Digital Marketing Blog

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02 Oct 2017

How E-Catalogs Generate Online Sales in Retail (Case)

You launch your online product catalog, you promote it, you sell a few products, and after a while you acknowledge something. 

You aren't selling nearly half as much from your online catalog as you expected! 

Your online product catalogs get a lot of traffic and views, but they don't provide enough direct revenue. One solution is to promote it even more. Another option is to optimize it for search engines to get more traffic to, and hopefully, more orders from, your catalog. But search engine optimization is often a long haul, which doesn't provide you with immediate results. 

Even though we always recommend to optimize your flipbooks for search engines, a better option is to get your customers to shop directly from your catalog. 

Now:

In this blog post, I'll look at how the market leader within Danish-German cross-border retail, Fleggaard, gets more than 10% of online orders from its online product catalogs without doing any extra promotion.  

I'll look at:

  • Most visited content on the website
  • How e-catalogs increased online orders 
  • The technical stuff of how to transform catalogs to e-catalogs

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E-catalogs are the most visited content on the website

Fleggaard is known by more than 95% of the Danes and is one of the biggest players on the cross-border retail market.

They use online catalogs as a critical element to get sales, attract, and retain customers in inspirational environments. With a bi-monthly retail brochure, they captivate their audience with special offers, promotions, and loyalty rewards. 

Brian Klindt, Online Coordinator at Fleggaard, explains, why online catalogs have a clear place in your sales and marketing channel:

Our customers value both our printed and digital catalogs. They expect them to be there. If we didn't have this solution, we would lose out to our competitors. In the online catalogs, we can make more beautiful and inspirational combinations and environments. Our catalogs also give us an opportunity to present better messages than we could do in a webshop. 

It gets better:

 

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We see a clear tendency where consumers increasingly opt out of receiving printed catalogs and accordingly, Fleggaard sees a yearly increase in the number of readers of their digital publications.

As the online publications were (and are) the most visited content on Fleggaard's website, they had a remarkable potential. However, they did not generate as much revenue, as Fleggaard hoped. 

You might be wondering:

How come the catalogs didn't perform as expected when they had so much traffic? 

The answer is quite simple: It wasn't easy enough to shop directly from the catalog. 

Fleggaard has always had an add-to-basket function in their catalog, which added items to a shopping list. To be honest, customers weren't using the feature, as much as Fleggaard would like. Maybe because it was too difficult to switch between catalog and webshop and to find the listed offers on the webshop.  

So the company pursued a smoother shopping experience. To chase online orders a clear next step was to integrate their catalogs directly with their webshop. 

Goal:

to optimize the buying process by making it a lot easier to order directly from the catalog.

 

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HOW E-CATALOGS INCREASE ONLINE ORDERS 

The upgrade to an integrated e-commerce solution proved more efficient and a better fit for customers. People can now place orders instantly without ever having to leave the catalog. 

Want to know the best part? 

With the e-commerce flipbook integration, Fleggaard saw a significant increase in orders.

Today more than 10% of online orders contain items from the e-catalog!

Amazing! 

By implementing the new technology, Fleggaard is giving their readers the best combination of inspirational catalogs and a smooth shopping experience.

We can see that our customers genuinely embrace the online catalog concept, with an average time spent on catalogs of just below 7 minutes. Some of our catalogs have an average time spent of about 8 minutes. And time spent on catalogs is year-round, so it isn't just the Christmas season that increases this number, although, Christmas is, of course, positive in the statistics regarding orders and order value. 

Thanks to the investment in the e-commerce flipbook integration, the overall e-commerce experience is more dynamic today. Users only have to handle one basket and can add items both from catalog and webshop. 

By using the iPaper software, and keeping everything in one place, Fleggaard avoids disrupting the neat user experience and is keeping pace with developments in e-commerce.

To increase your order quantity, you’ll need to convince customers to add items to their cart and check out. Let’s talk about how you can encourage that.

1) Make it easy to add to cart

Today's digital shoppers are an impatient breed. With the attention span lower than that of a goldfish, you need to catch them where they are. Do this by making it as easy as possible to shop directly from your catalog. 

If your readers have to make extra clicks to go from catalog to webshop to find the goods, then you'll lose a considerable amount of them. 

By adding a shopping icon next to the goods, as Fleggaard does here, it's easy to see where to click. 

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VALUABLE INFORMATION - CALL TO ACTION BUTTONS:

When creating a retail catalog, the most critical factor of getting conversions is the call to action buttons.

Make sure your CTAs:

  • are easy to see
  • stand out from the rest of the catalog
  • are neither too small or too big
The customer must be able to use them on all platforms including tablets and cellular phones. 

In this case, the CTA is a green shopping icon, which stands out:

 

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Also, make it simple to add quantity to basket:

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An example where you can quickly change quantity. The CTA is a big green "add to basket" button. 

This simple feature made a big difference for Fleggaards e-commerce solution. They haven't done anything to promote it, but within a short time, they experienced that more than 10% of online orders came from the e-catalogs. Only by making it intuitive to shop from the catalog.

 

2) Make it easy to check out

A plain and simple check out process is likewise key to making those conversions. Too many steps can hinder check-out. 

Fleggaard has a progress bar, which shows the total number of steps in the check-out process and how far you are in it. 

 

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3) USE A LOYALTY OR VIP-PROGRAMME

A study from the Center for Retail Management from Northwestern University found that loyal customers represent between 55 - 70% of total sales. 

 

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You can use loyalty programs as a retention strategy and help forge the relationship between customers and your brand. Loyalty programs can also help to increase the average order value of your store. 

Fleggaard knows the value of returning visitors. They use the loyalty approach in the form of user-login, where customers with user accounts get access to:

  • a favorite list
  • previous orders
  • digital export declaration
  • and not to forget: more good deals.

 

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This function is widely used and provides Fleggaard with profiles and essential value in its database. With names and emails, they have another effective communication channel: email.  

4) USE EMAIL to trigger sales 

Many of the clients visiting your catalog won’t buy anything on the first visit. That’s why it’s vital to use lead generation tools like pop-ups or forms to get them to sign up to your newsletter. The iPaper platform provides you with both options at no extra charge.

Email is a valuable tool to retain existing customers. Fleggaard uses email to their sign-ups to promote their e-catalogs. They also send trigger emails when people who signed up, put items in the basket without finishing the purchase. This has improved the total number of online orders.  

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5) USE TRACKING TO improve your work

Use the system stats to improve your work. Especially time per page and the heatmaps are essential.

The time spent pr. page will give you an idea of where your clients spent most of their time, and that can be used to add lead generation or another call to action that keeps the clients in your “universe.”

The heatmap shows you where the clients click the most and what products are hot. This can be used to insert relevant CTAs, improve the CTA buttons, and to make those a bit more interesting than the others.

The last thing is that you shouldn't wait to improve the next catalog or wait until the campaign is over. Improve during the campaign to increase sales immediately. 

 

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THE TECHNICAL STUFF: HOW TO TRANSFORM CATALOGS TO E-CATALOGS 

If you're interested in the technical stuff behind the integration, this section is for you. 

1) Set up Branded Domain

A branded domain makes the publication appear like it's hosted on your domain. You need this for enabling your webshop and the iPaper platform to "communicate" internally. 

Branded domain requires that you have access to the DNS setup for your domain. Alternatively, you can forward the task below to your IT Department, Web Administrator or Hosting Provider.

To settle your Branded Domain, you will need to have a CNAME Alias created for your existing domain.

Example: 
nameofyourchoice.yourdomain.com

Create the subdomain as a CNAME alias pointing to viewer.ipaper.io.

Once you have generated this, please inform iPaper at support@ipaper.io for the domain to be created within our system.

BONUS TIP:  

It's possible to use one specific domain as the root of several publications. Thus the domain will be inherited to all subfolders/publications. Please note that only one Flipbook/folder can be the root of a specific branded domain.

If you want to create a domain root for a category or folder, just click on it and select Settings. Then follow step 2 to 7.

How to enable Branded Domain:

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select Modules
  3. Select Branded Domain
  4. Switch the ON/OFF switch to ON
  5. Enter the Branded Domain in the Domain box. (Leave out http://)
  6. Check the box Domain root if you wish to make this the root of the domain                download.png
  7. Press Save all

2) IFRAME THE CATALOG ON YOUR WEBSITE

The Iframe (short for inline frame) inserts the publication to a web page on your website. The Iframe behaves like an inline image and is used to embed the interactive e-commerce catalog on your web pages.

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.

Many web applications use Iframes because they can display dynamic content without reloading the web page.

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3) Clicks create shop event in iPaper

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

4) Insert a JavaScript integration

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

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E-Commerce integration increases orders

With iPaper's smooth e-commerce integration the order process has been streamlined, demanding fewer clicks from the catalog-browsing audience. This has both optimized conversions and increased orders.  

Therefore, the e-commerce technology has been a well-regarded improvement for Fleggaard.  

Read the whole case here »

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If you want to know more about e-commerce via catalogs, just reach out. 

Leave a comment, and I'll get back to you. Or you can email me a bob@ipaper.io

I'll also appreciate it if you share this post with others who can benefit from an e-commerce catalog integration. 

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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