating today, then you should take the time to learn about B2B eCommerce product catalogs.
Marketing Manager; Viktorija Jasiuleviciute of Decoflame states:
We use the iPaper to create customized proposals and brochures for our potential and existing customers and partners. Each iPaper is targeted the exact potential partner with their logo, preferences and pricelist.
Decoflame is now actively using the digital flipbook more and more as a way of making new partnerships.
We started sending out customized iPapers to potential partners and got some new partners out of it. All of our partners, especially architects, interior designers and construction companies, really like that they can easily find everything they need in the same document. Pricelist, technical drawings, pictures and other info is all at the same place. And we can make it as nice looking as possible, which helps catching their interest and leads to a dialog and eventually a collaboration.
Marketing Manager; Viktorija Jasiuleviciute of Decoflame
What Is a B2B eCommerce Product Catalog?
There are different views about what a B2B eCommerce product catalog is.
In simple terms, the term can be understood in two ways; as PDF converted into an interactive online product catalog allowing direct ordering.
Or as an actual software, often hosted by larger providers such as Microsoft or SAP.
The right solution is very much dependent on your company's needs.
Usually, an online product catalog is a great fit for small to medium-sized business-to-business companies that don't have large budgets for buying software.
And for large cooperations that have a need for a collection of many item numbers and catalogs - for instantly via a digital binder:
In simple terms, an online product catalog is a publication that showcases your products or services. And with an e-commerce solution on top, it makes it super easy to order directly from the catalog.
Your existing customers and potential customers can browse the catalog to find out more about your organization and the products you currently offer.
Much like in the early days when large product catalogs were printed and shipped to distributors, and they could then pick out the items they wanted to sell to end-users.
Many customers enjoy browsing online eCommerce product catalogs because they present products in an attractive way and provide a lot of information about how the products can be used.
Online product catalogs are a great alternative to traditional print catalogs:
They allow your company to avoid the costs of printing and distributing catalogs to your clients.
Also, they give your customers a more compelling and engaging way to learn about the product lines that your brand offers.
In addition to that, a B2B eCommerce product catalog can be enriched in several ways, which we will look into in this blog post.
One of the biggest advantages of the online product catalog is the possibility of eCommerce, which allows for instant and direct shopping without ever leaving the catalog.
Like in below example, where variations in size and color, show up when clicking on the basket icon:
Learn how to improve your static PDF's and make them a High-Value Asset. Get the Free Professional Tryout by clicking here:
What’s the Difference Between an Online Product Catalog and a PDF?
You may already be using PDFs to showcase your products to your clients.
So what's the big difference between that and an online product catalog?
Whereas PDFs can fulfill the basic role of a catalog, showcasing products to browsing customers, they don’t have the same range of interactive features that online product catalogs can offer.
In an interactive catalog, you can include pop-ups that give more information about the products or pop-ups to collect
Although it's possible to embed some of these features into a PDF, this can make the file very big. Meaning that it takes a long time for customers to download.
Large files can cause frustration for customers and make them go elsewhere to find the products they want.
BENEFITS OF A B2B E-COMMERCE PRODUCT CATALOG
Compared to a static PDF it's easy to point out the advantages of a B2B eCommerce product catalog:
- easy and instant update with information, prices etc.
- easy to maintain
- full access to updated product information everywhere
- excellent search functionality and navigation
- interactive features
- integration between catalog and web shop
- order direct from the catalog
- statistics and heat map
- inspirational universe
- low load time
- binder module to serve as a product encyclopedia (catalog organizer)
- responsive on all devices
- eases communication internally and externally
- customized proposals and brochures for potential and existing customers and partners. (Target the exact potential partner with their logo, preferences and pricelist)
Converting PDFs to B2B E-Commerce Product Catalogs
If you already use PDFs on your site to show off your products, you have already made a great start in marketing your brand online.
Using an online catalog creator tool, you can convert your PDFs to catalogs, adding interactive features that will delight your readers, hold their interest, and perhaps even encourage them to make a purchase.
Take a look at this example:
Why Use B2B E-Commerce Product Catalogs?
According to a recent report from Frost and Sullivan, the Business-to-business e-commerce market is changing.
One of the biggest e-commerce trends in 2016 is a focus on the customer experience.
Today’s customers expect to be able to view high-resolution product images and other types of rich content, along with detailed information about the product specifications, to guide them in their purchasing decisions.
With an e-commerce product catalog, you have the unique opportunity to showcase your products with beautiful images and embed videos to make the experience as interactive as possible and ensure a rich user experience.
Some companies have rethought the entire concept of product catalogs as we knew it with new formats.
Here is an example from Bodybike where they use the full width of their online catalog to show images and use storytelling in their product marketing to make their brand unique.
It’s Time to Move Online
Studies also show that digital catalogs are taking over from traditional print catalogs.
In 2016, 69 percent of businesses said that they planned to stop printing their offline catalogs within the next five years.
Instead, they are creating online catalogs that offer greater convenience to the modern customer.
How to Reach Your Customers Online
Business buyers are increasingly turning away from traditional print catalogs and moving online.
You need to find out where your customers are spending time online and find ways to reach out to them.
This approach will help you attract new buyers, as well as building stronger relationships with your existing business customers.
Many Business-to-business companies today find they need to take a multi-channel approach to marketing to reach all of their target markets.
That could mean reaching out to customers on social media and building email lists that you can use to keep in touch with your customer base, as well as creating a strong website that is the hub of your digital marketing efforts.
Today’s B2B customers expect to receive a high-quality customer experience across all channels, so you must ensure you can meet their expectations.
How to Use Online Product Catalogs to Drive a Modern Marketing Strategy
B2B e-commerce product catalogs are a vital part of a modern multichannel marketing strategy.
You can host these catalogs on your website and share them widely on social media, therefore reaching out to your customers in the places they spend time online.
You can also use your online catalogs to capture customers’ contact details, therefore building email lists that you can use to keep in touch with them.
How to Use Your B2B E-Commerce Product Catalogs for Lead Generation
Lead generation is more important than ever. In the competitive marketplace that many business-to-business customers face today, you need to have a reliable process for turning browsing buyers into leads and leads into paying customers.
Online product catalogs can help you in your lead generation efforts. Here are a few features you can use to generate leads from your online product catalog.
Embedding pop-ups into your e-commerce product catalog is a good way to reach out to customers while they are browsing your product range.
You can insert pop-ups including links to your website where customers can get more information about particular products.
Or use pop-ups where your customers can order flyers or other material from you (Here's an example from a BOSCH supplier in Denmark, where the sales place can easily order campaign brochures via a pop-up):
This makes the browsing experience much more enjoyable for the buyer and can lead to them spending more time engaging with your marketing materials as well as driving more traffic to your website.
Pop-ups can also encourage customers to input their email address in order to join your mailing list.
This gives you an opportunity to reach out to customers with additional information, discounts, special offers or news about your brand. Here's how:
Online Chat and Messages
Another useful feature of your digital marketing strategy is online chat.
This feature allows your customers to talk to a salesperson in real time.
Online chat features give your digital marketing strategy a personal touch, which is very important in today’s marketplace, where even business buyers expect to be treated as individuals, not as a part of a generic customer base.
Online chat operatives can answer customers’ questions about your brand’s products or services, give advice to buyers who aren’t sure which solution they need for their businesses, and even help to close sales by directing customers to the e-commerce store.
If you are not able to sit tight by the computer and answer questions directly, try implementing
The Message feature then tells your visitor that they will receive a reply as quickly as possible, which is a great alternative to both you and your visitors.
Tracking and Analytics
Gathering data about your customers and the ways in which they interact with your brand can help you build a stronger and better lead generation strategy.
When you use online catalogs instead of plain PDFs to display your products, you can track how your users interact with your catalogs.
For example, you can find out where your readers come from in the world, how they found your catalog, and whether they are first-time or returning visitors to your site.
This data can help you better understand the demographics of your customer base and how they interact with your marketing materials.
When you can see which catalogs and which features drive customers to go to your e-commerce store and make a purchase or sign up to your mailing list, you can refine your marketing strategy to improve your overall conversion rate and lead-generation activities.
How to Get Started With Online Product Catalogs
Using online product catalogs as part of your overall digital marketing strategy doesn’t have to be difficult.
Although there is a learning curve involved in finding out how to create e-commerce product catalogs, there are tools that can help you learn how to turn your print and PDF designs into beautiful and interactive online catalogs for your B2B company.
As you become familiar with these tools, you can learn how to create catalogs filled with increasing amounts of rich content, such as videos, images, animations, pop-ups and other multimedia features.
By collecting data that shows how visitors to your site and social media profiles interact with your online catalogs, you can refine your designs to improve their effectiveness for lead generation and conversion.
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You can try it for free. No strings attached:
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Do you want to get ahead of the other business-to-business companies operating in your field?
If you like to be always at the cutting edge, you might be interested in our digital flipbooks with built in lead generation tools.
We’re offering a free trial license so why not try it out today to kick-start your new lead generation strategy and ensure your brand stays ahead of your competition?