The Paperless Catalog Comes of Age
Truly effective multichannel marketing is an ongoing challenge for most catalogers. Ultimately, you want to deliver consistent customer experiences across all your sales channels, right?
Although there isn’t one formula for success, there are a growing number of multichannel commerce tools that can help you achieve that goal. One such tool is a virtual catalog, defined by Chicago-based the e-tailing group as an almost exact replica of your print catalog integrated by varying degrees into your Web site, as opposed to a simple menu of products. By using a virtual catalog, customers can experience the aesthetics of a print catalog as well as enjoy the convenience of Web shopping.
No doubt you’ve seen these virtual catalogs. They look almost exactly like actual catalog pages, but they have some interesting features. For example, site visitors can zoom in on a picture, turn a page as if viewing a print catalog, rotate a picture, etc.
According to the etailing group’s “Shop the Catalog” report, three providers compete for the business of turning print catalogs into virtual versions: RichFX, Scene7 and DS Retail. Costs for this service vary depending, for example, on the degree of customization of the tool and your own in-house development resources.
Noelle Buoncristiano, associate editor of Catalog Success, asked three catalogers who have posted virtual catalogs to their Web sites to share their experiences and insights.
chief marketing officer,
Redcats USA (formerly Brylane)
Merchandise: apparel and home decor
Catalog Success: Why did you implement a virtual catalog instead of design a more traditional Web site?
Friedman: We spend a lot of time and money to create a page for our catalogs. The Internet wasn’t able to leverage all of that time and money for us. We needed a way to have the customer understand more than one item at a time [as with a traditional site].