MarTech Series – Marketing Technology Insights
Retail is competitive. Whether you’re a massive corporation or a small business, there’s always someone somewhere that sells something similar. Naturally, that cuts into profit margins, but what can you do about it? The answer is powering up your retail marketing strategy with online catalogs.
The idea of a catalog is simple: Display your products, provide a nice description, and showcase the price for all to see. At least, this idea used to be simple. With competition heating up, many retailers have found their way to online catalogs, and it’s definitely a game-changer.
In this article, we’re going to be going over exactly how online catalogs empower retailers to not only sell more, as well as a few helpful tips that you can take advantage of on your own.
In this day and age, everything is online. Even things like newspapers, which literally have the word paper in the name, can be found in digital format. So it makes sense that in this consumer’s market, catalogs are, too.
Online catalogs are typically a considerably cheaper option. Instead of having to print out hundreds or thousands, you can simply design one and distribute it. Notice a typo the day after it was published? Well, with a normal catalog, there’s not much you could do. However, with an online catalog, you can change it in an instant and carry on.
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Online catalogs are easier to distribute, which means that more people will have access. This will increase your exposure, brand awareness, and inevitably, sales.
Major retailers like Tesco utilize the online catalog format for big sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Customers from all over the United States can go online, find their website, view the catalog, and prepare in advance for what they want to buy.
Customer engagement is a big deal when it comes to retail. Since you have so much competition, it’s about more than a good deal, it’s about the experience.
The images and even videos that you can attach to an online catalog far outweigh the impact of any description. People want to see what they’re buying, which is why catalogs work so well in the first place. Add that same experience to an online setting, then you’ve just powered up your online retail strategy infinitely.
Speaking of engagement, how are you supposed to know what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t? With a physical catalog, you really can’t. On the other hand, with an online catalog, you can better track what users are spending the most time on, what they interact with, and what they tend to skip over.
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With a physical catalog, shoppers have to look through, find an item they want, decide whether or not they want it, and then go to the store to buy it. Between every step, there’s potential for the customer to drop off and lose interest, costing you a conversion. Although it’s not immediately impactful, it certainly adds up.
With an online catalog, you have the opportunity to link the customers to the item immediately, sending them to the checkout page. This reduces friction considerably and can turn a window shopper into a conversion in an instant.
Shopping online in any capacity is all about convenience, and there’s nothing more convenient than seeing an item you want in a catalog and being able to immediately order it. Although some stores use online catalogs to drive more foot traffic in their stores, it really is far more cost-effective to advertise and sell in your online catalog.
Now that we have a better understanding of what kind of impact a good online catalog can make, it’s time to discuss what it should include. The truth is that there are many varieties of online catalogs out there, and each brand will be slightly different. That being said, there are a few things that you can utilize to make the overall experience better for the reader.
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In conclusion, online catalogs are an incredible tool for retailers. Whether you’re selling directly in the catalog, or you’re using it to drive more foot traffic to your physical store, there are so many possibilities.
Online catalogs provide the user with the tools they need to sell a product without being there to explain all the little details to the buyer. With explainer videos, product tags, helpful links to resources, and true interactivity, the reader can get the full experience they need to make that final conversion.
If you’re not currently taking advantage of an online catalog and you’re in the retail industry, then now is the time. Use every resource that you can to drive marketing objectives, increase brand awareness, and improve sales, all without having to print a single copy.
Zach McDaniel is a digital marketing specialist, focusing on content, both written and video. He’s worked with startups and established businesses alike to help build their brand voice and share it with the world.
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