Whichever sector your business occupies, the chances are, you have devoted plenty of time, money and attention to building up a great online profile via your website and social media channels. It is a far cry from the old days, when all you had was the good old product catalog that would be issued once or twice a year.
Of course, most companies still produce catalogs – after all, customers need a comprehensive list of what you have on offer and how much it costs. But often there is little relationship between the catalog and the website.
Not only does this confuse customers and dilute the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, it also leads to additional costs in terms of running two marketing strands that should dovetail together but more often work against each other. There must be an easier way, and this is where the right catalog software can make it simple to create a catalog that is perfect for both print and online distribution. This will streamline your marketing efforts, optimize your return on investment and do wonders for your brand image.
Benefits of an online catalog
Publishing your full product range online is hugely important, and gives you access to a wider audience than offline channels. Snappy, engaging content in the form of videos, blog posts and news releases are all great in getting more traffic to your site, but once visitors are engaged and looking to convert into paying customers, you need meaty, comprehensive, no-nonsense information about what you’ve got, what it can do, how much it costs and how quickly customers can have it in their hands.
This is fundamental to the buying process that marketers should know only too well. Typically, plenty of attention is given to attracting buyers, but it is essential to hold their hand at every stage, right up until they have the product in their possession or have received the service. An online catalog makes the buying process easier, which is exactly what you need to achieve.
Finally, the online catalog can also help your business’s internal processes by providing information that can be quickly and easily accessed by management, sales representatives and other stakeholders as to prices, stock availability and other key information.
Choosing the right software
Of course, you can create a catalog without specialist software, or using simple publishing software that costs little or nothing. The disadvantages of doing this are threefold:
- It takes management time and effort that could be better spent on other value-adding activities
- You fail to leverage the synergies of online and offline catalogs
- It will not look as professional as a catalog made with specialist software
When choosing the right software, look for a solution that is compatible with your existing systems, whether these are basic spreadsheets or a more complex ERP system. You should also ensure it provides online solutions that can be easily printed to create a traditional paper catalog that gives the same consistent message.
Get these aspects right, and your catalog software will increase sales, enhance brand value, improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs. Whichever way you look at it, that sounds like a winning combination.