Digital Marketing Blog

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30 Oct 2017

How to Improve the Online Shopping Experience and Ultimately Sell More

Let's face it.

The online shopping experience mostly isn't much of an experience.

The problem is that traditional webshops are optimized primarily to search for one item at a time in a consecutive manner. Consumers find products by search or by looking through a category of somewhat similar products, such as pants, tops or sweaters. This linear pattern takes for granted that consumers know exactly what they are looking for and then head straight to checkout.   

But for many consumers, this isn't the case. 

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Especially not if they belong to the female species like me. I know that this is very generally speaking, but it's definitely true for my female friends and me. 

Related read: Shoppable content in online catalogs - how it works (11 examples)


All of my female friends and my self-included, like the event of shopping. Not just the finale purchase, but the whole experience, the hunt for a good deal or a unique item, and the browsing for something that inspires us. And we often shop for entire outfits and not just a single pair of pants. Especially if we are shopping for a special occasion, such as a party.  

We want to see what fits together. 

This is why the shopping basket of many female consumers looks something like this: 


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Above is an example of my basket at Zalando at the moment. Browsing to see what matches. Like so many others, all the items I just slightly consider, go to the basket. I'm not going to buy all of it - if any - just browsing and looking for combinations across categories. (I even put in 4 different red sweaters, for comparison!)

Female? Then you're probably nodding your head right now. 

Male? Then you probably don't understand my shopping behavior, and is maybe even thinking, why can't she just buy the one thing she was looking for. 

Well, the truth is, that I don't know what I'm looking for and what to buy. I might want to buy something, so I'm just browsing and looking for inspiration. 

Like a lot of other women do, when they go shopping. 

For a lot of men, shopping is a pain. This is why you'll most likely have seen something like this. 

article-2550919-1B2B74AC00000578-809_634x632-988513-edited.jpgImage Credit: The Miserable Men of Instagram.   

Men are waiting for their wifes, girlfriends, and sisters to finish their shopping. Probably wondering "why does it have to take so long?". 

Well, guys here's the bad news: 

For us females, shopping is more of an event than just buying. And events take time. Shopping is recreation, not work. We use it to relax and bond with our friends, and as a fun diversion. 

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women are the most powerful shoppers

According to Forbes, women are the world’s most powerful consumers, and their impact on the economy is growing every year. We female shoppers drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing either directly or indirectly via our influence. 

Viget, who designs better online experiences, wondered why most e-commerce websites are designed for and by males when women make up the majority of retail consumers.  

Yes, why is this?  

Most of the retail consumers (females) like the act of shopping and are frustrated with the conventional linear e-commerce. Viget asked a group of women what's missing from the current online shopping experience. Their answers can be summed up to these two quotes: 

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Image credit: Vidget. 

So, I say: Let's bring the shopping experience back to online shopping.

Create an Online shopping experience that satisfies the common way of shopping

Speak to the everyday human shopping habits by making a more enjoyable and engaging online shopping experience, and reach a broader and not least influential audience to increase your sales. 

You can do this by creating environments that inspire consumers to shop. Like presenting a variety of categories at once instead of a single product. 

Use an e-catalog to create this environment. Try our 14-day free trial, no strings attached.


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Like Bon' A Parte does in their e-catalog: 

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Bon' A Parte removes the pain of clicking through page after page of single product categories. Instead, they give their audience the excitement of discovery and a far more enjoyable shopping experience.

By including different combinations of outfits together with matching accessories, they have added the step of consideration, which is one of the most crucial steps for bridging the step between browsing and actual purchase. Bon' A Parte knows from the physical world that women more often shop for collections of items instead of just a single piece. They know that we want to know what that pair of pants looks like together with a shirt, top or cardigan. 

This page spread wouldn't have been nearly half as inspiring if it had shown only shirts. By making above kind of comparison shopping, there's a lot of potential for higher conversion. Not just a conversion from a search to a sale, but also the higher possibility of a multi-item purchase.  

Customers can choose the ordinary webshop experience or get inspired with different combinations, sets, and environments in their online catalogs. To bridge the gap between browsing and shopping, the company has chosen to include e-commerce in their digital flipbook so that customers can shop directly from them.

When clicking on the shop icon, an iframe opens up with the possibility of adding to the basket and still as an experience with recommendations for me to the right: 


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When clicking on the exit X, you're still in the catalog and can continue browsing. This way of catalog shopping satisfies the common way of shopping. 

Now, you might be wondering:

Well, doesn't this catalog shopping experience just speak to women? 

The answer is no. Brands within industries as different as electronics, music, liquor, books, and cars also aimed at males, see a significant increase in both revenues, visitors, and time spent on both page and catalog when using this modern e-commerce add-on. 

Caroline Heitmann, Market- and e-commerce Manager at Norli Libris AS, explains: 

iPaper’s eCommerce solution has taken our digital outreach to a new level, making our campaign leaflets more useful, fun and effective for our customers.

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Example from Norli Libris, a Norwegian bookseller.


Fleggaard, the Danish-German border retailer with a focus on wine, beer, soft drinks, liquor, sweets, and groceries aims at both genders, and there's no doubt that their audience - both male and female - embrace the catalog shopping experience. 

The digital catalogs are a proven success, says online coordinator at Fleggaard, Brian Klindt:  

Our digital iPapers are the most visited content on our entire website. 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. 

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Increase your online orders, like Fleggard has done it with their online catalog e-commerce solution.


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Bridge the gap between browsing and shopping to increase sales

Instead of focusing on the retail industry desires of a practical and linear approach towards purchasing, turn focus around and optimize for a more dynamic online shopping experience. 

You can do this by combining your webshop with catalogs. Use visuals and interactive elements simulating the experience in a physical store:

  • Present several product categories on the same page
  • Show ensembles or sets
  • Make a visual hierarchy and priority
  • Create an inspiring environment
  • Make the catalog interactive
  • Build loyalty with potential customers 
  • Build brand awareness
  • Clarify your communications
  • Use statistics to improve

Let me expand on above.  

Present several product categories on the same page

In this e-catalog from the Norwegian interior company, Kid Interiør, they inspire their audience by showing an environment. In this case a cozy bedroom. Instead of just presenting duvets, they include products that go well with the duvets such as blankets, candles, pillows and bed linen. 

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Or like in this example from a computer company, where you can find different items related to your office. Not just chairs or headsets. 

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Show ensembles or sets

Women especially like to shop for matching products. You can benefit from this by presenting collections. Yves Rocher does an excellent job at making inspirational catalogs with ensembles and sets: 

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Here the audience can both see different yet matching products at the same time; shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, and they also show different fragrances. If the reader doesn't like lemon, then maybe she will go for lavender or berries. 

Make a visual hierarchy and priority

POWER, a Danish electronics retailer, makes a visual hierarchy like in a physical store. They prioritize placement of the items, like A, B and C spots in the physical store. 

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Not only are the products with the highest priority placed on top of the page and with the most prominent pictures, but they also have bigger shopping icons. A smart move to draw attention to the products of priority.


Create an inspiring environment

The Danish furniture company BoConcept makes an online shopping experience with inspirational environments, videos, shop function, etc. Click and take a look yourself: 

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Build loyalty with potential customers 

BoConcept goes a step further and builds loyalty with their customers. You can book a free interior designer, and will see a designer when clicking on the "book designer" button. Almost as meeting the salespeople of a physical store. 


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Another way to build loyalty is via continuous communication with your readers. You can collect their email addresses via forms or pop-ups (included in the iPaper platform). 

Example of lead pop-up in iPaper:


fleggaard popup.png


Make the catalog interactive

Make your catalog interactive, so the client can browse more and get more information. This can be in the form of

  • Videos
  • Animations
  • Links
  • Pop-ups boxes with more information
  • E-commerce which enables shopping directly from the catalog.

Not only does Tupperware do a fantastic job by creating inspiring environments in all of their catalogs, but they also add interactive elements to engage their readers. Often they use very compelling product videos or like in this case options to add to wish list or shop now. 

The also present products that go well together, which creates a pleasant shopping experience. 

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Clarify your communications

Online flipbooks are a powerful tool to clarify your message, which otherwise can be difficult on a webshop. The use of texts,  fonts, and color add powers, and clarity of your communications. 

Online Coordinator at Fleggaard explains: 

If we didn't have this e-commerce 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 can do in a webshop.



How about that? 


Build brand awareness

With digital flipbooks, you can craft a visual identity that promises trust and innovation. 

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Use your company logo and color as the background, as well as a preloader to build brand awareness. 



Use statistics to improve and increase sales 

Make use of behavior analytics and data such as Google Analytics, and the iPaper Heatmap to measure customer behavior. Then build a shopping experience around the unserved needs of your audience. 



To increase sales, you need to find out what your customers want. You can then modify your existing shopping experience, so it matches with the touch points of the shoppers. You'll get a long way buy looking at these points:

How do your users interact with your e-catalog?

  • Do they click on links, videos, animations, images, call-to-action buttons, text, infoboxes, shopping icons, or maybe your logo? 
  • Is your audience clicking somewhere you didn't expect?
  • Do customers put extra items in the cart when you present matching products or sets?


When you've looked at these points, then ask yourself:

  • How can we make our content more interesting? 
  • Can we guide shoppers with shopping icons or call-to-actions?
  • Can we make these more visible or exciting?
  • Can we create curiosity by providing compelling content related to the products?
  • Are we able to sell additional products?
  • Do we engage the shopper by the time they have purchased?

You can also use email surveys and questionaries on social media to learn about your audiences' preferences. 

Also, remember to have a responsive site to support the increasing use of mobiles and tablets. If your shoppers jump from catalog to a nonresponsive checkout on your website, the total impression of the online shopping experience can end up being harmful.


The majority of online consumers want an engaging online shopping experience. Instead of a linear and siloed e-commerce approach, reach your audience by bridging the gap between browsing and shopping. 

With iPaper, you can use engaging online catalogs as the missing piece between browsing and shopping on your webshop. Instead of just presenting items that match the same category, create an experience resembling a physical store. 

E-catalogs enable the shopper to make the best of your online shopping portal without any effort and can help provide an enjoyable shopping experience, which increases your sales. 

Want to know more? Book a one-on-one session with our specialist Janne at a time that suits you. From 15-60 minutes depending on your needs. 

Or feel free to try out iPaper - no strings attached.

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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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