If you’ve looked up a smartphone or any product on Amazon, you’d be familiar with a product catalog.
In e-commerce parlance, they are also called product pages.
What is a product catalog?
These pages/catalogs have every imaginable info you may need on a product to make informed decisions. Catalogs are not only implemented in the e-commerce world but also by service providers and offline retailers across B2B and B2C markets.
That’s not it. Besides being consumed by end users, they are also helpful as collaterals for marketers, salespeople, warehouse managers, buyers, decision-makers, agencies, partners, and resellers.
Before deep diving into the importance of these collaterals, check out what a product catalog looks like.
Why do we need product catalogs, and who’s ‘we’?
Product catalogs are leveraged to fundamentally attain two goals:
The value derived depends on who you are. For example:
As A Buyer:
Product catalogs give you the entire picture of a product/service and assist you in making solid data-driven decisions instead of relying on your gut. In addition, a user-friendly catalog is known to enrich user experience and expedite decision-making process.
As A Marketer:
The details of a user’s purchasing behavior aid you in analyzing features of the product, refining and improving it as needed, and running ads to target the right audience. Marketing automation tools also help upsell and cross-sell through recommendation models in tandem with well-mapped product catalogs.
As A Salesperson:
During sales demos and pitches, these invaluable collaterals benefit you by mapping out product offerings and encouraging value-based rather than product-based selling.
Moreover, catalogs also double as excellent training material to teach sales professionals about a company’s product portfolio and accelerate onboarding process.
As An External Partner:
Other parties with a vested interest, like warehouses, agencies, and such, rely on catalogs to either sell to a prospective buyer or pitch the same to respective vendors to get them to decide the most viable option best suited to their businesses.
How are catalogs created and managed?
Creating and managing a catalog is a delicate task, but here’s how you get the ball rolling for the uninitiated.
The first step is to collect essential product details to add to your catalog. This might include dimension, price, color, weight, material, features, call to action, safety instructions, warranty, availability, discounts, photos, return policies, certifications, terms & conditions, and more.
Once you gather all the prerequisites, your next course of action is to organize and structure your product information because if not done correctly, your catalog might be counterproductive and confuse the user.
Next up, you are to draw inspiration from the catalog blueprint to design a stunning, visually rich product catalog that takes the user through your portfolio on a storytelling journey. This is also one of the trickiest phases to perfect. These designs could be in the form of UI/UX for digital catalogs and print for offline catalogs. The options are endless, so pick them well.
With a design in place, the final step is to integrate your catalog with a Content Management System (CMS) and publish it across your platforms.
That being said, there are a myriad of catalog management tools available to get you started, but if you wish to witness catalogs in action, check out this case study on Thrillark, a travel marketplace, to learn how they are powering companies and consumers to sell and enjoy more respectively.
The journey of designing the ideal product catalog is far from easy. Still, if done right, it can reap incredible benefits for your business and add immense value to the customer buying experience.