In the debate to use print or web catalogs both sides have very valid points that support their viewpoints. Here we will try to list out the benefits of each type of catalog. We will also try to provide pointers of where each can be used.Print catalogs have been around for a long time. With the advent of the Internet and web-based catalogs, many people thought that the heydays of print catalogs were behind them. However, print catalogs have proven to be very resilient and studies show that many customers still prefer the print catalog to an online one. Print catalogs provide a myriad of benefits that cannot be matched by other types of catalogs:
Print catalogs allow you to create a connection with the customer. By its very nature, print catalogs allow you to tell a story rather than just show products. Since you can control the sequence in which your customer sees the photographs, you can lay out a series of pages that take the customer through an experience. Print catalogs don’t just showcase the product but advertise a lifestyle. The photographs in a print catalog are usually well laid-out and much more elaborate that the ones in an online catalog, which usually just shows the product.
The experience of flipping through the pages of a well-designed catalog cannot be overstated. Customers still prefer to be able to browse a print catalog and study the products on offer.
With advances in printing technology, you can reproduce almost the exact colors and textures on a page. This is more difficult to do on a computer since you have no control over your customer’s hardware.
Technology also allows you to personalize the catalog for the specific customer without having to redesign every page.
With such benefits and advantages, it is not surprising that companies such as JC Penney who had moved away from print catalogs are going back to complimenting their online presence through print catalogs.
This is not to say that online catalogs are a thing of the past. Most customers today begin their shopping experience online. Web catalogs are usually the first place that a customer encounters a product. Web catalogs have the benefit of not being limited by number of pages or printing costs. So as a seller, you can put up as many pictures of a product as you need to allow your customer to make an informed decision.
For instance, online furniture retailers are able to let their customers see the product in virtually every angle. Furthermore, they are able to able to provide measurement references of the products so that the customer makes more informed choices.
Online sunglass retailers allow customers to upload their pictures and place the glasses on their own picture so that they get an idea of how the glasses will look on them.
Such technological advances reduce the need for a customer to walk in to the store before being able to decide on a product.
Furthermore, a web catalog can be integrated with an e-commerce solution to enable customers to make the purchase from within the catalog. This automatically translates are more sales for you.
Online catalogs let you keep your information up-to-date. For instance, your customer is aware of how many pieces are still available for purchase. You can also inform the customer is a particular variant is out of stock. The ability to provide such real-time information to the customer helps the customer make their decisions faster and benefit from good deals.
While the print and online catalogs might seem to be doing the same thing – informing the customer about available products – each comes with its own benefits. As a seller, it is up to you to leverage the benefits each medium gives you to be able to maximize your reach and your sales.