Digital Marketing Blog

17 Oct 2017

Why Your E-Catalogs Are Not Fit for Black Friday (And How to Fix it)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday generate a tremendous amount of revenue for retailers.

And we see a trend: the sale is moving online. 

2015 was the first year where the number of online consumers exceeded the number of store-based consumers around Black Friday (103 million and 102 million in the USA, respectively). Last year online consumers outnumbered offline consumers during this time of year with 109 million online shoppers compared to 99 million in-store shoppers. 2016 online sales hit a record high in America with $3.34 billion spent on Black Friday. Compared to the $2.74 billion of 2015, it's a 21.6 percent increase in one year! 

Related read: 12 Reasons Why an E-catalog can Increase Your B2B Sales

In other words: Consumers are relying more and more on the internet to get the best deals for their holiday purchases. 

Are your e-catalogs fit for this? 

Consumers transition to online

Consumers continue to transition from physical stores to mobile and online shopping. This year, online sales will most likely surpass in-store sales for the third year in a row.  

black_friday_catalog_salesPersonally, I totally understand why online sales outpace offline sales around this busy shopping day:
  • It's mostly hassled free
  • Buying online is easy and fast
  • There's an abundance of deals and offers just in front of you
  • You can easily compare prices
  • No queues, noise, horseplay, pushing and running
  • No heavy lifting: goods delivered to your door or a nearby pick-up place
  • You get weekly, daily and hourly offers served to you on a plate (and bought with a few clicks).

The move towards online sale impacts webshops and how they manage their e-commerce solution including their inspirational online catalogs.

E-commerce is becoming an increasingly more important part of all businesses. There has been a shift in how consumers browse and purchase, and a key driver of this transformation is mobile, which has supported a massive increase in the popularity of digital catalogs.

Online catalogs allow you to display messages, deals, etc. in an inspirational and engaging environment that urges people to buy. 

Video, animations, pop-ups, forms, and links are all elements that help to convert your audience into actual customers.  

interactive catalogs encourages people to buy


But you might be wondering:

Why even bother to use online catalogs, when you can just display your goods and deals on your webshop? 


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Why Even Use Catalogs For Black Friday?

Well, first of all, online catalogs are a superb place to display products, deals, and offers in a more beautiful and inspirational environment than you can do on a webshop. 

engage readers with online catalogs.jpeg

Secondly, online catalogs give you the opportunity to present better messages, visuals and engage your audience, so they buy from you and not your competition.  

Moreover, there's no continuous scrolling an endless list of somewhat uninspirational product pictures. 

From the maintenance side, it's easy to update with price changes, discounts, extra photos, animations and CTA's within a platform such as iPaper. 

More importantly, we can see that readers do like this kind of format, where they get inspired and quickly can find the deals. Without having to search a whole website. This is particularly relevant for seasonal events, such as Black Friday, where you only want to focus on specific deals. 

For example:

The electronics company, formerly known as Expert Norway - now Power - experienced an incredible average time spent on their Black Friday 2016 e-catalog just below 6 minutes and with a total of more than 1 million page views! 

Wow, that's impressive numbers with a population of just above 5 million people. 

But it gets better:

For several companies using online catalogs, their catalogs are the most visited content on their entire website. 




Let's get some more facts on the table. Within the electronics industry using these digital catalogs, some clients experience that 70% of their readers read the iPaper flipbook from beginning to end. 70%! 


70 (1).png


People go to catalogs to get inspired. But you might be questioning, whether these views also convert into actual sales?

The short answer is yes. 

This is crazy:

To dig into a few numbers; for a client within tools, work clothes, and work gear the investment in the e-catalog comes back x 4.000. 

Another example is the cross-border retailer Fleggaard. Their online coordinator explains that more than 10% of their online orders come from their e-commerce catalog. Read what they have to say in the full case here. »

Don't just take my word for it. 

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Let's look at some real examples from last years Black Friday.

Expert Norway (now Power), used their e-catalogs to drive sales the entire week up to Black Friday with daily countdown offers: 

2017-10-04 09_33_04-Expert Kundeavis.png

Another trick was to have a price robot that made sure to present unbeatable prices on more items. 

This was done, by inserting percentages on those specific items, and when clicking on the product, customers landed on the product on the website with the updated lowest prices - guaranteeing the best deal. 

As you can see, Expert used shopping icons to make people shop from the e-catalog. 

2017-10-04 09_32_21-Expert Kundeavis.png

Another example from last year is Elgiganten Sweden, another electronics company. They used their e-catalog to save a spot for a secret offer, which they then revealed at a specific time: Friday at 00:01 AM. 

Via the automatic schedule of iPaper, they could make a catalog with below black secret product: 

2017-10-04 09_23_53-Elgiganten.png

At precisely, 00:01 AM the catalog then changed and displayed the mysterious product. A very forceful way of hyping up the item. 

Elgiganten used their catalog to gain more revenue with a quick overview of all offers and a direct connection to the webshop.  

Their Danish sister company, Elgiganten Denmark, goes a step further and allows direct shopping within the e-catalog. 

Like in below example, where a blue pop-up bar appears, when clicking on the buy button. You can either choose to add-to-basket or get more product details. The latter sends you directly to the webshop. 

2017-10-04 14_32_46-Elgiganten's aktuelle tilbudsavis _


When added to the basket, you can open the basket and see what it contains:


2017-10-04 14_40_43-.png


When clicking on "shop," you are instantly sent to check-out on the webshop, for a smooth shopping experience:


2017-10-04 14_42_06-Elgiganten.png



Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most prominent shopping days of the year. And they are approaching rapidly. Are your e-commerce solution and online materials ready for these shopping days? 


It's no longer good enough to have online catalogs if they aren't connected to your webshop. Especially around big shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where consumers are looking for quick deals and are shopping fast to get the best price. If you still haven't integrated your online catalogs with your e-commerce solution, you're going to lose a potential sale to your competition. 

Online consumers are impatient and want a smooth shopping experience from browsing to actual purchase.  

This means as few clicks as possible. 


e-catalogs connected to webshop

Bottom line:

Online catalogs are highly appreciated by readers because it inspires and engages them. It's highly valued by companies, as it makes people stay longer on site, and drives sales. 

But what if your online documents aren't connected to your e-commerce solution, and you're losing the browsing audience to your competition? 

How to Fix it?

Drive sales directly from your online catalog by integrating it with your existing webshop and transforming your publications to e-catalogs. 

You can do this in 4 simple steps:


You need a branded domain to make the publication look like it's hosted on your domain, and to facilitate that the release can communicate with your webshop.

On the technical side, this requires that you have admittance to the DNS setup for your domain. If you don't, your IT department, Web administrator or hosting provider will have access. 

To set up your Branded Domain, you choose a CNAME alias for your existing domain.


The subdomain created as a CNAME alias should point to

Then contact iPaper support at for us to create the domain within our system.


You can use one specific domain as the basis for various publications. This allows all subfolders/publications to inherit from the domain.  Please be aware, that you can only have one folder as the root of a specific branded domain. 


The next step is to iframe the catalog on your web page. Iframes are used to show dynamic content without reloading the web page. 

The Iframe behaves like an inline image, and the URL of your branded domain is used to communicate with the publication in this iframe. 

Iframes can be inserted anywhere within a web page layout.



Whenever someone clicks on a product in the iPaper catalog, the iPaper platform generates a shop event.


Your JavaScript API "listens" to the shop events created in iPaper and uses this information to automatically put the items in the basket on your webshop. 




Optimize your product catalog in 4 steps:

1. Organize your deals in groups and sets

Use your product catalog to make inspirational environments with complementary products to cross-sell or up-sell. With inspirational product catalogs, you can organize your products and deals just the way you like. Like in this example from the Norwegian interior company, Kid Interiør

2017-10-05 09_18_25-Kundeavis uke 40-41.png


2. Enrich and Engage

Make your product catalogs an engaging experience for the user by adding enrichments such as 

  • Product videos
  • Animations
  • Pop-ups boxes with extra product information
  • Links to other pages or webshop
  • Shopping icons
  • CTA'S

With enrichments, you can engage your audience quickly. From educational videoes, eye-catching animations, enriching product data, easy navigation, enticing CTA's to a final quick buying process. 

3. Custom Link Import

Save time and money by automating the process of adding links, like product ID's or shop icons to your online catalogs. IPapers' Custom Link Import saves hours and hours of manual labor on adding links. 

4. Make it uncomplicated to shop directly from catalog

With all of your product catalog enriched and all of your links in place, you are ready to sell. Make sure that it's easy to shop directly from your catalog and catch your browsing audience while you can. 

Insert shopping icons and links that are connected to your webshop to make your catalog a one-stop-shopping experience.  


shop from catalog on black friday.png


If you need any advice or help to find out more, book a meeting with our iPaper Specialist, Janne Bjørnæs. She will be happy to chat with you about your challenges with creating engaging online product catalogs and converting visitors into actual customers.

About the author

Bettina Oksen Bendorf

Bettina Oksen Bendorf

Bettina is an Inbound Marketing Specialist. I have a passion for creating relevant content with focus on the receivers’ needs. Always with the customers’ point of view in focus: “What’s in it for me?”. Chocolate lover and fitness junkie.

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