The main function of Mueller’s B2B industry catalogs is to provide an overview of all their products.
With up to 900 pages, finding a specific product is like finding a needle in a haystack. Hence, the catalogues must be easily searchable.
With the iPaper solution it is no longer difficult to find the wanted pages due to an excellent search functionality, that is both dynamic and responsive.
The online flipbooks are very much like a printed catalog, and you get that same feel.
When you move into the material, it is easy to navigate, and it is easy to zoom in - notably on a tablet or a smartphone. Moreover, you still have your options for printing, downloading and sharing, and the search functionality is excellent."
- Deron Austin, Director of Marketing & Communications at Mueller Company.
With the popularity of the internet in the late 1990’s, it was natural to start offering product specifications as online catalogs and make the move from PDF to Flipbooks. At that time, Mueller offered its customers the material as individual PDF files. For each brand, website, and catalog the customer could look at all the different individual PDF’s and of course also download them.
Being engineered products, contractors and distributors are required to submit data sheets or catalog pages to the engineers before the product can be approved and installed. Therefore, all this data, as well as the accessibility of the information, is important," says Deron Austin.
However, the PDF-based online product catalogs were not an ideal solution for the customers.
You could navigate the PDFs, but it was quite difficult to find the wanted pages. You had to click on two or three links before you got to the right place. Moreover, you had to scroll through a two-bar scroll system. It was quite awkward, states Deron Austin.
This was the reasoning behind the company’s decision to start to look for a new solution. They needed to organize the catalogs differently and make easily navigable by the customers on a desktop as well as mobile devices, with some publications containing 18 merchandise and over 800 pages.
Our online product catalog was more or less a series of relatively well-organized PDFs. We were looking for something better, and we chose iPaper as our digital publishing software provider", states Deron Austin.
However, in the search for a new solution, Mueller met an obstacle concerning the investigated system solutions:
Every solution that we looked at – before finding iPaper – had been designed for magazines and not for B2B catalogs. Those systems were assuming that somebody is going to read a magazine article or he or she is flipping and browsing through a magazine, explains Deron Austin.
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. This has made the printed catalog a crucial part of this information search for many years.
Most of our customers are familiar with our printed catalogs as these have been in the industry for over a hundred years! We did not want to make a dramatic change to our online catalog to minimize possible frustrations," says Deron Austin.
WHY MUELLER COMPANY LIKES IPAPER
|The left-hand binder menu is organized and labeled just like the printed catalog|
|The binder can handle an unlimited number of iPapers – meaning an infinite number of catalog sections|
|Viewing iPaper catalogs on mobile devices is very easy – searching, zooming, printing, and sharing works just like the desktop view, maybe even better!|
We are treating each iPaper as a catalog section. We use the binder functionality of iPaper to organize the full online catalog version. By using the folder structure, there is a one-to-one ratio between a catalog section, a folder, and an iPaper," states Deron Austin.
Today, the marketing department at Mueller has chosen to convert PDF to Flipbook on several of the branded websites with product information. Most importantly, the customer response has been excellent.
The iPaper flipbook version is very much like a printed catalog, and you get that same feel. When you move into the material, it is easy to navigate, and it is easy to zoom in - notably on a tablet or a smartphone. Moreover, you still have your options for printing, downloading and sharing. The search functionality is also excellent, and we could even see the search be even better in the future as it is vital for the B2B buyer, says Deron Austin.
At the time Mueller started supplying digital versions of the catalogs to the customers, the material was mainly read on desktop computers. However, this is changing as both smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more used. This also signifies that it is important, that the product information is presented favorably on the mobile devices. Showing an 800-page catalog to a customer on a mobile device can be a challenge, but Mueller Company believes iPaper has done an excellent job in that field.
We are very pleased with the way the iPapers responds on mobile devices. The presentation of the catalogs on smartphones and tablets is exceptional. It is dynamic and responsive, states Deron Austin.
An essential part of the workflow involving the iPapers is how easy it is to keep the digital catalogs updated. As Mueller treats each catalog section as an iPaper, they have a straightforward procedure whenever part of the content of a section changes:
Mueller’s next step to give the digital catalogs new life is to start implementing links to other material. Their plan is to add links throughout each iPaper to give extra value to the readers. The links will allow customers to watch videos, download a marketing brochure, or read a technical study. In this way, Mueller will make a digital connection between the product catalog and other related marketing material.
Mueller started using iPaper in May 2015 on firstly two catalogs and then added more in the period from June to September 2015. At this date, only one catalog has not been converted yet; a process that will start soon. In this scenario with massive amounts of product information, the user friendliness of the iPaper system is critical.
From a customer perspective, we enjoy working with the people at iPaper and are also impressed with how user-friendly the platform is. Even the iPaper back-end platform is not difficult to use," concludes Deron Austin.