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Digital Catalogues: The Ultimate Guide With All You Need to Know to Get Started!

What is a digital catalogue? How do you make them? Why should you use them? Get the answers to all these questions – and many more – in this complete guide.

1
What is a digital catalogue?
2
Examples and how to create digital catalogues
3
Benefits, drawbacks and tactics
A man holding an iPad with a digital catalog open, next to the text "All you need to know" and two icons for digital catalogs.

In today's digital age, businesses are always looking for new ways to connect with their customers.  

One tool that has gained increasing popularity is the digital catalog. In fact, 55% of European shoppers use digital catalogues at least a few times a month!

So, whether you're a seasoned catalogue marketer or just getting started, it’s important to understand what a digital catalogue is and how it can benefit your business.

In this blog post, we'll explore exactly that.

What is a Digital Catalogue?

- Flipbook?

- Online leaflet?

- Digital catalogue?

- Online magazine?

- Ecommerce catalog?

In general, these terms all describe the same thing. So, for practical purposes we’ll stick to “digital catalogue” throughout this blog.

A digital catalogue is a dynamic, interactive, web-based version of a traditional print catalog.

Instead of flipping through the pages of a physical catalogue, shoppers can browse digital catalogues through a website or mobile app.

Digital catalogues have a horizontal page-turning, sliding or cross-fading effect, contrary to many digital channels’ vertical scroll, such as social media and webshops.

On top, digital catalogues offer a wide range of features and functionalities - such as video, shop links and direct checkout - that are not possible with traditional print catalogues.

Digital Catalogue Examples

Here are example videos of two - very different - digital catalogues in action:

Tupperware

Madam Stoltz

If you're looking for even more examples, then there's 9 extra examples via this link.

How to Create a Digital Catalogue

Creating a digital catalogue for your business is easier than you might think - assuming you already have a PDF of the catalog. In that case, here are the basic steps:

1. Find the right digital catalogue creator software for your business

2. Upload the PDF to the software’s platform

3. Optional: Add interactive elements

4. Press “publish”

And that’s it.

Now, let’s dive into the benefits and drawbacks of using digital catalogues.

Benefits of Digital Catalogues

There can many benefits specific to certain businesses or use-cases, but here are the common benefits:  

Reach a Wider Audience

Digital catalogues are not limited by geography. Your catalog can be accessible to anyone with an internet connection, allowing you to reach a global audience. This expanded reach can help you tap into new markets and increase your customer base.

With digital catalogues, shoppers can browse the catalog anywhere, anytime."

David Gurita, E-commerce Digital & UX Design Lead, El Corte Inglés Portugal

Enhanced Customer Experience

Digital catalogues can offer an engaging product journey. With features like interactive images, videos, and links, customers can get a better understanding of the products. This enhances user engagement, and provides a more interesting shopping experience.

On top, various checkout options – from shop links to wishlist to direct checkout – can be used to actively generate conversions and revenue from the digital catalogue.

We have basically transformed our traditional leaflet into an interactive and a shoppable experience."

Ibrahim Shouehne, Digital Production Lead, Omnichannel, Carrefour MAF

Cost-Effective and Eco-Friendly

Printing and distributing physical catalogues can be costly, not to mention the environmental impact of paper waste. Digital catalogs alleviate some of these concerns by reducing printing costs and minimizing carbon footprint.

For 1% of the cost of printing a catalogue, we can create as many digital catalogs as we like."

José Antonio Del Pino, Senior Marketing Project Leader, Cristian Lay

A Curated Online Format that Stands Out

Many webshops are dominated by white-background grid views of endless products. On the other hand, a digital catalogue provides a curated selection of products that can make online shopping easier, faster and less overwhelming.

Better Data and Analytics

Digital catalogues can provide valuable insights into customer behavior. You can track which products are getting the most attention, how long customers spend on each page, and more. This data helps refine your marketing and product strategies for better results.

Drawbacks of Digital Catalogues

The drawbacks can also vary, depending on the specific company and industry, but here are the common drawbacks:

A Non-Interactive Digital Catalogue

The page-turning effect of the digital catalog can provide a better browsing experience than the vertical scroll of a PDF.

But without any interactive enrichments in the digital catalogue, one risks limited engagement from shoppers and no direct conversions.

Creating Enrichments can be Time-Consuming
(but it doesn’t have to be)

The interactive enrichments can also come with a downside. If the enrichments are created manually, it can be a cumbersome process, which costs time and thereby resources from your team.

However, some digital catalogue software companies can automate this process.

Having an Extra Channel to Manage and Maintain

For every channel that you add to your marketing mix, there’s some extra time spent on managing it, analyzing results and optimizing.

Digital Catalogue Marketing Tactics

One way of making whatever time spent managing the digital catalogue worth it, is to employ effective tactics to make it a success.

Here’s a list of proven tactics to set you up for success:

Getting Started

A 5-step framework for how to successfully run your first digital catalogue campaign

3 straightforward ways to use digital catalogues in top funnel marketing

Engaging and Converting

3 tips to make your digital catalogue as engaging as possible

How to increase engagement by adding an extra layer to your digital catalogue

8 simple elements to designing a digital catalogue that converts

Others

How to optimize your digital catalogue for SEO

Why and how you should highlight the last page more in digital catalogues

Conclusion

A digital catalogue is a powerful tool that can provide something familiar, yet different, in the online shopping journey.

It enhances the customer experience, allows for easy updates, widens your reach, provides valuable analytics, and is cost-effective.

Like all digital channels, there are some downsides to digital catalogs, such as time spent managing the channel.

Generally, though, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and there’s a ton of effective tactics that can set your digital catalog up for success.

So, why wait?

Start to create.

Tactics that makes your strategy even more effective