Digital Product Catalog

Digital Catalogs

Consumers have more options to choose from today than ever before. On top of that, there are endless ways they can get information about products.  

While the number of channels available to consumers and marketers has increased, one thing has not changed - the way consumers prefer to discover new products.

One would think in a world where consumers are spending record-breaking amounts of time on social media apps, social media is where consumers prefer to discover or hear about new products. 

But it’s not. 

According to Hubspot, the most popular way consumers prefer to hear about new products is through online searches. This is a huge opportunity for a company to win over new consumers with a digital product catalog

What Is a Product Catalog?

A product catalog is a marketing resource distributed either digitally or physically. 

The purpose of a product catalog is to give customers an overview of a brand’s product line with relevant information including price, specifications, related parts and accessories, and more.

What Are the Uses of a Product Catalog?

The use of a product catalog includes the following business goals: 

  • Generating Brand Awareness
  • Showcase Product Range
  • Highlight New Products
  • Provide Product Information 
  • Generate Sales 

Other Names for Product Catalogs

You might hear additional terms used to refer to product catalogs, but some phrases mean different things so let’s take a quick look at some of the terms that are used interchangeably with product catalogs:

  • Product Guides - This is a resource that contains a list of products and relevant product information such as product descriptions, features/benefits, photos, related products, etc. Out of all of the terms used interchangeably with product catalog, product guides is the most synonymous phrase.

  • User Guides -A user guide is a product instructional manual that helps guide users on how to use a specific piece of software or product.

  • Buyer’s Guide - A buyer’s guide is a resource that has information, tips, best practices, etc. to help guide consumers to purchasing the right product for their needs.

What Is a Digital Product Catalog?

You’ve likely received many printed products catalog in your life, whether that be for beauty products, clothing, or even electronic device catalogs. But have you ever read a digital product catalog? 

A digital product catalog meaning which provides the same resources as a printed product catalog, is accessed in a variety of ways including QR codes, URLs, or even a near-field communication (NFC) tag. Rather than having to manually turn the page of a printed catalog, users are able to scroll, search, and interact with a digital product catalog in a more seamless manner. 

What Elements Go into a Product Catalog? 

  • Product Descriptions 
  • Specifications
  • Images 
  • Price
  • Related Parts or Products

Digital Catalogs Pros and Cons

Let’s discuss some of the benefits and disadvantages of digital catalogs. 

Digital Catalog Pros

  • Reduced Costs - Because digital catalogs are not being printed and shipped, the cost of creating a product catalog is greatly reduced. 
  • Enhanced Customer Experience - We live in a digital-first world. That means consumers value ease of use and instant gratification. With a digital product catalog, consumers can easily search for products, favorite products they find appealing, easily order products or get in touch with sales, and more that they couldn’t easily do when compared to a printed version. 
  • Track Analytics - It’s nearly impossible to tell who has read a product catalog when it’s printed. With a digital catalog, you can track things like which pages are the most popular, how many views your catalog has received, etc. Brands can even place a cookie on your product catalog to further receive analytics on the reader experience. 
  • Easily Updated - Printed catalogs are outdated almost immediately after they are created. This is because product information like price or availability fluctuates frequently. With a digital catalog, you can make real-time changes to the content and ensure your readers have accurate product data 

Digital Catalog Cons

  • Preference Towards Traditional - If your customers are used to printed marketing materials and prefer a traditional method of learning about product information, they may prefer printed copies of a catalog over a digital version. 

What Is a Good Product Catalog?

Product catalogs hold tremendous power for brands to help entice customers into purchasing from their brand. So if you're going to invest time and money into making a product catalog, it should be a resource you’re proud of.

What makes a good product catalog? Spoiler - it’s more than just pretty pictures that make a good product catalog or guide. Let's walk through the steps of creating a good product catalog. 

  1. Determine Target Audience: First, get specific about who your target audience is for your product catalog. Yes, your catalog is for customers but it should get more granular. Is there a certain type of demographic this catalog is intended for? If you’re selling B2B, is it going to a decision-maker or a partner? What roles and responsibilities do these audience members have? Even if your catalog is meant for a general demographic, the spray-and-pray method of marketing is no longer effective.

  2. Determine Goal: Determine your main goal for your product catalog. Yes, it’s to drive revenue for your brand, but dig deeper. Is there a certain product type you are hoping to increase sales?

  3. Determine Incentive: Why would your target audience read through this magazine? Are you offering any coupons or special promotions through this catalog?

  4. Determine Distribution - How are you planning on disseminating this product catalog? Will it be printed and mailed to customers? Will it be accessed through a QR code at a trade show? Will it be collateral that sales teams email to interested buyers? 

Before you start creating a product catalog, you have to go through the planning process and come up with answers to these questions. Doing so will ensure this resource is as successful as possible. Marketing teams are constantly being asked to prove the ROI of initiatives by executives. If you can back up your projects with data and be able to explain how the project went, insights you learned, etc. you’ll be able to prove yourself as a successful marketer and iterate on your next product catalog to yield even better results. 

Nine Things That Make a Good Product Catalog

Now that we’ve discussed the planning stage of a product catalog, we can now get into the heart of what makes a good product catalog: 

  • Compelling Product Descriptions
  • Engaging Images
  • Interactive
  • Searchable 
  • Ability to “Like” or “Favorite” Products 
  • Easy Activation Strategy 
  • Ability to Save Catalog 
  • Detailed Specifications 
  • Call-to-Actions

Digital Catalog Examples

The list of digital product catalog examples is long. Because there are so many products on the market, the way each brand executes its catalog is unique to fit the needs of their business. 

Interactive Catalog Examples 

When talking about digital product catalog examples, it’s hard not to discuss the IKEA product catalog. 

IKEA did away with its printed catalog back in 2020. This was huge since the brand had been printing its product catalog for 70 years, but it saw consumer preferences shift towards digital and decided to be proactive about how it communicated its products to its customers. 

The interactive product catalog holds a better user experience than the printed version. For starters, it’s searchable so customers can type in the specific product they are looking for instead of thumbing through hundreds of pages. 

Within each product description, there is a “More Info” button that allows readers to read additional information about the product such as price, specifications, and can see additional product images. 

From a marketing perspective, the IKEA product catalog is a great example to emulate your business goal is to trace the ROI of your marketing efforts because the brand can now track who is viewing their product catalog with the use of cookies. IKEA can enhance the user experience once someone has been cookied.

Another reason why the digital product catalog is a win for IKEA is their forethought in adding a digital shopping cart to the catalog. If a user sees a product they like, they can instantly add it to their shopping cart and have it delivered to their homes the next day. We live in a world of instant gratification. By having a digital shopping cart, customers can make purchase choices quickly and be greeted with their new products within a few days. 

Product Catalog Maker

Getting started with creating a digital product catalog is simple with a catalog maker software. Software to create product catalogs may be new to you if your brand has always created a product catalog using design software and a designer.

Product catalog makers are tools marketers can use to easily create product catalogs without the hassle of using traditional means to create them. Sometimes teams seek out the best catalog maker app or even design software to create product catalogs for their business, but it’s not always the best choice. 

Even the best design software programs like Adobe InDesign are not conducive to creating engaging product catalogs. This is because these programs usually generate PDFs as the final version. PDFs do not promote an engaging customer experience, nor do they boost sales and brand loyalty the way a digital product catalog can.

That’s why we recommend creating a digital product catalog for your products using a tool called a digital experience platform (DXP). 

How Do I Create a Digital Product Catalog?

Here are the recommended steps and actions you should take when creating a digital product catalog.

  • Determine the Structure of Your Product Catalog - Are you planning to have a product catalog that is more in the editorial style, like H&M, with items that customers can buy and articles about the newest trends in your sector? Always consider the product catalog from the standpoint of the customer. Will the addition of more material drag them down or improve their experience? Your team may choose the assets you need to gather in the following stage by deciding what information to include in the catalog.
  • Gather All of the Product Information and Related Assets - This might entail having your staff write articles explaining current trends to your audience, take updated product photographs for the experience, or set up a scenario like a house with coordinating goods and accessories, depending on how you want to structure the data. In order to complete the catalog, this stage may also need the marketing team to obtain information from the product managers, such as product descriptions, specs, prices, etc
  • Add Product Information and Related Assets to a PIM Solution - You'll save yourself and your team countless hours of work later on when you start to build the product catalog by centralizing all of your product data in a PIM solution.
  • Create a Product Catalog Digital Experience - You may quickly include the new product information while developing the digital experience once you've added your product information and related assets to your PIM system. This is the stage where your product catalog comes to life (and is perhaps the most enjoyable). You may use other design components, such as photos, buttons, and even third-party integrations, into the DXP you're utilizing to build the digital experience and make your product catalog more interesting.
  • Update Product Data and Related Assets - The pricing of your goods and other relevant information will probably vary during the year. To make sure the data about your product is updated and accurate for customers, use a Product Information Management (PIM) solution, like Lumavate’s PIM. Edits will be immediately reflected in your product catalog when you make changes in the PIM.

Product catalog management is incredibly efficient for teams when using a digital experience platform (DXP) with PIM capabilities. 

A DXP is a platform that enables business users like marketing teams to create engaging digital experiences without the need for developers. Thanks to the no-code movement, tools like DXP are on the rise for marketing teams to get more done without having to tap the resources of internal developers or even outsourcing projects to agencies. 

A PIM is a tool that organizes product data based on their characteristics, attributes, and similarities.

Lumavate is a DXP with PIM capabilities that enables marketing teams to manage their product data and create engaging digital experiences that showcase product information. 

PIM software can store product data including: 

  • Product Name
  • Product Images
  • Lifestyle Images
  • Product Descriptions
  • Pricing
  • SKU (stock keeping unit)
  • Product Ratings 
  • Product Classification
  • Product Ingredients, Specifications, or Composition 
  • Intended Uses
  • Related Products 
  • Replacement Parts
  • Compatible Accessories
  • Disclosures and Regulatory Approvals
  • User Manuals or Instructions
  • Owner’s Guides
  • Assembly or Onboarding Instructions 
  • Warranty Information
  • Videos

For example, a home appliance brand that sells refrigerators can use Lumavate’s PIM to organize their refrigerators into product types like French doors, side-by-side, and top freezers. Then the product managers can enter all of the product data listed above for each refrigerator. The marketing team can then create digital experiences that act as a front end to display this data in a number of ways including marketing campaigns, product launches, product onboarding, or through a product catalog. 

Compared to the traditional way of doing things, teams would have to try to gather the disparate data from various sources and multiple spreadsheets to create a trustworthy resource for their customers. This would usually include creating a Word or PDF version of these digital experiences that are not conducive to eliciting a “wow” feeling from customers. 

With the help of Lumavate's PIM solution, you can manage your product data and digital assets with ease, and in less than 30 minutes, you can create digital experiences linked to product data.

Lumavate even has a Product Catalog Template marketing teams can get started with quickly. This template includes the following functionality:

  • Product Information
  • Product Manuals
  • Product Images
  • Related Parts
  • Ability to Save on Homescreen 

Take a look at Lumavate’s PIM solution or take an on-demand tour to see it in action. 

How Do You Use a Digital Catalog?

Once you create a digital catalog, it’s time to share it with the world. Let’s talk about ways marketers can use their digital catalog in their outbound efforts

Trade Shows

Trade shows and events are the perfect way for brands to generate leads for the sales team, increase brand awareness, engage with customers, and secure new retail partnerships. It’s also the perfect opportunity for brands to display their product line and launch new products. 

That being said, trade shows are saturated with competitors trying to do the same. In order to capture the attention of attendees, your brand will need to do something different from the rest. 

One way to stand out among the noise is to create a digital interactive booth experience. Instead of handing out printed material like brochures and catalogs, marketing teams can create an interactive booth experience for attendees. 

Not only is this a better user experience than printed materials, but it enables attendees to activate the experience to learn more about the brand’s product offerings without talking to booth workers. By placing a QR code or NFC chip on booth signage, attendees are able to activate the experience within seconds on their smartphone and access product-specific content including a digital product catalog. 

Lumavate has a prebuilt Interactive Trade Show Template that is designed to connect your booth with a digital element. This template includes the following functionality:

  • Product Overview- Highlights the key features of your promoted product using an interactive image.
  • Product Information- Highlights the key features and benefits of your product.
  • Related Products - Feature other relevant products displayed at your brand’s booth.
  • Business Card Scanner - Easily collect attendee information and have the information flow directly into your CRM.
  • How-to Videos -Embed videos showing how to best use your product.
  • Lead Registration - Collect lead registrations from booth attendees for post-event outreach.
  • Ability to Save to Homescreen - Prompt attendees to save the digital experience to their mobile device for easy access at any time.

An added bonus of creating a digital interactive trade show booth experience is the ability for attendees to save the experience on their mobile devices to reference it later when they return home. So often, printed materials end up getting thrown in the trash immediately following the show. A digital interactive trade show booth experience doesn’t bog down attendees’ luggage and can easily be shared with other individuals who did not attend the show. 

You can promote your digital catalog in other ways including

  • Website - Highlight your brand’s product catalog on your website. Whether you highlight your digital product catalog in your website’s main navigation like the Products page, or you simply include it in your website’s sitemap, having this option is a great tool to increase your product catalog’s SEO. 
  • Social Media - Create visually appealing graphics and promote your product catalog on various social media channels. You can even make a quick video on TikTok highlighting some of the most visually engaging pages if your customers frequent that channel, or you can stick to platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram to include a link for costumes to access your digital product catalog. 
  • Paid Search - Put some money behind your digital product catalog and harness the power of paid search to increase the visibility of your resource. 
  • Sales Outreach - Having a digital product catalog is a no-brainer to include in sales outreach. When a sales team member is emailing a potential prospect, they can email a link to the product catalog directly to the prospect. Or if you want to be more personalized in your sales outreach, sales team members can create personalized Account-based Marketing digital experiences. The sales team member can film a brief video introducing themselves and giving a brief overview of the digital experience’s content, including a digital product catalog within the experience. 

Create Digital Product Catalogs with Lumavate

Creating a digital product catalog with Lumavate is easy and takes less than 30 minutes to build. 

Schedule a demo to learn more about how you can create interactive digital product catalogs for your brand. 

See Lumavate in Action

Meet with one of our experts to see how easy it is to centralize your product data, manage digital assets, and create digital product experiences. Trust us…you’re going to be wowed.