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What is a digital catalog, and how can it be used?

Maybe you remember the days of flipping through paper catalogs: they’d arrive in the mail, and you’d comb the glossy pages, maybe even circling the items you wanted to order. But like landlines and MP3 players, paper catalogs have gone out of style.

Now, we’re in the age of digital catalogs.

What is a digital catalog? It’s a dynamic and interactive digital publication that showcases your business’ products and can potentially enhance your sales.

Intrigued? We thought so. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at the benefits of digital catalogs and breaking down how to create a digital catalog yourself.

Understanding digital catalogs

So, what is a digital catalog, really?

In the simplest terms, a digital catalog is an electronic version of a traditional paper catalog. It’s typically formatted as an interactive PDF and created using a platform for formatting and hosting.

However, digital catalogs can come in different forms and cater to different needs. For example:

  • Product catalogs showcase the items a company has for sale
  • Service catalogs detail the specific services offered by an organization
  • Promotional brochures can be used for specific marketing campaigns

Unlike their physical counterparts, digital catalogs are not limited to static images and text. Instead, they feature high-quality product images (without worrying about printing fees), videos, interactive elements, and ample space for detailed product descriptions.

What are some of the other advantages of digital catalogs compared to physical catalogs?

We were hoping you’d ask.

  • Cost: Digital catalogs eliminate the printing, shipping, and storage costs associated with physical catalogs.
  • Reach: Digital catalogs can easily be shared electronically, meaning they have the potential to reach a wider audience. They can be embedded on websites, shared through email and social media, and accessed from any device with an internet connection. Keep in mind that global eCommerce sales currently sit at about $6 trillion and are expected to balloon in the next few years alone. With digital catalogs, you can reach this global audience of shoppers.
  • Analytics: When you use digital catalog software, you gain access to valuable insights and data regarding user behavior. In fact, businesses can track how users interact with their catalog, which pages and products are viewed the most, and what the reach of their catalog is like.

Key features of a digital catalog

So, you’re getting a clearer picture, right? But to properly answer the question “What is a digital catalog?” you also have to understand its hallmark features.

Key digital catalog features include:

  • Interactive elements: This might include videos, hyperlinks, and embedded forms.
  • Mobile responsiveness: Digital catalogs are made to work properly on mobile devices. Why does this matter? Shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones and mobile devices to make purchases. In fact, mobile eCommerce sales surpassed $2.2 trillion in 2023 and now make up 60% of all global eCommerce sales.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: This guarantees that the catalog displays properly on different operating systems and devices.
  • Real-time updates and version control: Digital catalogs offer the significant advantage of real-time updates. Instead of waiting for reprints (like with paper catalogs), you can update your products, pricing, and items with just a few clicks. Plus, version control features allow you to track changes made to your catalogs and revert to previous versions if you wish.

Benefits of using digital catalogs

Now that you know how to answer the question “What is a digital catalog,” let’s talk about some of the advantages. A few of the most notable include:

  • Enhanced user experience: Digital catalogs can feature simple navigation and search functions, making them extremely user-friendly.
  • Increased reach: As mentioned, your online product catalogs can be distributed to a global digital audience with ease.
  • Tracking and analytics: Advanced tracking and analytics features allow you to monitor customer engagement, understand behavior, and note preferences to make impactful improvements.

Creating your digital catalog with FLIPpages

Creating and launching a digital catalog is easy with FLIPpages. Here’s what our step-by-step process is like:

  1. You’ll create your digital catalog in PDF format and then upload it to FLIPpages.
    Then, you’ll pick a theme to match your brand and incorporate any branding and design elements that align with your business.
  2. Keep certain design tips in mind to maximize your catalog’s outcomes. For example, ensure readability by choosing fonts and colors that display well on all devices.
  3. Incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, especially if you plan to host your digital catalog online. SEO leverages specific keywords your shoppers are searching for to increase your catalog’s visibility.

Don’t forget: organic search still reigns supreme as the dominant source of trackable web traffic, so you should take advantage of it with your digital catalog.

Integrating digital catalogs into your business strategy

Digital catalogs can be an excellent tool to aid your sales and marketing campaigns. For example, you can create customized digital catalogs for different customer segments and then embed lead capture forms within the catalog, allowing customers to request quotes or more information.

What’s more, digital catalogs can be used to support both B2B and B2C objectives. For example, for B2B companies, digital catalogs can showcase product lines, highlight technical specifications, and break down pricing structures. For B2B companies, you can focus on user benefits, emotional storytelling, and customer reviews.

Another powerful application of digital catalogs? You can tap into eCommerce catalog integration to facilitate direct sales. By embedding hyperlinks within your catalog, you can connect users directly to product pages on your website, allowing them to add items to their cart and easily complete purchases.

Promoting your digital catalog

Marketing your digital catalog will play a big role in its success. To master digital catalog marketing strategies, be sure to leverage your social media channels to funnel your audience to your catalog. Also, consider embedding parts of your catalog in your email marketing campaigns to target specific customer segments.

To drive more traffic to your catalog and convert visitors into customers, feature your digital catalog prominently on your website and utilize content marketing strategies. These might include optimizing digital catalogs for SEO and publishing informative and relevant blog posts.

Leverage the power of digital catalogs with FLIPpages

If you want to create and host stunning digital catalogs for your business, FLIPpages has you covered. FLIPpages is a digital publishing platform that lets you turn PDFs into engaging and interactive publications, including digital catalogs.

Visit our website to find out why businesses love creating digital catalogs with FLIPpages.

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