How shoppable catalogs can boost your sale efforts
Product catalogs have been around for a very long time. The first known product catalog ever created was published in 1498. But now, more than 500 years later, catalogs look nothing like they used to. Thanks to technological advances, we can now make interactive digital catalogs to showcase our products beautifully.
Table of contents
In what follows, we’ll briefly discuss the transition from the traditional catalog to shoppable catalogs & catalog marketing, and what tools you need in order to create these interactive e-catalogs. We will also cover important information on how you can increase sales with digital catalogs, and we will see real-life, successful examples of companies that have used Flipsnack for sales growth.
Transitioning from traditional to digital
Traditional product catalogs have always been a powerful tool for the retail business, as they are the medium through which companies best showcase their products and prices. These were usually printed and sent by mail. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of safer, quicker, and more efficient versions of product catalogs.
A shoppable catalog is just like any normal catalog, only with interactions. Created in a digital format, an interactive catalog utilizes elements that require deeper interaction between the reader and the catalog itself. They are powerful tools that anyone who sells online can utilize. Retailers, wholesalers, resellers, and vendors have used them for years to enhance their customers’ interactive shopping experience.
If done correctly, shoppable catalogs can drastically reduce the friction between seller and customer, increasing sales while decreasing unnecessary headaches. Interactive digital catalogs are a cornerstone of many businesses’ marketing efforts. They need to be planned out, well-designed, and easy to navigate. But what do interactive digital catalogs have to do with catalog marketing?
Catalog marketing is a strategic sales approach used by businesses to promote and sell their products. The technique involves grouping different products together in a single product catalog and sharing it with the customer. This sales technique is great, especially when using digital catalogs, as they enable retailers to make impressive interactive product guides for their customers, thus creating a wonderful interactive online shopping experience and boosting sales.
Why are shoppable catalogs important for retail
- Shoppable catalogs allow you to add links and product tags
- Shoppable catalogs can be embedded on your website, front and center
- Shoppable catalogs can be distributed on a schedule
- Shoppable catalogs can be used in top-funnel marketing campaigns
- Shoppable catalogs help increase brand awareness
Of course, there are tons of reasons why shoppable catalogs are important to retailers, wholesalers, eCommerce shops, resellers, and vendors, but these points are a really good start. Let’s get into more details below.
Links and product tags are what make digital catalogs interactive and fun. These two elements give the reader everything they need to know about the product before purchasing. You can direct them to a page with more information or insert all the information they need with a product tag.
For instance, the Flipsnack clients who used interactivity in their catalogs have seen increased sales. Shopping links were the most used interactivity feature in their shopping catalogs. So, if you need to make interactive catalogs that stand out and help with your retail strategy, make sure to include them in your work.
2. Shoppable catalogs can be embedded on your website, front and center
One of the most unique properties of a digital catalog is that it can be embedded on most websites. Instead of a customer having to visit a store or requesting that you mail your catalog to them, they can simply jump on your home page and view the catalog from there.
3. Shoppable catalogs can be distributed on a schedule
We’re all creatures of habit. If we know a sale is coming up, we will anticipate it, looking forward to the savings we will get. The beauty of interactive catalogs is that you can make them on a scheduled basis, distributing them to your customers weekly, monthly, quarterly, or really whenever you see fit. Customers will begin to anticipate your sales and know exactly when they get to see your catalog.
4. Shoppable catalogs can be used in top-funnel marketing campaigns
Being digital in format, shoppable catalogs are the perfect resource to push at the top of your sales funnel. This works so well because interactive catalogs are a very familiar format to most online shoppers. The top of the funnel is designed to capture a broad audience. This means that you will need something that captures a lot of attention. Digital catalogs provide the perfect context that a new lead might need to decide to carry on through the funnel.
5. Shoppable catalogs help increase brand awareness
Not only do you get to display all your products in a catalog, but you also get to introduce potential buyers to a whole world of products. Your products!
For example, just think about the beautiful IKEA catalogs. They’re much more than just a collection of photoshopped images of minimalist furniture. They introduce you to a new world. By showing what your house could look like if you bought IKEA furniture. Just take a look at the image below. All are part of IKEA branding.
IKEA has made a name for itself through these catalogs. They have become part of the brand’s identity, just like they can for anyone else. Everywhere you look in their catalogs, you see their colors, logos, and their unique style that is highly distinguishable from anyone else. Even if the buyer decides not to buy anything, IKEA just promotes itself through that catalog.
The truth is that it’s not just brick-and-mortar retail stores that can benefit from a shoppable catalog. Wholesales, resellers, small vendors, and even eCommerce shops can all use digital catalogs and benefit from the list above.
Using interactive catalogs to boost sales
Now that we’ve discussed why catalog marketing with its shoppable catalogs is important to modern retail, let’s examine how interactive catalogs can help boost sales. First, we’ll talk about the technology behind creating a successful interactive product catalog, and then we’ll dive into strategies.
To create an interactive shoppable catalog, you need software that turns static catalogs into interactive digital versions. If you truly want to maximize your digital catalog, you have to add interactive elements. A flipbook maker like Flipsnack can help you create a shoppable catalog that will enhance the whole interactive shopping experience for your customers.
But what kind of interactivity are we talking about? In Flipsnack, there are plenty of interactive enhancements that you can add to your catalog to make it better:
Product tags in Flipsnack provide additional information – like title, descriptions, price – and images for your products. For example, they allow you to promote your products in a better way, turning even the most basic catalogs into a better, more detailed catalog experience.
Captions are static icons that you can add anywhere in your catalog. Once clicked, they expand, providing more information about your products. Remember, it’s all about adding that extra layer of detail, so using a combination of product tags and captions can help you mix it up a little and help the customer.
Much like the previous two examples, the popup frame allows you to throw in some additional interactivity without taking up too much room in your catalog. Using this feature, you can display surveys, contact forms, music players, video players, photo slideshows, virtual tours, interactive maps, custom-built add-to-cart pop-ups, and more.
Let’s say that you use a high-quality image, but the amount of images on the screen doesn’t allow for a detailed viewing experience for the customer. No worries! Using spotlight images, the customer simply has to hover over the image. A spotlight window will appear, showing the image in a bigger and much more detailed format.
Adding photo slideshows to your catalogs is a quick and easy way to increase engagement. Sure; a nice image is more than enough to get the point across in some cases. But what about situations where you need more images? You certainly don’t want to take up much room for a single product. The photo slideshow feature in Flipsnack is the perfect way to show more while maintaining the design of your interactive catalog.
Part of any selling process is gathering leads; an essential part of any lead marketing is using forms. After all, you can’t sell to the right people if you don’t know who the right people are. Lead forms are the easiest way to collect information from your readers. In Flipsnack, you can add them directly to your catalog.
Your interactive catalog is a great opportunity to collect valuable information from your leads. For example, let’s say a shopper sees an item they like, but they need more information about it before buying. Lead forms give the opportunity to inquire about a product with a single click. From there, the sales team can take over and help guide the lead to the final conversion.
Of course, you’ll want to use this with caution. Not every catalog or flipbook is meant for something like a lead form. It can get annoying if you insert such a form in every single catalog, depending on how often you release new ones. So use them, of course, but use them sparingly.
One of the biggest points of friction when it comes to digital catalogs is the constant back and forth between seller and buyer. Think about it as if you’re in the customer’s shoes. You browse the catalog, find what you want, make a note of it, and then send off the order.
Flipsnack’s shopping list feature allows shoppers to browse, find the products they want, and add them directly to a PDF list. That list can then be sent off to the seller and act as a receipt and a point of reference. This will greatly reduce the need to communicate at all, a very important detail for big retailers and wholesalers that deal with many customers at once.
Even in catalogs, videos are powerful marketing tools. Video gives you the ability to engage your audience on a completely different level. Instead of simply reading content, they’re able to watch and listen. Adding to the sensory factor gives your interactive catalogs that extra layer of engagement. Add a product review or a behind-the-scenes video of how it’s made. With a printed catalog, this isn’t even remotely possible. However, with an interactive PDF catalog, it’s as easy as a few clicks.
Adding interactive elements to your digital catalog is more than just entertainment. They add to your catalog’s shoppability, making the entire experience focus on the customer.
Strategies to boost sales through interactive catalogs
As you can see from the elements listed above, Flipsnack makes it very easy to put together interactive catalogue solutions for your business. Now it’s time to see how these shoppable catalogs can actually help you boost your sales. Here’s a short list of strategies you can take into consideration:
1. Optimize your interactive digital catalog
Firstly, you need to do in order to improve your sales is to optimize your digital catalog. Creating an optimized interactive digital catalog is an easy task if you follow a few simple steps. Make sure that your catalog is well-organized, easy to navigate, and engaging. If you have a large product catalog, consider including a table of contents to help your clients find what they need quickly. It’s also crucial to ensure that your catalog is responsive on all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. This will provide a seamless user experience and encourage customers to explore your catalog from any device.
One of the most significant advantages of using a digital catalog is that any changes you make within the catalog are instantly reflected without you having to send the updated catalog to your clients or customers. This means that you can make updates to your products and their information, fix any errors, and completely update your catalog in real time. With a digital catalog, you will always have an up-to-date representation of your products and services.
2. Be accurate and consistent with your shoppable catalogs
Secondly, you must ensure accuracy and consistency in shoppable catalogs, so you need to focus on a few key aspects of catalog management. Here’s how you can do that:
- Data accuracy: it’s important to update your product information constantly: prices, descriptions, and availability. A centralized database to store and manage your product information will help you avoid discrepancies. Once your data source is ready, you can automatically update it in Flipsnack. Using our automation feature, you can automate the production of your catalogs.
- High-quality images: your products must be showcased in high-resolution images. To maintain consistency throughout your catalog, make sure to use consistent backgrounds and lighting for all your product images. Also, make sure the photos accurately reflect the appearance of your products.
- Consistent branding: using Flipsnack’s branding features, you will be able to maintain a uniform feel and look throughout your catalog. Having consistent branding through fonts, colors, and styles for all your product descriptions and catalog elements will help your customers recognize your catalogs faster and engage with them more easily.
- Consistent pricing: listing the same prices across all your platforms and channels is necessary. This will help your clients and customers have a better shopping experience.
- Regular audits and tests: if you do regular audits of your shoppable catalogs, you can quickly identify and correct any mistakes, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies you may find. Moreover, if you can regularly test the whole shopping experience, you can catch and fix any issues that may arise. This will help you create and maintain a shoppable catalog that is consistent, accurate, and that provides a wonderful shopping experience to your customers.
3. Showcase products at their best
Thirdly, a combination of beautiful images, accurate descriptions, and interactive elements is the key to creating a successful shopping experience for your customers. The overall design of your product catalog should help you put your products in the spotlight. Having a thoughtful design, one that meets your branding requirements will create a good shopping experience. Rely on good images and great catalog copy. Images and design are just the beginning. They lure the customers in, but they aren’t what really helps them make a decision to purchase. A clear description is designed to give the customer everything they need to decide whether or not to buy that product.
You can include details like materials, usability, benefits, pain points the product solves, and so on. All of these are important details that the buyer might need.
I left the best part for last – the interactive elements we talked about earlier. They will come in handy to bring all the other components together to create a wonderful online shopping experience. Interactivity is what can set your catalog apart from all the others, and it’s what actually makes your shoppable catalog memorable. Therefore, by incorporating features like real-time product previews in product tags, interactive 360-degree views, and videos, users can actively engage with your catalog, enhancing their overall shopping journey.
Whether it’s for wholesale or retail, showcasing your products at their best is a very easy thing to do in an online catalog maker like Flipsnack, and it’s an important step in boosting your sales.
4. Simplify the ordering process
Moreover, one of the most important steps that can make or break your sales efforts is how the ordering process goes. If it’s a tedious affair, your customers may rethink how they purchase their goods, so it’s best to streamline the whole process and make it as easy as possible.
Utilizing digital catalogs simplifies the ordering process significantly. Modern technology allows your customers to easily create an order list directly from your online catalog and send it to you without any hassle. This has a double benefit – it ensures order accuracy and consistency.
Orders can be processed swiftly and efficiently with no need for paper documents. And since there is no paper trail, the risk of order mistakes is significantly lower. This improved accuracy eliminates the possibility of misunderstandings and order errors, leading to a higher level of client satisfaction and better sales.
In Flipsnack, you can take advantage of all these benefits thanks to the shopping list feature. Just take a look at this video to see how easy it is to use it in your shoppable catalog.
5. Use analytics to improve performance
Further, the possibility to turn your traditional catalogs into interactive digital ones gives businesses never-before-seen advantages regarding the insights they can gather about how their customers interact with their product catalogs.
Whether we’re talking about identifying where your traffic is coming from, observing impressions, interactions, and average time spent on pages – tracking statistics has never been easier. You can create and download customized reports, and you can even integrate Google Analytics for even deeper insights.
All the information you gather from tracking these statistics allows you to find potential problems within your catalogs. Moreover, they also enable you to adjust and optimize your catalog marketing strategy to improve the performance of your catalogs, thus increasing engagement and sales.
6. Reach a wider audience
In addition, just like tracking statistics, reaching a wider audience is a thing that technology has made available to us in recent years. Some businesses still use traditional paper catalogs, but they are very limited from a geographical point of view. Digital catalogs allow you to reach clients from all over the world in just a few seconds, thus allowing you to expand your client base. This could lead to an increase in sales.
In what concerns sharing your digital catalogs, in Flipsnack, this can be done in many ways – embed it on your website, share it on social media, by email, or as a QR code. You can even share your digital catalog as a full-view link, which contributes to a clean and uncluttered viewing experience. As such, the possibilities are much better than those available for traditional ones, usually sent by email.
The bottom line is that, from a business perspective, the benefits of using interactive digital catalogs are significant. You can increase the efficiency of your catalogs, and solve potential errors and problems quickly and without hassle. Not to mention, you can simplify the ordering process, track statistics to improve performance, and reach a wider audience that you may not have been able to reach otherwise. Furthermore, real-time updates allow your customers to have instant access to more accurate and current product information.
You don’t have to take my word for it. We have specific case studies available that can show you how businesses have used Flipsnack to create impressive shoppable catalogs that helped them boost their sales.
Up until this point, we have solely focused on the theoretical part of how you can boost sales with digital catalogs. Now it’s time to see exactly how Flipsnack can help your business by looking at these great examples.
Melissa & Doug is a well-known and highly regarded manufacturer of children’s toys, both nationally and globally, due to their classic and timeless designs. Since 1988, the company has been committed to bringing its vision to life by creating meaningful toys that inspire children’s imaginations. So, they found Flipsnack when they were looking for a way to streamline their ordering process for their customers.
Before the pandemic, Melissa & Doug was using traditional catalogs that were sent out annually so their clients, big or small, could place orders. After the pandemic hit, the company pivoted to digital catalogs, but they found it difficult to use multiple platforms—one for creating catalogs and another for placing orders. Everything was a hassle.
Flipsnack offered them a solution to their problem: a one-stop-shop catalog. The first step was for their sales department to create their digital catalog in Flipsnack. However, they had to do it from scratch because they have over 700 products. Once their catalog template was done, the automation feature allowed them to easily populate their catalog with all the information they needed—product names, descriptions, images, links, etc.
Let’s take a look at some of the results the company has seen since switching to Flipsnack:
- Increased sales in just 2 months;
- 2292 catalog views & a whopping 2 h 9 min. average time spent by customers exploring the catalog;
- 700 products showcased in a 215-page catalog, made entirely in Flipsnack;
- A 50% time reduction of the catalog-making process through the automation feature.
Electrolux Group is a leading global appliance company that has shaped living for the better for more than 100 years. They were mainly interested in a solution that would help them create and distribute shoppable catalogs to trade partners. They found Flipsnack while looking for a solution that allowed them to do exactly that while also enabling them to keep the catalogs updated with their innovations.
Electrolux wanted to find a way to turn from printed catalogs to digital ones. The main request was to find a solution that would allow them to make their digital catalog interactive and attractive. They wanted to find a solution that was already highly functional but that was also willing to expand based on their needs.
It all started with Electrolux Sweden. Flipsnack allowed the branch to turn its static catalogs into highly interactive, beautiful-looking shoppable catalogs. By strategically using multimedia content and responsive flipbooks that work on any device and by ensuring fast and targeted distribution, success was inevitable.
Electrolux created digital versions of their printed catalogs and added interactive elements:
- product tags—to offer more information about the showcased products, and the automation feature to speed up the creation process of a larger number of products;
- slideshows—to include caring instructions;
- videos—to help customers with the installation of the products;
- embedded maps—to help their clients find service centers with ease.
The results appeared quickly:
- 104 400 catalog impressions;
- 76 300 product catalog views;
- 8 800 catalog downloads.
With these case studies, we’ve reached the end of our journey. Therefore, now that you’re equipped with all the information about how a great shoppable catalog can boost your sales, it’s time to create your own.
All you have to do is follow the steps and advice that we’ve talked about in this article, make sure to add your own twist and branding, and let your creativity fly. Thus, adding interactive elements such as shopping lists, shopping links, product tags, and videos is a proven way to increase your sales, so make sure you’re paying extra special attention to the creative process.
To conclude, remember that Flipsnack is here to help you with your interactive digital catalogs. Turn your static catalog into something that engages, interacts, and converts.