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How to use online catalogs in B2C eCommerce

It's never been easier for online shoppers to search for specific products and explore where to get the best price.

This is great for consumers that have a clear idea of what they want to buy.

But in B2C eCommerce only 54 % of online shoppers are searching for a specific item when shopping online.

This means that close to half of all online shoppers are not actively looking to buy a product when browsing online stores.


Still, most online stores focus on increasing sales from the ones that have shown a clear buying intent. Be that from a Google search or retargeting visitors based on product views.

If you as an eCommerce manager focus the vast majority of your spend and tactics catering to the online shoppers on a specific buying mission, chances are you are losing out on a lot of sales from shoppers in the discovery phase.

In short, focusing on the discovery phase in eCommerce will make it easier for potential customers to browse your products and explore your online store.

If you are browsing as a consumer the last thing you want is an unlimited amount of options to choose from. You don't get excited about grid views and filtering.

And, how can you ever search for a product on an online store when you don’t know what you want? 

Increasing your focus on discovery in your eCommerce activities will engage that 46% who are just browsing and guide them to check out your online store.

And, online catalogs are a proven format to improve your discovery focused activities.

Online catalogs in eCommerce is more than a great reading experience

Working with catalogs in a commerce context is not a new marketing method. But the method has mainly resonated with brick 'n' mortar stores that needed a simple yet very effective way to drive more visitors to their stores.

The answer to that was, and still is, to make sure your business is top of mind.

You do that by showcasing selected offers in a print catalog distributed to a broad range of consumers directly in their mail box.

But the same method applies to digital buying behavior. 

Online catalogs are the perfect format to distribute to a broad range of people within your target audience. 

And, adding on top the impact printing and distributing print catalogs has on the climate, more and more businesses have increased focus on only using digital catalogs online.

It will give your potential customers a great platform to explore your products, because you only put forward a selection of products.

Working with catalogs online gives you a ton of added benefits that will enable you to create a seamless shopping experience for your customers:

  • Add links on all your products that will give your readers a logical next step if they want to explore your products

  • Add information boxes as a layer in your online catalog, if your product needs some more explanation

  • Add videos and other engaging elements that will convert more readers to your product pages


See how iPaper helps top brands in B2C get tangible results from online catalogs. 


Learn how iPaper turns your PDFs into shoppable online catalogs 

3 online catalog tactics for b2c eCommerce you should implement today

Businesses determined to maximize their sales online are very focused on executing tactics that will impact their business the most.

They keep track of everything and if a sale is not attributed to a specific action, they will pause and archive that activity, replacing it with something that will work better.

But how do online catalogs fit into a data-driven decision landscape, where sales need to be measurable and scalable?

Start by implementing these 3 tactics and you will have a setup that enables you to take full advantage of your catalog investment in the digital age.

Use online catalogs in your newsletter tactics

The newsletter is often referred to as the most important channel in eCommerce. 

It's a format that allows businesses to sell to the same person over and over again without spending money acquiring them. 

And, that's a formula everybody in sales is chasing.

If you use your online catalogs in your newsletter tactics you will be able to optimize performance all the way from open rate to sales attributed to your newsletter distribution.

To get started make sure to include your latest online catalog in the welcome email a subscriber gets when signing up.

The reason is that this email has the highest open rate. You will see an increase in online shoppers exploring and engaging with your products immediately.

It will also show that you have an online catalog, and they should pay attention to their inbox to make sure not to miss it when you continuously push your latest catalogs to your subscribers.

You can expect and keep track of performance using these KPIs:

  • Higher open-rates by introducing a format your readers can easily digest
  • Increased post-click engagement and more product page views
  • Increased sales directly attributed to your newsletter


Use online catalogs in your campaign activities

How do you sell to people not actively looking to buy?

Online catalogs are the perfect format to have running in your top and mid funnel marketing activities.

Consumers know what an online catalog is. They know that you have selected a range of products that might peak their interest. They know that the format has a beginning and an end, so they know what to expect after clicking the ad.

The goal of top funnel activities is to increase top-of-mind awareness and push visitors towards engaging with your products.

And, sending traffic that you acquire top funnel to pre-filtered grid views just won't do the job.

You can expect and keep track of performance using these KPIs:

  • Increase in ad engagement from your push activities
  • Increase in engaged visitors on your online store
  • Decrease in cost per sale low funnel through a better full funnel approach


Use online catalogs to reduce bounce rate and increase product views

In eCommerce one of your main objectives is to drive visitors to your product pages.

Many resources are used in optimizing product pages for organic search and money is being spend in acquiring traffic to them.

Traffic to product pages is important because that's a clear indication that the visitor finds a product relevant and might consider buying.

Once a visitor has been on a product page you can hunt them down on the internet with re-marketing tactics to get the sale.

But what about the traffic that lands on your front page?

Most online stores offer a navigation bar with categories, a search box and banners with different messages.

This will not give your visitors a logical place to start exploring your online store.

You don't want to send them to a filtered grid view of latest offers or this year's summer trend in sneakers. 

You want to highlight your online catalogs and give your visitors a logical place to start their shopping journey.




You can expect and keep track of performance using these KPIs:

  • Reduced bounce rate on traffic landing on your front page
  • Increase in average session duration on your online store
  • Increase in product page views


In conclusion, working with online catalogs in B2C eCommerce will enable you to provide a much better shopping experience for your customers.

Used correctly, it will provide tangible results to your businesses and will add more power to your marketing mix.

If you have catalogs or print material and are not actively using it to boost your sales and marketing activities you are probably missing out on a lot of potential revenue.

And nobody likes that!


About the author

Jesper Wilhelmsen

Jesper Wilhelmsen

Jesper Wilhelmsen is Head of Customer Journeys at iPaper. Jesper is passionate about exploring new tendencies in the field of marketing, and have a strong focus on digital marketing, perfecting user journies based on data and creating measurable and scalable results.

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