Product Catalog PDF

Product catalog PDFs might seem a little out of date. Why bother to make one when people can just go to your online shop? But like fashion trends, what’s old is new again. Product catalogs are making a comeback with lasting results.

In fact, Flipstack reported that businesses that use product catalogs saw 72 percent increase in business. With a number like that you might have some questions.

What is a product catalog PDF? Are there other types? What’s the best example of catalog use cases? 

Below we’ll go over product catalog PDFs and how to take a modern catalog and make it even more relevant to customers. 

What is Meant By Product Catalog?

A product catalog or catalogue is a list of a company’s products. They usually include additional information about them, like product names, prices, features, benefits descriptions, and photos. Product catalogs are sometimes referred to as a product guide or product list. 

What is An Example of a Product Catalog?

A classic example of a product catalog is the IKEA catalog they send to members in the mail. It’s something people can easily flip through for furniture and decor ideas. 

But printed catalogs are only one type of product magazine. There are many other types to consider along with printed and PDF catalogs. 

What Are The Types of Product Catalogs?

Despite what the Michael Scott’s of the world may think, there are many different types of catalogs that don’t use paper at all. 

Product Catalog PDF

product catalog PDF is a catalog in PDF format. They work like any other PDF. 

Pros of using a product catalog PDF

  • It costs less to produce.
  • You don’t have to decide on types of paper. 
  • All people need to access it is an internet connection.

Cons of Using a Product Catalog PDF: 

  • Production time isn’t that much shorter.
  • It can’t be updated in real-time.
  • Adding video to PDFs is doable but tricky. 

This is a huge issue. Suppose you’ve just created a PDF catalog to display your seasonal line of lawnmowers. If pricing changes or a description gets updated for one of the products, the PDF catalog now displays inaccurate information for your customers. The marketing team would have to use the design software used to create the PDF catalog, update it, and then have to send out or update the catalog in the various places where it’s live. 

Just like a print catalog, a PDF is not updated in real time. That means anyone who has a copy of your current PDF catalog now has one that lists the obsolete product. Imagine sitting with a customer and trying to explain all the new features the updated product has. Without an updated catalog they may not fully understand what your new products are capable of. 

To fix this the PDF would have to be updated and then sent out again. If it’s on your website that means taking it down and replacing it with the updated version. If you’ve emailed it to salespeople and customers that means resending it. It also means ensuring that the updated information fits within the design you’ve chosen. 

A Digital Catalog

A digital catalog is a catalog that’s accessed online. A product catalog PDF is one type of digital catalog. But any type of catalog accessed online is a digital catalog. Some digital catalogs can work with product information management (PIM) systems. This makes creating and delivering content much easier. It’s also easy to update product information.

Pros of Using a Digital Catalog

  • It costs less to make.
  • You can include videos and other fresh content that’s more relevant to your audience. 
  • It takes seconds instead of days or weeks to view the latest edition.
  • Anyone with an internet connection can access it. 
  • Some types of digital catalogs can gather analytical data on users. 
  • You can create one in a short amount of time. 

Cons of Using a Digital Catalog: 

  • If you opt for a PDF version it can’t be updated in real time.

Online Catalog Examples

IKEA doesn’t just do print catalogs. They know that modern shoppers want modern ways to shop. Check out their digital IKEA catalogs to see a great example of an online catalog.  

What makes this a good example is that IKEA splits its catalog into several categories. They have catalogs for their Kitchen items, outdoor furniture, and even one for offices. 

How to Make a Catalog for Products?

There are many different ways to make a catalog for products. 

The first step is to decide which format you’d like to use for your product catalog. 

For clothes and other wearable items a simple product catalog with pictures and descriptions work well. But for heavy machinery and tools you might opt for versions that use video so customers can see your products in action. 

In fact, according to Shopify, adding an explainer video increases conversions. 

How to Create a Catalog in PDF?

Exactly how you create a catalog PDF depends on the vendor you choose. They should have the exact instructions on how to do it and their best practices.  

Best ProductCatalog PDF

When it comes to finding the best product catalog PDF you have to keep your needs in mind. 

Will you be able to easily add video if you need to? What about analytics? Is there a way to track not just who has viewed the PDF, but what parts they responded to? 

As we’ve said before, PDFs don’t offer a lot in the way of analytics. A lot of product catalog templates for PDFs can’t connect to Google Analytics. So while the template may look attractive, it can’t really give you any insight into what customers liked about it. 

What is The Best Way to Make a Product Catalog?

The best product catalog maker is one that’s easy to use, can include video and other innovative elements, and takes little-to-no time to make. You want to be able to write the content and pop it in without hassle. 

The best way to make a product catalog is to:

  1. Determine the format of your product catalog and the information you want to include in it. 
  2. Gather all of the product information. This is product descriptions, pictures, measurements, specifications,  and any other product information customers will need to make a decision.
  3. Add all of your product information and related assets to a Product Information Management (PIM) solution. When using a PIM solution to store your company’s product information, you can enable your team to be more efficient as there is one centralized location to find and manage this data. 
  4. Figure out a delivery method: PDF or digital version. The steps for creating your product catalog will vary based on if you choose PDF or not and is drastically easier to create when making a digital catalog. 

What is The Best Software to Make a Catalog?

The best software to make a catalog is one that’s easy to use, fits within your budget, and has product catalog templates. The good news is that there are many options to choose from. Many places have simple product catalog templates that can showcase your brand and products. Below are a few software choices along with their pros and cons.

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign is a household name. It’s been the one app people go to when they need something elegantly designed. 

Pros of InDesign:

  • You can create a catalog for print or PDF. 
  • It can do more than just catalogs.
  • It has a product catalog template PDF.

Cons of InDesign: 

  • Even though it’s an app you download, it requires a subscription. That means paying anywhere from $20.99-$54.99 a month to use it and access your creations. 
  • It may have a steep learning curve if you’re not familiar with the Adobe suite. 
  • Each time you update the catalog in InDesign it has to be re-uploaded to your website.


Canva offers a lot of visuals and templates. It has a free option and some feel it’s pretty easy to use. 

Pros of Canva:

  • Your creations will look professional and elegant.
  • Canva has a free version.

Cons of Canva: 

  • The free version has limitations.
  • If you want more than the free version you’ll need to pay about $119.99-$149.90 per year. 
  • Aligning photos is a real headache.  
  • You can’t connect Google Analytics or any other program that gathers data on readers.
  • While it’s possible to create a catalog with Canva, it’s not easy.
  • You can’t connect to a PIM. 

Scenario: Every year you create a holiday shopping catalog. It’s a big task so to make it easier on yourself you see if you can reuse content. But you don’t have a product information management system. This means that you have to go into Canva and manually create the catalog each year. This also means manually inputting pictures, and other product data.


Akeneo is one of the most popular options companies use to create product catalogs. One of  the reasons is that Akeneo also offers product information management which can make updating catalogs a snap. 

Pros of Akeneo:

  • You can connect it to Akeneo’s PIM for faster catalog updates. 
  • Product catalogs are only one of the many things Akeneo can do.
  • There is a free tier.

Cons of Akeneo: 

  • The catalog features can be limiting. 
  • Access to more functionality will cost $25,000 a year. 
  • The free version won’t get updates and recent PIM features. 


Lumavate can not only create a product catalog, but it also offers a PIM. It’s a one-stop shop for customer experiences that really showcase your products.

With Lumavate you can:

  • Have unlimited users contributing information design ideas. 
  • Connect to a PIM for an easy way to update your catalog on the fly.
  • Suggest related accessories to products customers are interested in.
  • Connect to Lumavate’s Digital Asset Management system.
  • Track who made changes and when they were made. 
  • Allow customers to compare products to find what they’re looking for.
  • Include customer reviews from product buyers. 
  • Add unlimited custom attributes to your products. 
  • Use real product data to create informational experiences. 
  • Can write your catalog in multiple languages to reach customers around the world.
  • Can integrate with Google Analytics to track who does and doesn’t resonate with the catalog.
  • Lumavate has a simple product catalog template.

One of the best reasons to choose Lumavate is the easy updating. In a product catalog PDF you’d have to take down the PDF, update it, and then re-upload it. This can be a real hassle, especially if you’ve already emailed the PDF to customers and salespeople. 

Lumavate allows you to update information in real-time. This means when supply chain costs cause you to adjust your pricing, you can easily update the pricing in the Lumavate PIM.

Once it’s updated in the PIM, it’s updated in the catalog. No need to take it down, review it, and resend it. Once you’ve worked out the details all you need to do is enter them. 

It’s the same process for adding new products too. If you’re using a PDF catalog you’d have to figure out where in the design the new product goes. In Lumavate, you don’t have to fight with a complicated design. Just add in the new product in your PIM. Then you can pop that new product in your catalog. You can also tweak your catalog so it can be used like a brand catalog template for all your products.  

What’s even better is that Lumavate can help you get the word out. Say you have a few dedicated customers who you know love your brand and products. If they’ve opted into getting your text messages they’ll be able to get a link to your new product catalog and start shopping! 

Product Catalog PDFs Don’t Have to be The Standard

PDFs don’t have to be the standard catalog format. Lumavate can create dynamic experiences that showcase your products in an engaging way. They’ll get to see your offerings in action and find the right ones for them. Book a live demo today if you want to take your digital product catalog to the next level.

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.