One of the most powerful tools in your promotional plan is the catalog. The catalog’s content can be distributed through different channels and formats allowing you to reach a broader audience. That is why it is considered the starting point for communicating your products and offers.
The catalog has always been a fundamental tool for retailers and brands to differentiate themselves and connect with their consumers and inspire them. The changes in consumer behavior and the emerging retail trends have set a new path for the catalog. Retailers have changed their strategy and innovated by listening to what consumers need and want.
But what is the secret formula? What are the types of catalog formats out there and which one is the best? What will make your catalog stand out from the rest?
The classic print catalog
The print catalog has been around for a long time. It is a classic format used by retailers and brands for many years and proves to still work. Nevertheless, the print catalog has some limitations that are hard to overlook. The most obvious is the static content. Once you print a catalog there is no going back, you can’t change an image or replace a product that is out of stock. The content stays there forever, a scary word for an industry that is constantly changing.
Consumers are more demanding than ever and catching their attention is not an easy task. The lack of interactive content in a print catalog makes this task even more difficult. And, let’s not forget to mention the negative effects on the environment when printing thousands of catalogs. The accelerated shift to digital is clear, the retail industry has been disrupted forcing retailers to be present online. The evolution of the retail landscape has made the classical print catalog transform itself into a digital version.
The PDF catalog: An online version of print?
This is when the PDF catalogs emerge. Retailers saw the need of positioning themselves in the online world. So what did they do? They converted their print catalog into a PDF version. If you’re wondering if the PDF version has more advantages than print, then the answer is yes. First, as their name says, they are portable. Consumers can consult them anytime they want, and if done correctly, on any device.
It is an easy and fast way for retailers to convert their print content into digital format. Besides, it allows you to reach more consumers that are searching for your products and offers online. Retailers can include drive-to-store functionalities in their PDF catalogs to boost traffic to their stores or links to their e-commerce.
Nevertheless, the PDF catalog still presents disadvantages. Simply turning your print catalog into a PDF will not make the cut in the digital transformation era. The PDF catalog lacks traceability, making retailers lose valuable information and insights. Many retailers conform themselves with this format, without thinking that they can give their consumers an excellent user experience with other formats and enhance the drive-to-store effect.
The digital catalog is king
Which is the best catalog format then? The digital catalog would be the right answer and we will explain to you why. This format eliminates the limitations of print and PDF catalogs.
With a digital catalog, your content becomes dynamic. This means that you can update your content any time you want. You can include seasonal offers or remove items that are out of stock. The ability to update content in real-time is a game-changer.
Another advantage is that digital catalogs are responsive. Your consumers will be able to consult them through any device. In a mobile-first world, this is crucial for an excellent user experience. Digital catalogs are also easy to create. You can create them based on your e-commerce and product feed, and add category tabs for different types of products.
The digital catalog has functionalities that will guide your consumers during the purchasing process and help them make a more informed decision. Having one image per product is a thing of the past. According to Google, 85% of consumers say “product information and pictures are important to them when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.” The digital catalog allows you to present the same product from different angles if it is necessary. You can also add more information and details about the product, giving your consumer relevant information to make a decision. Plus, you can insert functionalities that direct your consumer to your stores such as store map, address and phone number.
One critical advantage of the digital catalog is that it allows you to track consumer engagement. These interactions with your catalog will gather insightful information about your consumers’ behavior, making it possible to optimize offers and campaigns accordingly. Furthermore, these insights will permit you to personalize your communication and increase customer loyalty.
Creating an engaging catalog will enhance your customer’s user experience and provide seamless integration between your online and offline channels.
Want to know more about how to create the perfect digital catalog? Download our guide to learn how!