Check it Out: Greener Pastures for Traditional Catalogs
At the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) in San Diego this past June, I stumbled upon a new iPad app that’s contributing to the mobile shopping craze. The app is called Coffee Table, and it’s revolutionizing and re-energizing the catalog industry in a very green way.
An aggregator of catalogs, Coffee Table seamlessly integrates the print marketing vehicles into one iPad application, creating a type of virtual mall available both online and offline. From a retailer's standpoint, the app doesn't require IT department support to run or integrate with Coffee Table. All the retailer is required to do to be a partner is sign up and submit a PDF of its catalog to Coffee Table. The catalog then has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of more eyes than is possible with a paper version. Coffee Table features catalogs from Crate & Barrel and Lucky Brand, to name a couple, and the list is growing.
Coffee Table was "built from a shoppers's point of view," said David Berman, co-founder of Coffee Table, in a company press release. Features include the ability to purchase directly from the app itself as well as from multiple catalogs in one shopping cart. Rather than having to navigate several checkout systems, Coffee Table enables users to make purchases from multiple catalogs in just two touches.
Because the catalogs are both online and offline, consumers can shop from them while traveling. What's more, morning commute tablet shopping won't be interrupted when trains go underground or in tunnels. The catalogs on Coffee Table are also automatically updated when a retail partner releases a new issue, helping to keep the app fresh for users.
Virtual catalogs are also quite appealing from a design standpoint. Products frequently have interactive and interesting layouts, which show them in a way that paper catalogs could only dream of. This is a primary reason Coffee Table's app is only available on the iPad for now. Smaller smartphone screens don't provide the landscape the iPad offers. The iPad provides better graphics, video and other capabilities as a result of its form factor that smartphones simply can't match.