creating a catalog in Flipsnack cover

Did you recently go through all your products and ask yourself “how to create a product catalog” that beautifully showcases each and every single one of them? If yes, then you know that catalogs have a long history and that they still hold a valuable place in people’s collective minds. Rightfully so, product catalogs are oftentimes your first interaction with your customers.

Without knowing, flipping through the pages of a catalog, each customer unconsciously makes a decision. To look further, or to abandon any interest. Sounds radical? That’s how impressions work. That’s why it’s vital when deciding how to create a product catalog to focus on specific features.  

We’ve already talked about how brands like IKEA approach their catalog making process. Definitely give it a read if you want to put your catalog making skills on steroids. In this article, I’ll take a more general route, focusing more on getting you started.

At the same time, I’ll offer you a solution for a more time-effective approach. Because in the end, after all is said and done, and your catalog looks fantastic, what do you want to do? To replicate that result as fast as possible and attract more people. How? The process is called Automation, and don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

A product catalog is one of the many faces of a brand. And what are brands looking for? To discover and expand their audience. How to create a product catalog that entices any audience? Read on and you will find your answer.

How do I make a product catalog?

What are the first things you think about when asking yourself, “How to create a product catalog”? Surely there are a number of them. We are bombarded with product catalogs day and night. There might just be one lurking in your closet just now. Let me go first. Some of the things that cross my mind when thinking of creating a catalog include:

  • Astonishing pictures
  • Clever descriptions
  • A short story
  • Additional information
luxurious rugs product catalog template
Click the image above to edit the template

The Luxurious Product Catalog Template above is a magnificent example of how certain elements interact with one another. Let me show how I’ve adapted the template above and created my own product catalog.

Looks pretty good. I just juggled with those elements, and that’s the result. You can create a product catalog just like that or even better just as easily. We’ll get to that a bit later. So far, there is no grand mystery for us to solve. Those elements alone don’t say much, do they? The thing I wanted to point out is that most of us already know the elements that go behind a product catalog. The difficulty lies in how we combine and structure them. So what are the steps for creating your product catalog online?

1. Page size and number

Most product catalogs’ standard size ranges from 8.5″ x 11″ up to 9″ x 12″. Translated into pixels, 816 x 1056 up to 864 x 1152. As far as pages go, they can vary between 4 and 64 (maybe even more, depending on the case). 

Again, those are just some standard numbers. Feel free to juggle with them if you feel it will benefit your product catalog’s design.

Pro Tip: Our product catalog software, like many others, measures size in pixels. If your predefined measurements are in inches, then know that the value of 1 inch is 96 pixels for conversion. So simply multiply 8.5″ by 96, and you’ll have your result in pixels. 8.5 x 96 = 816. Quick maths!

2. Choose a template

Product catalog templates are great because they help you save a lot of time while also delivering a professional looking catalog. 

Templates are the preferred choice nowadays, and it makes sense. Just think about all the WordPress or Wix pages out there. People with no coding experience got the chance to create their own website without turning to a web developer. I call that freedom!

flipsnack banner for creating a product catalog

We follow the same pattern and offer you the same freedom. Using Flipsnack as a content creation tool means that you don’t have to hire a designer to take care of business. Simply pick a template and start adding your products to it.

3. Professional photos

You wouldn’t believe just how many people take poor pictures of their products. And the thing is, if you would like to sell your villa, you wouldn’t want your photos presenting it as a cottage, right? The same mindset must be applied here.

Professional photos can set you apart from your competitors and give you that desired edge. Why? Because humans are visual creatures that rely heavily on eyes and impressions. Hiring a professional photographer may just be the right thing to do here. He will know how to emphasize the qualities of your products. Because remember: the best products must also be the best looking ones!

Brands invest millions of dollars in commercials because they understand this principle. Profits require investing. One of the best investments for your product catalog is to equip it with otherworldly product photography.

4. Product descriptions and information

You have your professional photos in place. Now it’s time to take care of your content. Everyone opening a product catalog will like to see relevant information about the products they’ve set their sights on.

Add a description rich enough to entice your customers, but try not to make it too long. After all, you don’t want your text to compete with your pictures. There are several online resources packed with tips for writing copy for your catalog. Be sure to give them a read.

Lastly, one of the great things about having an online version of your product catalog is that you can boost your sales by adding a product tag. A product tag allows you to add a description, a price, a discount, and the product’s URL. This ensures you more space to highlight those fantastic products you just photographed.

5. Don’t forget about branding

As I said earlier, your catalog is an expression of your brand. When people reach out for a catalog, they must recognize that it’s your brand they’re touching before even having time to think or gather thoughts. 

Don’t stop at the logo. Adding brand identity to a catalog means transforming it into a mirror. Custom fonts and colors, fullscreen URLs, all must be thought of as personal characteristics intended to set you apart. Recognize that IKEA logo from a million? Then you know what I mean.

Pro Tip: Only stick to your representative colors. You don’t want your product catalog’s design to be flooded with some rainbow magic. Pick your brand’s colors, play with their Hue and Saturation, and blend them into your design.

6. Share, Download, Print

Now that you know the basics of how to create a product catalog, the final step is to make sure as many people as possible get the chance to see it. 

You can distribute your catalog in many ways, via direct email, social media, or even embed it on your website. The thing with catalogs is that you want a broad reach. So take advantage of all these different methods and make sure you get your products across.

Product catalogs look excellent standing on a coffee table. Many people browse them when they’re on a break. That’s why make sure you also download and print your product catalogs on high-quality paper.
Pro Tip: You can share a GIF version of your product catalog online. This works great for social media sharing, so make sure to give it a try.

Examples of product catalog templates

You now know how to create a product catalog online and what you should look after. We went through the theoretical part, so to speak, now let’s take a look at some of our own product catalog templates and see how the aforementioned rules translate into practice:

The simple product catalog template

simple design product catalog template
Click the image to edit the template above

Don’t mistake simplicity for lack of professionalism. Sometimes a simple design works best, as it gives you the opportunity to pass your message clearly, sharply, and fast. Our simple product catalog template is great for getting you started! As you can see, products take the center of the stage, with accompanying information following them. What is this information?

  • Descriptions
  • Prices
  • Colors

You nailed it! This kind of product catalog design removes all clutter and leaves only the essentials. This works great if you already have a customer base, as they are already familiar with your products and know they speak quality. But what if you want to impress them?

Check this modern home appliances catalog template

appliance store catalog  made in Flipsnackt
Click the image to edit the template above

Stepping into the realm of more intricate designs, this modern home appliance catalog template really has it all.

Multiple layers dictate precision in design, which, in turn, show your customers your professionalism. It’s worth repeating here that a professional design is essential for the success of any product catalog. 
As you can see, here we are not merely showing products. We’re showing a setup.

When thinking of how to create a product catalog try to think of ideas, you can pass on to your clients. You know your products best, so try to offer them some context. Build your products a miniature world and let them tell a story. And speaking of stories:

The last one, an elegant health products catalog template

flipsnack health products catalog template
Click the image to edit the template above

The pinnacle of any product catalog design! It’s a shameless exaggeration, of course, but that’s me! I like adjectives, and I believe this Elegant Health Products Catalog Template is deserving of many. Why?

In our previous example, we ended on a note, how to create a product catalog while telling a story. But what does this really mean? Taking a look at the above example, the puzzle starts to solve itself.

A story has a narrative and a central theme. As you can see in the example above, this catalog tries to convey a message. Products take up a whole page, reinforcing their importance. Products are in the center of attention, with no other elements distracting our eyes. What’s the meaning of this? That good health is the most critical asset, and as such, it should be a priority for everyone. Have that in mind, when creating your product catalog’s design.

Pro Tip: Creating a great product catalog is all about how you control space. Think about how you align the elements of your design. Dictate the flow of your viewer’s eyes.

I mentioned something in the beginning relating to speed, efficiency, and something peculiar called Automation. Time to see what that’s all about.

Faster creation equals more customers

You saw the above examples and I won’t lie. Although it’s easy to create stunning catalogs like that, it does take some time. Granted, not a whole lot, but still. Staying on top of your competition means, in no small part, being amongst the fastest on the market. 

The cheetah may not be the most imposing predator, but it’s her speed that makes her deadly. So, how to create a product catalog faster? With Automation, you can achieve that level of speed and effectiveness. But first, what exactly is Automation?

Generally, we speak of Automation in terms of production. And it makes sense, as creating a product catalog means producing something. What Automation does is offer you a software alternative to aid and control this production phase. 

More simply put, Automation is using software to control and monitor the production of a product.

Right, now that we’ve sorted out our definitions, let’s see how Automation works in Flipsnack:

These are the basic steps

steps for creating an automated catalog
  1. Click the Automation button and import your e-commerce files or CSV files to your workspace.
  2. Structure your product feed. Identify which information from the feed is a product title, price, description, and so on.
  3. Create your product catalog template. This is the one that will further be used as the starting point for all your projects.
  4. Create dynamic fields. This step will ensure that our system knows what info to display in relation to the elements you just added.
  5. Duplicate your elements and pages. If you want your catalog to follow the same design pattern, simply select Duplicate for a smooth look.
  6. Add your products with a Drag & Drop technique. You already imported your files, so simply select them from your Smart Field Groups.

I tried my best to simplify the info as much as possible, but words have a tendency to overcomplicate things. The video below will walk you through every step above in a more detailed manner. You know the process of creating a product catalog is simple as the video is only three minutes long. Take a look:

You see how we’ve gone from nothing to something in a matter of minutes. And that’s actually the hard part! Creating that first automated template. After that, you’ll basically begin from Step 3, those dynamic fields.

Design two or three templates like that to have some design variety and you’re done.

Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, your product catalog can match the same speed! Just blink, sorry, click, and it’s there! But Automation is only one of the benefits of creating a product catalog online. Let’s take a look at some others.

Benefits of creating your product catalog online

We’ve already talked about Automation, so I won’t insist on that. There is an anecdote of Achilles racing a turtle. Sounds absurd. That’s how you know it’s true. In the story, Achilles starts the race later than the frog and never manages to catch it. As he comes closer, the distance is divided by two, and by two, and by two, and so on. We’re at the point of microscopical differences, but still, he is behind.

Now, I may sound like a grandfather trying to teach a moral lesson, but why exactly am I telling you this? Because the moment to launch your product catalog in the online medium is now!

page from a product catalog showing different pairs of shoes

Don’t start late! Use our product catalog online software and get ahead of your competitors. These are only some of the reasons why having an online product catalog is mandatory:

  1. Clicks are cheaper than paper
  2. You get the same price no matter your catalog’s size
  3. More wider, and faster reach through various social channels
  4. Building on 3, wider reach equals larger audience 
  5. Advanced catalog statistics to know your customer’s behavior
  6. You get to add interactivity to your catalog
  7. Typos and errors can be fixed without compromising an entire batch of catalogs

And those are only a few of them. The point of any catalog, be it physical or digital format, is to help you increase your sales. I know this year is almost done, but just take a look at how top US brands used catalogs last year.

Take this as your absolute guiding rule: never ignore the online medium! All the seven reasons above translate into one single thing. Sales! More presence equals more sales, which in turn equals more profit for you.

Flipsnack, a great product catalog creation software

You know now how to create a product catalog and even how to automate it. In the beginning, you saw how easy it is to adapt one of our product catalog templates and make it your own. Those alone can be sufficient reasons for why Flipsnack can be a trustworthy companion for your business. 

There is still one more thing I would like to point out before leaving you to enjoy your newfound catalog passions. I mentioned earlier something about Interactivity. Do you remember that? It was one of my top reasons why you should create an online product catalog.

flipsnack banner for creating a product catalog

Interactivity is adding widgets to create a more interacting flipbook. In your case, a widget could be a 3D presentation of a product. Another example would be for real estate agents to add a virtual tour of their listings. You get what I’m saying. 

Interactivity allows you to interact with your clients differently. And if we are to pull something out of this whole article, it’s that different means better. If you don’t take my word for it, then test it. Add some interactive features to your product catalogs, and see how they perform. Our Statistics section allows you to monitor your customer interactions and make decisions based on data. And what does that data represent? Their behavior.

Interactivity is my last Pro Tip for you and, at the same time, a cardinal reason for why Flipsnack is a fantastic product catalog software.