Many industries rely on their product catalogs. Print catalogs have always been an essential marketing tool for commerce both in B2B or B2C spheres. However, global ecommerce is evolving, and more and more people are buying online. This creates a challenge for a lot of industries because they’re used to operating with print catalogs, and thus it’s difficult for them to keep up with trends. 

Let’s take a closer look at the role digital catalogs play in ecommerce.

What is an Ecommerce Digital Catalog?

A digital catalog is an online document that showcases your products or services, can be accessed as a direct link, and is easy to navigate around. It’s the key to converting potential customers into buyers. Digital catalogs in ecommerce allow buyers to find specific product information in seconds: item descriptions, prices, or product images. Such catalogs can help create an immersive, information-rich experience for online shoppers and make them more likely to move through the purchase journey. 

What are the Main Challenges of Moving Your Print Catalogs to Digital?

When done well, digital catalogs can help you take on new opportunities. With online product catalogs, you can expand to new channels, work with new suppliers, increase sales, and more. However, you might face some issues when working with digital catalogs. 

1. Choosing the right tool.

Want to be sure your buyers are comfortable shopping within your product catalog? Then, you have to choose an appropriate online catalog solution depending on your business needs. While there are various tools for creating ecommerce catalogs, not all of them will fit. To make the right choice, start with tools that have a trial, so you can explore the tool's functionality and see what it can do for your business. The trial version will help you define what format you need for your catalogs and how you can enhance them. For example, some catalog tools allow you to add videos, pop-up images, links, and other interactivity that can enrich your product catalog and make it more engaging for shoppers. 

And you need to keep in mind that while print catalogs are easy to flip through to find something, virtual catalogs have to be well-structured. The information should be clear, accurate, and easy to navigate to. You can add a table of contents or search tools, so your customers will find what they need in seconds.  Moreover, while choosing a solution look closer at its interface: it should be user-friendly and comfortable for you. Thus, you’ll not waste your time figuring out how the tool works.   

2. Managing ecommerce product catalogs.

It’s a strategic process to provide comprehensive and correct information in your product catalog across all sales channels. Whether your product data is created by your company or by your suppliers, you need to manage its accuracy. Ecommerce catalogs usually involve multiple managers, so it can cause problems in creating and delivering updated product catalogs through distribution channels. Besides, regular updates of huge catalogs require time and effort. 

Luckily, by moving catalogs online you will be able to simplify the process. With digital catalogs, you don’t need to reprint a new version and distribute it again. All you need to do is re-upload the file with your product catalog online, and it will be instantly available to your clients – in most cases under the same direct link you sent them before. And your sales managers will always have the right information at hand. An obvious win-win!

3. Making catalogs user-friendly.

All businesses try to provide the best possible user experience to their customers. This means not only making ecommerce catalogs accessible on desktops and mobile devices, but also keeping them well-organized. Even if you’re certain your print catalogs are customer-oriented and provide detailed information, digital catalogs have their own requirements. Make sure that your customers can easily browse through your product catalog by offering them the option to search, filter, and sort your web store product information. You can do this by systematically tagging and categorizing all of your products. 

Don’t let the above challenges stop you from moving digital. Publishing catalogs in an online format has plenty of benefits. With virtual catalogs, you will no longer need to spend time and money on printing and distribution. The online format will open new possibilities for you, such as distributing through online platforms, posting catalogs on social media, and more. This will help cut printing costs, raise brand awareness and reach a wider audience of online shoppers. And if that’s not enough, below are some reasons why digital catalogs are a vital tool in ecommerce.

Why are Digital Catalogs a Good fit for Ecommerce?

According to stats, there were 2.5 billion online shoppers in 2020 – the pandemic undoubtedly played a significant role in increasing their number. Besides, the tendency shows that the number of digital shoppers is rapidly growing each year. With more and more people buying digitally, ecommerce brands need to keep up with trends and have online catalogs to provide an inspiring product experience to potential buyers. 

1. Provide cross-platform compatibility.

Nowadays, online shoppers are accustomed to searching for information online whether they’re looking for a music album or a new laptop model. If you want to create a competitive ecommerce product catalog to meet their customer behaviors, you have to check that products are easily found and accessible online. With everybody using multiple devices, it’s important to provide access to online catalogs on any smartphone or tablet, as well as on a stationary computer. This type of cross-platform compatibility is what makes digital catalogs so competitive in the modern market – they’re accessible as links in any browser, on any device. Plus, you can distribute online catalogs via any channel you want, be it website, email, or social media.

2. Showcase products at their best.

Creating digital product catalogs allows brands to promote their products in the most visual and attractive way. People like to be inspired by content, and you can enrich your ecommerce catalogs with high-quality photos, videos, pop-up images, and other interactive elements. Thus, shoppers will have a deep understanding of your product and will most likely move to purchase. 

3. Increase sales.

With digital catalogs, you can make the shopping process comfortable and easy. For instance, link the items in your catalogs to the products displayed on your site. This way, buyers will just click on the item they like and go to your site to purchase it right away. By simplifying the order process you will encourage visitors to buy and convert them into your loyal customers. So introducing product catalogs into your ecommerce can increase orders and sales. 

4. Structure your catalogs.

A clear and detailed ecommerce catalog will help you be a leader in your industry and build trust between you and your buyers. With a well-organized digital catalog, shoppers will find the information they are looking for in seconds. If you have a huge catalog with various sections and a lot of products, then you need to create a table of contents and enable text search, so your buyers will have no problem searching within the catalog. Be sure to do this with your customers in mind to provide a better user experience for them.   

5. Improve buyers’ shopping experience.

A digital format for catalogs is an excellent opportunity to engage your buyers and make them more likely to purchase. While there are different formats for presenting your products or services in a digital catalog, one of the most popular is a flipbook format. It looks like a print copy and provides a lifelike reading experience on the web. Using this format, you can enhance your ecommerce catalogs with pop-up images, videos, and other interactive content that will give your buyers comprehensive and detailed information about your product.

Wrapping up

Digital catalogs in ecommerce can become an important touchpoint in the customer journey. Make sure you create a great experience for your buyers, because a well-structured and customer-oriented catalog is an instrument that highlights the best in your products and helps shoppers make their choice faster.

BigCommerce helps growing businesses, enterprise brands, and everything in-between sell more online.

Start your free trial
High-volume or established business? Request a demo

Start growing your ecommerce business even faster.

Start Your Free Trial

High-volume or established business? Request a demo