Ever shopped online? Chances are the answer is a resounding yes. Over 33% of people shop online at least once a week! This is a huge market for you and your business to tap into. Maybe you already have an online shop that customers frequent; maybe you have designed a product catalog that you mail out to customers; maybe you use email marketing or have developed a killer advertising strategy – but are you doing everything you can do to reach the largest swathe of people? Employing the help of a flipbook or digital catalog can mean the difference between reaching your income goals and bombing out entirely. So what catalog design software is worth your time? What about flipbook creating software?
What is a digital catalog
It may be pretty obvious that a digital product catalog is just the computer version of your print product catalog. What may not be obvious are the benefits of using a digital product catalog over a printed one. Besides reducing your carbon footprint (which a lot of customers find attractive in a company), you’ll save money, have better results in the search engines and reach a much larger audience. And, a lot of the software providers available online offer free trials which reduces your risk while finding a new business solution. With a product catalog online you will be able encourage impulse buyers and offer a more interactive experience than a standard mail-order catalog.
What is a flipbook
A flipbook has a similar function as a product catalog except it is also frequently used to showcase a single product versus the product inventory at large. Flipbooks are also commonly used to display otherwise mundane information (think: user manuals, training guides) in a more interactive and engaging way. Part of the appeal of a flipbook is its ability to mimic a printed catalog with a page-flip effect. When users navigate through an online flipbook (not to be confused with the childhood animated books some may know as a “flip book”) they are presented with a page-turn providing them with the familiar experience of having a hard copy. Plus, flipbooks allow the integration of videos, call-to-actions, social media and linking to help push customers through the sales funnel.
So, which one is for you?
Take the following examples to help you determine whether a flipbook of simple digital catalog would suit you better.
Apple is a cutting edge company always pushing the envelope in design, technology and advertising. They decided the best way to market the Macbook Air was to design a flipbook that would serve as a product demonstration. Notice that they don’t use a flipbook to display all of their many products, but instead they selected one item that they wanted to highlight. Flipbooks are great for this because they allow the user to be fully engaged, learning more about a solo product than a normal catalog has space for.
Now, a retailer with a hot fall line coming out may decide that showcasing their entire collection is of utmost importance. In this case, a digital catalog would be best as it will demonstrate the wide variety of options without seeming distracting (sometimes the page flipping can be cumbersome for shoppers just wanting to browse the inventory). Brand your catalog so it represents your company as a whole, or tailor it to your advertising campaign – then share it on social media with just a link, or publish it on third-party sites to broadcast your products. Digital catalogs also often incorporate sales managers to allow purchases within the catalog and customer information retrieval.
Find a flipbook or catalog design software
Generally speaking the companies that handle flipbook creation also do digital catalog creation as they are both part of the digital publishing industry. Finding the appropriate catalog design software for you and your business, however, isn’t a generic process. You want to make sure that the agency you choose to design and develop your catalog has a few of the following qualities.
HTML5/CSS3 not Flash. Flash is an antiquated plugin that isn’t compatible with all browsers (preventing everyone from viewing your catalog), has ongoing security vulnerabilities (which puts your customers at risk), and is outdated. Any reputable catalog design software company will highlight the reasons why they develop catalogs in HTML and CSS instead of Flash.
Free trial. Digital catalog developers will most likely offer you a free trial of their service before asking you to join. This kind of offer usually stimulates confidence in the product. They aren’t afraid to show you what they’re made of and are so sure you’ll like it that they are giving you time for free. Thumbs up.
Ability to convert. If you already have a product catalog and just need to digitize it, wouldn’t it make more sense to use what you already have versus starting over? Good catalog design software will allow you to upload your existing catalog and then simply convert it into a highly effective piece of digital publishing art. This service is especially prevalent when converting a PDF to a flipbook.