How to Create a Digital Catalog

There's many different ways to create a digital catalog. Usually, people think of a PDF and a reader that can flip pages, when they hear the phrase digital catalog.

And there are hundreds and hundreds of guides on how to make a flippable PDF, so this page won't cover that as it has been extensively covered.

Instead, let's talk about the latest trends for digital catalogs: 100 % digital catalogs. And be sure to check out the history of the digital catalog to learn more about how the digital catalog has evolved.

What is a 100 % Digital Catalog?

It's obviously a digital catalog but it's not a PDF. So what is it? Here's how it can look:

Why Make a 100 % Digital Catalog?

The reasons for making a 100 % digital catalog compared to a digital PDF catalog are:

  1. You free up a lot of time when creating it, and therefore it's cheaper and faster to produce.
  2. Since it's faster to produce, you start to create more digital catalogs than you normally would, thus inspiring people more.
  3. It's responsive and adapts to your visitors' screens.
  4. It can adapt to what people have clicked in the past.
  5. It can adapt to time of day, day of week, weather, and much more.
  6. It easily connects to your webshop.
  7. It's much more accessible than a PDF: voice-over, auto-translate etc. are all handled.
  8. You can track much more about how people engage with it.
  9. You can syndicate it across websites and other platforms.
  10. You can embed videos, GIF's etc.

Sound good? Here's how you create a 100 % digital catalog:

Change Your Mindset

A 100 % digital catalog is responsive. It adapts to your desktop computer, your smartphone, or tablet. It doesn't have a specific page count, or a specific deal on page 2. It doesn't have a fixed width and height either. You can't guarantee that a deal on milk is always 300x400 pixels.

With 100 % digital catalogs you need to embrace the concept of controlled chaos. You are in control but you can't pixel push everything like with a PDF. You have to be able to let go of old paradigms.

If you think you can do that, let's move on.

Get Your Product Master Data in Order

A 100 % digital catalog is backed by a database – usually a feed – so it can auto-generate itself and listen for changes in data. Since it's sourced from a feed, it's near instant to create and near instant for changes to propagate. Do you have a price change? No problem, just change your master data. Did a product sell out? No problem, just remove it from the feed.

In today's world where you have to adapt quickly, it's an uphill battle with a static PDF you need to keep updated manually.

Even if you didn't have to make a 100 % digital catalog, having your master data in order is paramount as the world is increasingly digital.

Extract Your Design and Brand Guidelines

To auto-generate your 100 % digital catalog, to make it personal, to make it on brand and unique, and to make it adapt to weather you need to streamline your design and brand guidelines.

Even if you don't think about it, you have rules when designing a digital catalog. How much whitespace, what is your primary color, secondary colors, tertiary colors, what is your font family for titles or prices, how many deals do you want to show at a time, what kind of callout style do you use - squared, circled? The list goes on.

To create a 100 % digital catalog you need to define these rules for the system to know what to do. Once it's setup, your 100 % digital catalog can start to flourish. Where you before only had a single PDF, a one size fits all, you can have hundreds of thousands of versions of your 100 % digital catalog as it adapts to people's past clicks, weather, screen size etc.

Try checking out our engine, Incito, for creating 100 % digital catalogs to learn more.

How to Integrate It

Now that you have a digital catalog, you need to integrate it on your website or in native apps, which is just as important as the catalog itself.

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