What Are the Benefits of Digital Catalogs?

There are many benefits to digital catalogs. Perhaps that's also why most retailers still produce digital catalogs.

Based on our 13 years experience of showing digital catalogs in our own shopping apps and in retailers' own apps, here's our take on the benefits:

High Online to Offline Conversion

Based on our own research from our popular shopping apps where we ask more than 500 people who read digital catalogs, digital catalogs can convert up to 70 % from online to offline. Those numbers are unheard of compared to other marketing channels.

The conversion rate varies depending on which sector you operate in: groceries, electronics, do-it-yourself etc.

Interactiveness and Videos

Since it's digital, you can make the digital catalog much more interactive:

This is obviously way more inspiring than a static catalog. When it comes to videos, it's important to not overdo it. Less is more when it comes to videos as you risk becoming too annoying and forcing people to leave. You have to see the videos as complementary to the products, not the main content.

Reach Increases

When creating a digital catalog, there's many ways to share it. A lot of companies even specialize in showing your digital catalogs to their own visitors. Most of them support PDF's and some have their own feed-based solution like Incito. It means you don't just share your digital catalog on your own website, but there's a lot of platforms you can syndicate your digital catalog to, which means more people seeing your products.

Brand Support

Since your reach increases, it's important you own your brand and show it's you. Digital catalogs support your brand because it uses your fonts, logos, colors, and more. It's an experience that emphasizes your brand and it shows you've put time and care into it.

Digital catalogs are also a way for you to do storytelling and tell a unique story about e.g. how the products are made. In other words, you can add many more dimensions to your brand.

Cheaper to Produce

When it comes to catalogs in general, there are different stages that determine your costs:

Physical distribution obviously has high costs due to print and distribution. The production costs for a physical catalog and a PDF catalog are the same since the PDF is the end-result of a physical catalog anyway. For auto-generated feed-based catalogs like Incito, there's an initial cost in setting up your feed, but then it starts to become really cheap every week as everything is automated.

Easier to Update

Physical catalogs can't be changed once distributed. Digital catalogs, however, can change all the time. PDF's are a bit tedious to update, of course. Feed-based catalogs are near instant though.

Integrates Nicely with eCommerce

If you have a webshop, it's paramount the digital catalog is connected to it. A lot of people prefer reading your digital catalog when visiting your website, so you need to bridge it to your webshop. And since the digital catalog is very inspiring, the conversion rate is usually higher, and therefore you want to provide a way to purchase the products.

It Produces Interesting Data and Fosters Experiments

How people interact with a digital catalog is really interesting. It's not about page views but more about engagement and what works together.

In a digital catalog, you can experiment with putting different products together, experiment with what is the A, B, and C priority of each product, and see what works. Instead of a fixed 3x3 product grid like most webshops, you get a chance to experiment with pairing. When someone visits your webshop, it's not just about selling a barbeque, you want to show the barbeque together with some corn, barbeque sauce etc.

And how do you even measure if a digital catalog works? Because at the end of the day, the products and the design you put in there is what defines whether it works.

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