1. Prepare

You have your PDF in hand, and you want to transform it to a digital catalog. Now what?

Creating a great digital catalog is so much more than making a PDF available online: it's about creating an interactive, and engaging browsing experience.

PDFs are a good place to start, but deliver a very flat browsing experience. To offer an outstanding experience, you need to prepare to set your digital catalog up for success.

Proper preparation prevents poor performance

You wouldn’t open a physical store before it’s ready: the decor needs to be on brand, the products out on the shelves, and your checkouts properly set up.

The same applies to your digital catalog. If you haven’t properly prepared your digital catalog, you could be compromising the efficacy of its reach and impact. 

So, before you set your digital catalog live, there is a number of things to consider:

Add branding and design elements to your catalog for maximum brand recognition and impact.
Enable conversion points, like product links, CTAs, and checkout options to offer a next step to your shoppers.
Add tracking to analyze performance and improve your digital catalog campaigns over time.

Set your digital catalog up for success

Like a physical store, your digital catalog should represent your brand.

This shows the visitor that they’re in the right place, and builds trust by providing a visually consistent shopping experience.

iPaper provides you with multiple options to make the digital catalog truly feel and look like your digital catalog.


Set yourself up for saving time and always being on-brand

Whether you have one digital catalog, or ten, whenever you update them you’ll likely want to keep the same visual identity and settings across every successive catalog. This creates a consistent brand and customer experience in the digital catalog.

However, setting up and maintaining visual brand elements for all of your catalogs can be incredibly time-consuming, especially when dealing with multiple digital catalogs.

To save time, you can simply use Inherited Settings to make the required changes once at the folder level: All digital catalogs contained in the folder will automatically inherit the settings and display the right logo, color, text, and price currency and more.

The result?

With inherited settings, you save time and ensure the on-brand look and feel of your catalogs.

How to: Use Inherited settings in your digital catalogs

Put your brand front and center

Your brand is your business’ identity: it stands for the value you provide and inspires trust with your shoppers. Leverage your brand's impact in your digital catalog by adding key brand elements, such as:

The result?

Customizing the peripherals around your digital catalog to match your business, you can capitalize on the trust and power that your brand inspires in your shoppers.

Your shoppers will know that they’re shopping with your brand, and be more inclined to spend time and shop there.

How to: brand your digital catalog

Integrate your digital catalog with the rest of your business with Branded Domain

Your brand should inspire confidence in your customers, and your digital domain is a direct extension of this. Present your digital catalog as the fully integrated part of your business it is, with a Branded Domain.

Branded Domain allows you to present your digital catalog on your own domain, for example catalog.yourbrand.com instead of viewer.ipaper.io/yourbrand/digital-catalog-1

This will provide continuity across your website, webshop, and digital catalog.

Best practices for Branded Domain

Brand it to your business: having a Branded Domain gives you the advantage of presenting your digital catalog on a domain of your choosing, so ensure that it matches the rest of your digital business, i.e., catalog.yourbrand.com

Make it catchy, and memorable: maximize the amount of traffic you get to your digital catalog by ensuring your visitors can remember the address. Shorter URLs work best, as are those whose purpose is clear: if it’s your catalog, include that in the subdomain!

How to: set up a Branded Domain

The result?

A Branded Domain gives you the benefit of having a static URL, meaning your visitors only ever have to remember a single, memorable URL to always view your latest catalog. This increases:

Trust in your digital catalog through brand association
The likelihood of visitors bookmarking your catalog and becoming repeat visitors
Brand cohesion when sharing your digital catalog in other marketing channels

Guide shoppers along the buying journey with Enrichments

Like in a physical store, once you’ve attracted visitors to your digital catalog, you need to incentivize them to stay. For that, you need to create an engaging browsing experience.

Guide your shoppers along the buying journey, by enriching your digital catalog with interactive elements and CTAs.

iPaper provides you with multiple options and ways to create inspiration and capture intent in your digital catalog.

How to: Make your digital catalog interactive with Enrichments

Create an immersive experience in your digital catalogs with videos, animation, and images

Videos and animations are perfect for increasing interactivity, precisely because they aren’t static.

For example, an ambient video that auto-plays can create an extra, immersive layer to enhance the browsing experience.


Shoppers who think additional images of products are beneficial in digital catalogs

You can also highlight key areas of your catalog, such as your bestsellers, new products, or great deals by drawing attention to them with cleverly placed videos, or GIFs.

Videos are also a great way to provide additional product information without cluttering your digital catalog with text.

3 tactics to create an engaging catalog

But often, the more pictures and videos, the better. For example, in a physical store, you’d be unlikely to buy a product you’ve just seen. Rather, you’d inspect it from different angles, hold it in your hands, or even try it on.

With Popup Media Galleries, you can include multiple product images or videos from different angles, or in different contexts, in the same popup.

The result?

Using interactive elements and more product images will increase the likelihood that shoppers will engage with your products and offers.

38% of shoppers find it valuable to see extra content such as video, 3D images, infographics, etc. in digital catalogs!

How to: Add videos and images with Popup Media Gallery

Show the customer where to go next (to explore or buy)

Inspiration is important as it influences a shopper’s buying intent. One way to capture the intent is to insert icons or links on your products as clear calls-to-action (CTAs) such as icons or links.

CTAs can be used for any number of actions, including:

Read more about the products
Add products to cart directly in the catalog
Be redirected to a product page on your webshop

The result?

By providing a logical next step in the buying journey, your shoppers will be more likely to convert.


Create “softer” conversion points with pop-ups

Not all shoppers are ready to buy. Your digital catalog can also serve “softer” goals that can later lead a customer further along the buying journey.

For example, pop-ups within your digital catalog can be used to:

Promote your webshop
Highlight your best offers

In the European Shopper Survey 2022 survey, we found that shoppers who signed up for at least one form of retail communication in the past year, most signed up for newsletters (55%) and digital catalogs (50%)

Pop-ups can also be customized, to automatically engage, with exit intent or timed open.

The result?

On top of creating more interactive elements in your digital catalog, pop-ups can serve a variety of business purposes, from promoting deals or drawing attention to specific products.

How to: Promote your bestsellers with Pop-ups

Draw attention to multiple rolling CTAs with News ticker

You’re likely already familiar with news banners scrolling across your TV screen. They’re employed to draw your attention to important information, quickly, and their secret lies in their movement.

This can also be done in your digital catalog.

The News ticker can be used to provide multiple, rolling, clickable CTA texts that provide next steps for your reader. What functions these CTAs perform is down to you: the News ticker is customizable!

The result?

Show various CTAs and create dynamic motion in the digital catalog, without taking focus away from the actual catalog content.

How to: Set up a News ticker

Turn online sessions into store traffic

In today’s omnichannel environment, a purchasing journey that starts in-store might turn into an online sale when the shopper gets home, just as a visit to your digital catalog may turn into a purchase from a physical store.

For many shoppers, their primary form of conversion after reading a digital catalog will still be to go to the nearest store, to either learn more and see the product in real life or to buy.

And shoppers find it to be a huge benefit:


The percentage of shoppers who consider being able "to find the nearest store" a valuable feature in a catalog

The result?

More shoppers will visit your stores, if you make it easy to locate the nearest.

How to: Set up a pop-up frame to show your store locator

Closing the deal with Checkout options

What is the end goal of your digital catalog, regarding your customer journey?

In most cases, it’s usually a visitor converting or making a purchase. For this, you’ll need to enable a checkout option.

iPaper offers multiple options, from external links to WhatsApp checkout to email.


Finds it beneficial they can browse promotions and shop online at the same time using digital catalogs

The percentage of shoppers considering different conversion features a benefit in digital catalogs:

Buying directly from the catalog
Order products for in-store-pickup
Checkout via chat (eg. WhatsApp)

Learn about all the Checkout options we offer, and which best suits your digital catalog.

Choose the right Shop Checkout for your digital catalog

Enable shopping on your ecommerce, while keeping the shopper in the digital catalog

External links, while being easy to implement, move the user into another browser tab and thereby away from your digital catalog.

This increases the risk of the visitor not coming back into the catalog after visiting a product page, wasting your effort of retaining the visitor, and the resources allocated to creating an interactive digital catalog with many pages.

Instead, you can retain visitors in the digital catalog by making your product CTAs open a popup iframe of your webshop on top of your digital catalog.

A popup frame is a smaller window that can be opened on top of your digital catalog. In the world of code, this is known as an iframe.

The result?

Your shoppers can buy directly from the digital catalog, thereby you retain them in the digital catalog. After buying, they can keep browsing products in the catalog and, potentially, buy even more.

How to: Popup iframes

Don’t let your customer forget what they want to buy

Some businesses prefer to use their digital catalogs to drive traffic to physical stores. And when shoppers visit your store, they often have a grocery- or wishlist. This is common for, for example, retailers and supermarkets.


Shopper who find it valuable to be able to create a wishlist in a digital catalog to take to the store.

With Email sharing, you allow your catalog readers to send their basket contents in an email as a wish- or shopping-list!

It’s convenient for the shopper and, combined with the store locator, a powerful way to drive traffic to the store and ensure the shopper doesn’t forget any desired items from the digital catalog.

In some cases, a company may not have a physical store or an ecommerce. Instead, orders are received, handled and fulfilled through contact between the company and the customer. This is common in B2B.

In this scenario, you can use Email checkout to directly collect the information needed to fulfill the order (such as name, company, VAT, payment method etc.).

You simply need to decide what information you need to collect, and a custom form will appear when clicking the checkout in your digital catalog.

Then, when the shopper fills the form, their information and basket content is sent to an email address specified by you - For example, an email to a representative or an order-handling company email.

Customers can receive a confirmation email, to give them peace of mind, while you handle their order.

The result?

You can customize the checkout to fit your use-case. How Email can best advance the buying journey for YOUR shoppers? Either by creating a personal wish/shopping list, or by sending basket content to a predefined email.

Learn how to set up Email checkout in your digital catalog.

How to: Set up an Email checkout

Revolutionize representatives’ sales process with WhatsApp and Viber

Many direct-selling businesses are trying to captivate a younger, increasingly digital audience. Businesses also face new challenges with new markets where physical stores might not be present, but their customers still value physical purchases from a face they trust.

The percentage of shoppers considering different conversion features a benefit in digital catalogs:

Checkout via chat (eg. WhatsApp)

With a Social media checkout, your shoppers can send their basket contents to your company representatives via WhatsApp, or Viber, who then completes the transaction.

The WhatsApp and Viber integrations can further be customized where customers can send their basket content to a predefined recipient, or select an existing contact to share with.

The result?

Sales representatives can reach more shoppers and convert them directly in the digital catalog.

Learn how to set up checkouts for WhatsApp and Viber in our guides, below:

If you’re looking for more tactics to create a converting digital catalog, check out our post on designing a digital catalog that converts.

Supporting features


Protect your digital catalog with a Password until internally approved

Digital catalogs are built for sharing, but there are times when you want to limit who has access to it.

This could be, for example, if you need to send your catalog off for review by a colleague, who doesn't have Admin access. Alternatively, perhaps you want to create a catalog with offers specific to a certain customer, which you don’t want others to see.

You can control who has access to your digtal catalogs by applying a password to it. Doing so means that you can share it with whoever needs early access, and only password holders can access it!

How to: Password protect your digital catalog

Set up third-party tracking to compare performance with other channels

As the buyer’s journey is rarely a straight line, it’s great to be able to capture their entire shopping journey to better understand where potential pain points might arise.

Besides the statistics in the iPaper platform, you may want to compile the data for comparison with other marketing activities and channels in a single dashboard, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics.

The result?

You can directly compare performance of the digital catalog to your other channels and campaigns.

How to: Track your visitor’s journeys across your digital business

Before publishing your digital catalog, check out these 5 steps to running your first catalog campaign.