Various industries and companies used product catalogs for over 100 years to promote their products or services to customers. These catalogs haven’t changed much throughout their existence. Their goal is to offer clients the necessary product information in an easy-to-read format with an easy-to-use and clear ordering system.

The transition towards digitalization began slowly, but the pandemic transformed this desire for innovation into a need for the wholesale industry. For manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, and service businesses that use wholesale catalogs to sell to their B2B clients, digitization is easy with the right tool. Product catalogs nowadays can be interactive and engaging while also working as ordering systems themselves. 

Still, as 70% of American consumers shop online, Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B interactions will occur through digital channels by 2025. Wholesale product catalogs become necessary if you want to stay ahead of your competition and reach businesses, trade partners, retailers, and contractors making B2B sales with you and those who don’t yet. 

Read on to learn all you need about digital product catalogs and how digitalization will affect the wholesale industry.

What is a B2B product catalog?

A wholesale catalog or a B2B catalog is a catalog manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors use to showcase their products. The purpose of a wholesale catalog is to sell products in large quantities to B2B customers such as businesses, trade partners, retailers, and contractors. Images, videos, pop-ups with all the information necessary, hyperlinks for even more information, and shopping lists can be used to highlight your products. Best of all, it gives customers an all-in-one ordering experience optimized for the wholesaler to monitor.

B2B customers can access these digital product catalogs on any device connected to the internet, download and even access them offline to browse through. Receive quotes through emails sent directly from the B2B ecommerce catalog. Once the wholesaler receives them, they get to analyze engagement metrics and catalog statistics to optimize future catalogs. With intuitive design tools and easy-to-use features, this digital treasure gives the wholesale market the tools necessary to take their business to new heights.

In other words, through a digital B2B product catalog, you’ll get to the market faster and sell more by speeding up the creation and distribution of product catalogs and simplifying ordering processes for B2B customers. Get rid of the print and reap the benefits of a digital product catalog now. Just take a look at the differences!

Digital vs. print

visual of a digital and print version to compare the two

While paper was used to share information before the internet came around, now that we have the internet, we are finding new and exciting ways of sharing information. The Industrial Revolution brought plenty of challenges and benefits for early adopters and those fighting against the trend. We can see the two sides of this revolution as the digital product catalog aims to reform the wholesale market again. 

When it comes to the distribution of catalogs, sharing a PDF online has become a launching pad for the entire market. Depending on the variety of your targeted audience, sharing content through online channels allows you to reach them wherever they are with a simple link. The best thing is that you’ll save loads of money by cutting production time. You’ll encounter no printing cost for the catalogs as sharing them online with your customers isn’t an extra charge. Regardless of where their offices are located and without having to spend an extra dime on distribution, your catalogs will reach your audience.

However, one issue for those sharpening their pitchforks is that, while progress and change can be frightening – your whole way of doing things is changing, uncertainty is normal – these changes are already here. With countless benefits we’ll get into shortly, the B2B eCommerce catalog increases accessibility and appeal for target audiences, simplifies ordering processes, and is more cost-effective and environmentally conscious. But how does a digital product catalog impact the B2B market? And what is B2B? Well, let’s see…

B2B vs. B2C vs. DTC

First, let’s cover the different types of businesses out there. Wholesalers are most certainly aware of the distinction between B2B and B2C or D2C, but we just want to cover terms and explain them if using them. So, B2B stands for “business-to-business” meaning these are businesses that do business with other businesses, while B2C or DTC stands for “business-to-consumer” and “direct-to-consumer” respectively, meaning they sell to consumers in one form or another. There is much confusion between B2C, DTC, and B2B, but we will clarify things further.

So, while B2B is easiest to differentiate, as a product and service provider selling their products and services to retailers and wholesalers, they can be retailers and wholesalers themselves. Things get more complex between B2C and DTC.

To explain these distinctions, we will look at a company that’s close to us. Electrolux is a leading global appliance company with over 100 years of activity. Let’s look at how their style of business can be defined.

  • When their refrigerators are sold to hotel chains, they are a B2B company as they sell to other companies;
  • When they sell products made by other manufacturers to consumers, they are a B2C company as they sell to consumers products purchased from other companies;
  • When they sell their products directly to consumers, they are a DTC company because they have no other middlemen involved in the transaction.

To clarify the distinction, we’ll look at what differentiates wholesale catalogs from other product catalogs. For instance, retail product catalogs might only showcase a limited number of products that are on sale if they have a promotional campaign or might be seasonal. Now let’s see what makes wholesale catalogs different:

  • Wholesale product catalogs can have around 1,000 products;
  • They can have multiple tables for specs and comparisons, making them more complex;
  • Wholesale catalogs can be personalized for different vendors with varying prices;
  • More often than not, wholesale catalogs are published privately and shared with specific vendors.

Once those distinctions are clarified, let’s understand the reasons why you should embark on the digitization train now.

Why digitalization is important for B2B product catalogs in 2023

We already established that e-commerce trends say digitalization is here to stay. But this change will only positively impact your business if you don’t go against the stream. In essence, B2B digitalization is about moving away from the methodical and time-consuming ways of business-to-business (B2B) communication and transactions by implementing technologies to make it easier. 

Digitalization is important to B2B because:

  • Data steals the show;
  • B2B connections evolve;
  • Personalization is the new trend.

These technological advancements tap into marketing, sales, customer service, and supply chain management, improving them, among other things. They gained so much traction in recent years because the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that business practices can work digitally. While direct client interactions have become more personal, so have B2B interactions, and digital advancements make it easy to personalize them.

Data steals the show

Visual of a flipbook spread from an interior design catalog with statistics on the side

As a wholesaler, you understand why product assortment matters more than simple aesthetics. Connecting global brands to benefit consumer supply chains is part of why investing in digital transition will help your business. A consumer product catalog groups together products that are closely related or purchased alongside each other, while ecommerce websites allow customers to compare products based on size, materials, brands, etc. Retailers would be incentivized by similar B2B product catalogs. This means that you can organize a page so that you have all the elements from the interior design style of bathrooms, kitchens, or bedrooms on one page respectively, even if it contains interior design elements from various categories. Like that, those inspired by the design showcased in your catalog can easily replicate it.

Based on integrated statistics and analytics, you’ll get access to incoming data to help you understand your market better than ever before and supply their demands. From time spent on the page to information about your customer’s location and devices used, the data tells the story of your client’s experience with your digital catalog. Furthermore, if you stick to pen and paper in this revolution, you’ll be left behind with none of that data. Besides, going to a tradeshow would be like taking a shoe to a hoverboard convention.

B2B connections evolve

Making a sale, in today’s market, is where B2B relationships begin. At least, that’s not where they end. Getting to the source of customers’ core demand is how these relationships evolve, and addressing the bigger issue in the market is key. By optimizing and tracking your product from the factory door to the end consumer, accountability related to the transaction can be monitored throughout the process. Clients want alternative solutions, accountability from the manufacturers, and sustainable practices that aren’t just greenwashing. Sustainability lies at the heart of this demand, and corporations respond in style. The Nike vs. Adidas sustainability battle goes a long way to show how environmental responsibility adheres to consumer interests.

This may mean ensuring the products are sustainable from when they are launched to when they are consumed. Because of that, wholesalers and retailers demand trackability and transparency in their supply chain from when they place the orders to when the product ends in the consumer’s hands. Buyer visibility is important for B2B relationships for the same reasons.

Personalization is the new trend

Visual of a flipbook spread with different types of offers

Successful B2B eCommerce requires an in-depth understanding of your customers. As wholesalers, you must give customers the quickest way to access what they want. No two customers are the same, and looking for a one-size-fits-all solution is pointless. Some may like a spreadsheet with nothing but numbers, while others prefer visual interactions to make dull documents more appealing, or maybe it’s the price that is different for one customer over the other. Satisfying different needs and communication styles will give you access to a wider audience from your target market.

Still, trends and times change. But while DTC was supposed to replace B2C and brick-and-mortar stores were to be left in the past, future markets will be hybrid. Buyers, customers, and consumers will use any and all types of shopping: digital, in-store, online, offline, in bulk, or by unit. Adapting to diversified distributions, purchases, and transactions is the next step, and a cost-effective way to do this is necessary.

Benefits of digitalization through B2B catalogs

Let’s look at how these digitalization benefits help businesses through B2B product catalogs. Knowing how to make an online product catalog these days can make a world of difference for B2B relationships. 

  • Engaged customer base
  • Optimized and automated logistics
  • Transparent and secure transactions
  • Design outside the box
  • Cracking the stats code
  • One-stop shopping experience
  • Developing interactive potential
  • Reach the desired customers

Next, we will take a deep dive into the benefits for which wholesalers and retailers alike have to make this transition as swift as possible.

Engaged customer base

By easily reaching your customer base and figuring out their needs through analyzing their eCommerce product catalog browsing experiences, you will be better equipped to nurture these interactions. Meet their expectations halfway and accelerate sales by implementing optimized ordering systems that will run smoothly. No more orders getting lost in the shuffle of incoming purchasing requests. Digitalization of product catalogs has been ingrained in many top B2B catalog software, and businesses only need to import their products in digital format in order to reap the benefits. Wholesale catalogs give businesses the tools to deliver consistent and personalized shopping experiences to their customer base and keep them engaged by giving them what they want without exceeding their marketing costs.

Optimized and automated logistics

When the orders start coming in, it’s essential that you don’t get overwhelmed. That is why product catalog management software provides easy ways to handle the logistics of product catalog-making. By adapting to this ever-evolving technology, you won’t only be ahead of the curve, but you can streamline production, ordering, and delivery by having all the eggs in one basket. Optimized logistics comes in the form of data, and we already covered why keeping track of that is a lifeline in today’s digital market—no more piles of documents from different customers or suppliers to keep track of. You can easily access one sheet to input awesome product descriptions in your B2B product catalog and organize deliveries. Avoid the hassle by automating tedious tasks that take too much time and invest that time in more fruitful ventures.

Transparent and secure transactions

Firstly, transparency and security are necessary for businesses that want to be accountable and responsible in front of their customer base. As we already established, consumer demands a move away from simply placing an order and getting the product to the product’s quality, materials, environmental impact, and social responsibility from the wholesalers’ part. Record keeping and transparency through inventory management, accounting reports, and secure transactional records will minimize potential differences between various parties along the supply chain. Additionally, this will keep your records clear and easy to understand by all parties involved in the transaction. Give your customer base multiple payment methods for a smooth transaction they can return to in their own time.

“In the world of B2B, intelligent safety and cybersecurity aren’t just shields; they’re the foundation upon which trust and collaboration are built. When businesses safeguard their digital assets and data, they pave the way for secure, seamless, and productive partnerships that drive innovation and growth” – Hari Ravichandran, CEO of Aura.

Design outside the box

Visual of a sports catalog flipbook spread

Traditional product catalogs from wholesalers aren’t particularly appealing and mostly just include a list of products and information relevant to retailers. However, with wholesaler catalogs, we can see a switch to personalized experiences that cater to the needs of the consumer and wholesaler. While the experience is enhanced for their customer base, wholesalers get to showcase their product variety and optimize their order intake by knowing the exact size, style, color, material, and other particularities from orders, being able to fulfill demands precisely. Not only that, but they can guarantee consistent branding throughout their materials by taking out any third-party elements and replacing them with their own—seamless branded experiences throughout the purchasing process for all parties involved.

Cracking the stats code

Visual of Flipsnack statistics represented

Without access to ways of measuring and analyzing the results of your business, how can you track your company’s success? Knowing how your customer base uses your B2B product catalog helps you better understand them. By analyzing their experiences and having clear data regarding order intake, deliveries, and customer information, you can optimize your current issue for maximum gain and future communication with various stakeholders. Don’t only make catalogs to saturate the market, but learn from your experience and the data gathered to improve satisfaction and optimize the product catalog’s content. 

Make the most of the various channels at your disposal and use the resulting reports to increase profit margins further. Furthermore, leveraging tools like an advanced contact center can provide additional insights into customer preferences and behaviors. Cracking the stats code is essential. Simply track these results and make customer-centric catalog updates with the help of Flipsnack’s statistics:

  • Impressions, views, and clicks;
  • Shopping list orders;
  • Average time spent;
  • Catalog downloads;
  • Location and devices.

Measure the data for each catalog or all wholesale catalogs combined. You can integrate Google Analytics to gain access to even more advanced statistics.

One-stop shopping experience

Visual representation of the shopping list feature and how B2B businesses can use it

When all is said and done, clients are browsing your B2B eCommerce product catalog, but they don’t only want to look at the pretty pictures, detailed descriptions, or lists of various design styles of kitchen faucets. They want to buy. So, creating a quotable catalog that gives them that option shouldn’t even be considered. It can be implemented within the catalog itself. Why else are you sharing these comprehensive and extensive product catalogs for? All the steps customers have to take to finalize an order are simplified through shopping list catalogs. But to not confuse you, let’s explain.

What is a quotable catalog?

A quotable catalog is a digital wholesale catalog that allows you to receive quotes from your customers directly through your catalog. Quotable catalogs can also be called shopping list catalogs because you need shopping list interactions to make the catalog quotable. 

The main benefits of quotable catalogs: 

  • Transform your digital catalog into a selling tool that empowers customers to send you mail orders directly from the catalog;
  • Simplify B2B selling processes, with customers being able to discover your offering and place orders all in one place;
  • Personalize quotable catalogs with custom discounted prices for each important client;
  • Track their performance through statistics and update them anytime, even after being shared, without having to share it again after the update. The link stays the same.

So, instead of browsing, taking note of each item, and composing the email with the right information, why not simplify your B2B selling processes for your customers? They’ll send the order directly from your B2B shopping list, and you’ll receive mail orders to a centralized email address. Alternatively, you can connect your catalog to Shopify or other online shops.

Developing interactive potential

When discussing interactivity, we are talking about increasing the wholesale catalog’s appeal through various elements. There are many ways to enhance marketing documents through interactive features depending on the type of interactivity you want to engage your audience in. We’ll cover the basics and explain how they can be used to increase engagement below.

  • Internal and external links – encourage your readers to browse easier through wholesale catalogs through go-to-page links or links that take them to a product website page for more information about it, but also to generate traffic to your website.
  • Multimedia – whether it’s a video (online or uploaded), audio file, or image, they can be used to enhance your customers’ shopping experience for engagement purposes by embedding or slideshow options.
  • Pop-ups – pop-up frames can either be used to display several types of interactive content on top of the publication itself or to gather information about potential prospects through a lead form.

The use of interactions in wholesale catalogs may not apply as easily as for other types of catalogs, but they can still provide a change of scenery that entices customers and enhances the overall experience.

Reach the desired customers

While retailers and DTC businesses want to ensure that their catalogs reach as many people as possible, the situation isn’t the same for wholesalers. When selling in bulk, prices can be changed or discounted for one customer or another depending on private arrangements and negotiations between the two parties. Due to that, sharing wholesale catalogs can be done publicly, but private sharing options are detrimental to good business practices. 

Because of that, aside from all the sharing options you can envision in the big world wide web, having sharing options that are secure and not-sharable is important. Just like you wouldn’t want one client to know what you discussed with another, you probably don’t want them to know what you negotiated. Some information is meant to remain private, so we use secure sharing options for catalogs that can not be shared without a password, an account, or a link that not even Daddy Google can find.

Wholesalers wishing to step into digital product catalogs’ future should do so without hesitation. They have everything to win and nothing to lose. Providing your customers with a wholesale catalog that’s not only cohesive but also engaging, professionally designed, and trackable will help you stand out from competitors and increase your revenue with limited overall cost. It’s worth investing in software that makes your life easier and more fruitful, so let’s see how we can do that.

Examples of wholesale product catalog templates:

Tools wholesale product catalog template

This comprehensive tools wholesale product catalog template can help make it easier for your customers to choose the right size for each tool they need in their inventory. Wholesale product catalogs don’t usually have as many pictures, but having them only helps you showcase your products better. This template is fully customizable, allowing you to change the size of the visuals easily.

Include the relevant information along with the visuals, and don’t forget the shopping buttons for a full shopping experience at your client’s disposal. If you need more space, just add more pages or duplicate already designed ones that you can easily populate with your products.

Interactive home appliances wholesale catalog

Using this interactive home appliances wholesale catalog will give you the tools to engage your customers in ways you haven’t before. Talk about reinventing the wheel. With an interactive wholesale catalog, you won’t only list your products but also showcase them in the best light, providing all the details about them and various options for each product with images included. Home renovations are made easy when you can buy the products directly from the catalog itself.

Your wholesale catalog will take professionalism to other levels through multiple layers precisely designed. Clean lines and easy-to-access features for additional information make this simplistic design catalog stand out from the rest, just like your brand stands out from competitors.

Luxury goods wholesale catalog template

Different types of products need different types of product catalogs. You can look at how the tool catalog from above compares to this luxury goods wholesale catalog template. While both catalogs are professionally designed, it’s easy to see why the first one off this list won’t fit luxury items. 

The wow factor for this design is brought to you through the use of bold colors in a minimalist layout. Like that, making those high-end products showcase their worth will be easy.

How can Flipsnack help you transition to B2B eCommerce catalogs?

As a wholesaler, you can look into various methods to digitize your B2B interactions. Still, an electronic product catalog from Flipsnack answers most of your transactional needs. In our intuitive Design Studio, we simplified and streamlined ordering processes for B2B transactions. There you can easily create interactive product catalogs for your customer base. These can be regularly tracked through statistics integrated within our software as flipbook snacks.

Fulfilling orders and keeping track of them, along with accounting and finance reports, has never been easier. This one-stop shop brings all the information and process in one place, making it easy to deal with a diversified customer base.

How do I create a B2B product catalog in Flipsnack?

In just a few easy steps, your customer base can access an optimized B2B eCommerce product catalog that’s attractive and easy to use. They won’t even have to leave the catalog to place their orders. These orders will appear neatly organized in your inbox. From product tags, to buy buttons and shopping lists, Flipsnack makes sure you have all the tools ready. With a simple drag-and-drop, your catalog will be ready to reach your target audience through any existing sharing methods.

Just follow these 4 steps and get ready to receive neat order forms in bulk or per unit.

  1. Create an account – to start designing your first digital B2B product catalog, sign up, upload your PDF product catalog, use an automated wholesale catalog template, or create one from scratch.
  2. Populate the catalog – with your product list on hand, get ready to fill in your catalog. Connect your product list to your catalog and drag and drop all the information in one fell swoop. Use interactive elements to offer a seamless experience without overcrowding your catalog and update any changes that might occur within the same link.
  3. Share far and wide – reach your target audience via any communication channel without affecting your brand consistency, regardless of where they are. Share the link via social media, email, securely or publicly, or even via QR code so that your sales team has it on hand even when they’re on holiday, and an opportunity arises.
  4. Interpret the data –  the final step is for your company’s future, as market research starts from data collected and understood from previous transactions. Learn from it and improve your delivery for the next catalog you design.
Infographic representing how to create a product catalog in Flipsnack

Frequently asked questions

How can small businesses without extensive digital resources effectively transition to digital catalogs?

Small businesses can start by utilizing user-friendly, cost-effective digital catalog platforms that offer templates and drag-and-drop features. Partnering with digital marketing agencies or freelance designers for initial setup can also be efficient. Leveraging social media and their existing websites to distribute these digital catalogs helps in reaching their audience without the need for substantial digital infrastructure.

What are the key metrics to focus on when analyzing the success of a digital catalog in the B2B space?

Key metrics include engagement rates (such as time spent on the catalog and page views), conversion rates, the number of inquiries or quotes requested, and direct sales numbers. Analyzing which pages and products receive the most attention can also guide future content and product offerings.

How do digital catalogs integrate with other B2B sales and marketing tools?

Digital catalogs can be integrated with CRM systems to track customer interactions, with email marketing tools for distribution, and with analytics tools for detailed performance analysis. This integration facilitates a seamless flow of information, enabling personalized follow-ups, targeted marketing campaigns, and data-driven decision-making in B2B sales processes.


For B2B transactions, eCommerce product catalogs can replace bulky physical records, long lists of products, and multiple tables and notebooks filled with product information. The benefits for those embarking on this digital transition surpass previous business methods, even if we can’t say “farewell” to printed catalogs. You’ll also increase reach and lead generation through enhanced marketing and sales strategies, integrated features, and drag-and-drop functions.  

It will be like planting one seed and collecting fruits from a whole vineyard. When it comes to product catalogs, going digital will simplify your work, the products will be better represented, and the catalog itself and everything that comes along with it can be easily manageable from within the platform. Teams can collaborate on each catalog, but even one single person can manage.

As the fastest flipbook converter on the market, Flipsnack has the tools to guide you through this transition and make it as smooth as possible for your business. Engage your target audience through an interactive shopping experience that gives you the metrics to optimize customer satisfaction. Start now by creating your own B2B wholesale product catalog in Flipsnack!

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