Should you create online catalogues?

Should you create online catalogues?

When you think of conventional marketing, you normally conjure up images of leaflets, brochures and catalogues. All of these are traditional marketing tools and you could be forgiven for assuming that being in the digital age, you don’t need a catalogue or similar today. Here are some very interesting facts to keep in mind:

  • IKEA prints 213 million catalogues worldwide

  • Print catalogues reach approximately 20 million Australians, this amounts to more people than free-to-air television (find more stats on the Australian market here)

  • About 11 billion catalogues are mailed every year in the USA

If you do have a printed catalogue already, perhaps you question whether there are any benefits to having your catalogue duplicated online. Does a digital catalogue complement or replace a printed version?

Additionally, if you have a webstore you may wonder whether it’s relevant to create online versions of your catalogues. Of course – the big question for e-commerce sites is ‘does an online catalogue even have a place in a webstore?’

Let’s investigate a little further.


The Power of Storytelling

You may wonder what the difference is between a catalogue and a webstore. There is a significant difference and that difference is storytelling.

If you know what you want to buy online, there’s nothing more effective than a good quality, responsive webstore. You simply enter the product you’re looking for in the search box, find the product, check the details, then add it to your cart and checkout – simple! However, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, a webstore is often not an easy experience. You can get lost in the webstore, you could even miss-out on potentially suitable products and it’s a difficult task comparing one product to another.

Tell Your Story

When a customer gets confused in a webstore they need guidance. That’s why a catalogue is a far more user-friendly experience. A customer just turns the pages and views products sitting in carefully created stories. It also gives you, the brand owner, control because you’re the one guiding the customer. You define exactly what you want the customer to see, you decide on the key messages you want to stand out and it’s up to you to present your products beautifully.

Group Products Effectively

There’s no doubt that catalogues are a wonderful way to group products together. Consider this. When you want to launch a large-scale campaign for Christmas or Easter (for example) you will doubtless find that your webstore is not flexible enough to completely customise the shopping experience. You can’t easily alter the look and feel of your pages without significant changes. The same applies when you’re creating a look for a particular product category or target sector. It’s far more beneficial for business development initiatives to have the tools to create material that is customised to a specific target, and that’s why catalogues are extremely useful!


Effectively Reach & Engage Target Customers

Printed catalogues reach approximately 20 million Australians through their letterboxes. People enjoy the look and feel of a catalogue in their hands – it has a physical “connection”, something that the digital world cannot supply. Let’s not forget that a printed publication can often sit on a table for several days, therefore generating multiple “experiences”. Who doesn’t pick up a catalogue or similar while they’re sitting down or having a cup of coffee? It’s something to do – and a marvellous marketing opportunity!

A Genuine Interactive Experience

Now, with a digitally formatted catalogue you get an even wider reach and you can create a far more interactive experience. We know that when users go online, they have on average a 7-second attention span. Obviously, to capture that attention you need an attractive and enticing online presence. Digital catalogues allow to capture, hold users attention and engage with them by embedding videos, animations, galleries, slideshows, enquiry forms and do so much more! They combine the simplicity of a published format along with the interactivity of the web – genius!

Online catalogues also have a wider reach. Most prospective customers have an email address or a Facebook account (unless your target customer is age 60+). These platforms are a huge opportunity to reach more customers and they are often cheaper than mailing out via the postal service.


Significant Production Cost Benefits

So what about the production costs? They are completely different online and offline. Here’s an example:

  • Printing 60,000 copies of a 120 catalogue (A4 115 gsm gloss) costs about $185,000

  • Developing the same catalogue online ranges from $500 to $5,000

That’s just a fraction of the cost!

Therefore, we can assume that online catalogues are far more likely to offer higher ROI and allow you to create multiple versions or even editions to better suit every one of your target customer groups.
Then there’s the speed to market – online is faster and it’s a much more efficient way to update content because you don’t need to reprint. It’s just a few clicks of a mouse.

Fast Analysis

Of course, one of the biggest benefits for moving over to an online catalogue rather than a printed catalogue is the availability of detailed analytics. When you want to measure your ROI, it’s very easy to analyse your figures and therefore greatly improves decision-making when planning ahead for your business.


Sales Conversion

We have learnt from various studies that catalogues have an key influence on in-store purchases. For example, a study from the Australia Post surveyed 8,500+ Australians and proved that catalogues in printed format are positioned among the top 4 influencers. Websites, personalised direct mail, TV advertising and catalogues/flyers influenced up to 92% of a consumers’ service-related purchase decision.

Now, let’s look at this in digital format. A research from Salmat in Australia observed that one in five purchases made as a result of reading a digital catalogue was completely unplanned. Strategically placed “buy now” buttons linked to a webstore make it far easier for a seduced customer to make that purchase, immediately!

With advanced solutions – like what we have at Webpublication – the experience of ordering or purchasing directly from the catalogue can be even more advanced and seamless. In fact, that web catalogue becomes its own mini-webstore and boosts sales for any campaign or specific targeted sector.

The biggest benefit digital catalogues provide is the ability to integrate your offers into your ecommerce platform so consumers can seamlessly move from browsing to purchasing. Some of the more savvy retailers are taking advantage of the ability to add rich media such as videos into their catalogue, allowing them to showcase more of the features and benefits of their products and boosting engagement” said Mr Salter, National Sales Director at Salmat.

It’s definitely time to reap the benefits of online catalogues.

Contact us to speak to a digital catalogue expert.


Share this article:

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone
  • digital catalogue