The Store Metaphor

Decoding the customer journey of digital catalogs

All retailers share a common goal: making sure their products sell.

But, as many retailers know, the shopper’s buying journey is rarely a straight line. It's a process with many steps, and the challenge starts before they've even gotten customers through the door.

Retailers need to provide the right incentives, at the right time, to attract, inspire and drive a sale, whether in a physical store, or online.

A retail sale can be boiled down to 4 stages

We have identified 4 stages of the buying journey: attraction, inspiration, intention, and conversion. In order to increase the likelihood that a visitor to your store becomes a customer, we believe it’s crucial for retailers to master these 4 stages. Whether this applies to a visitor to your physical store, or a new visitor to your digital store, the principle is the same. We call it the Store Metaphor.

Think of how a physical store sells. How does the buying journey play out in a classic, brick-and-mortar store? With products on display in aisles, islands and displays, the physical store is a maze. As a business, it's your job to turn casual shoppers to converting customers by helping them navigate the 4 stages of the Store Metaphor.

Attraction phase of the Store Metaphor


No matter how fantastic their decor or products are, if a shop can’t get customers through the door, they won’t make a sale. The first stage in the Store Metaphor is attraction. Businesses use various marketing tactics, from branded ads to promotions etc., to make sure the shopper is aware of their store and is enticed to visit.

In order to draw shoppers to your digital catalog, they must be attracted to it through social media, links via your website or newsletters.

Inspiration phase of the Store Metaphor


Once shoppers walk through a store's doors, it's important that they remain there. Businesses do this through inspiration.

Customers are inspired to remain, interact with, and explore products on offer. Companies that excel at this create maze-like store layouts that encourage exploration: customers are free to walk around, engage with, and imagine products in different settings.

Digitally speaking, once the shopper is in “through the door” and viewing your digital catalog, you need to inspire them to remain. Your visitors might not be able to touch or try your products per se, but they can still be explored in a beautiful setting with other products.

Consider putting your products in context using images, animations, videos, and product information.

Intention phase of the Store Metaphor


The greater the inspiration among shoppers, the greater the intention for action. Often, the ultimate type of action is making a purchase. Intention to purchase includes, but isn't limited to, customers putting items in their cart.

Other actions that signify intent could be, checking for deals, taking paint samples, checking to see whether a store has a product in stock, or anything else that signifies to your business that a shopper could be a potential customer.

If you've managed to inspire the visitors to your digital catalog, you've managed to convince them enough to take action. We can gauge visitor's intention to act through milestones such as adding products to the basket, or checking to see where their nearest store is.

Conversion phase of the Store Metaphor


The final stage of the customer journey is the conversion from visitor to customer: making a purchase.

Even at this late stage, a clever business will see the opportunity to further inspire, and reinforce buying intent with upsell products. That's why you usually find candy bars just before the checkout at supermarkets, or why you always come home from IKEA with more than you planned.

In your digital catalog, the shopper will simply click the specific checkout method – whether direct payment, WhatsApp message, email, etc. – and converts digitally.

Attraction phase of the Store MetaphorInspiration phase of the Store MetaphorIntention phase of the Store MetaphorConversion phase of the Store Metaphor

Ready to take your catalog experience into the digital world?

You have your PDF in hand, and it’s ready for online publication. Now what? iPaper’s Success Framework can help you deliver the immersive, and engaging shopping experience that your visitors deserve.
Bellavus - Beauty and Health Digital Catalog on an iPad