First of all, let’s see the catalog formats. A catalog is always created digitally, but the finished product can be one of two kinds:
• Print catalog (e.g., desk catalog, IKEA catalog*)
• Digital catalog (PDF, flipbook, an app, etc.)
*the most-distributed publication in the world, 211 million copies were sent in 2017 with the aim of promoting the activities of 328 shops in 28 countries.
As IKEA knows, the print catalog remains one of the world’s best sales tools. These paper-based publications have many advantages:
• Constant brand exposure
The catalog is a physical object usually kept on a table or desk, so as to be readily available and accessible. Its “cumbersome / bulky presence” keeps your brand constantly exposed to your customers (one of the basic principle of advertising is, in fact, brand exposure).
A print catalog is always available and easy to consult by people of all ages. For a better understanding, we have to compare it with its digital alternative. Let’s think about how you search for an item in an online catalog. First, you need a good internet connection. Then, you have to find the document you need. If you are lucky, there is a navigable TOC, so you can go to the right page with a click; otherwise, you have to flip through it by hand until you find your desired item.
Have you ever tried to consult a catalog on an iPad, maybe while talking with a customer? If you click in the wrong place, you can easily end up on another page. If you need to examine a detail, you have to zoom in, risking the chance of clicking on an unintended button.
• Quick search
A print catalog allows you to insert a bookmark anywhere you need, so you can easily return to the page you need to check in a few seconds.
Let’s move on to the digital catalogs. Catalogs are created using digital tools, and today most companies use only digital means to distribute and promote their documents.
A digital catalog is usually created in the PDF format, for fast and easy delivery to customers. It is also possible to create flipbooks using dedicated software. Flipbooks are interactive, online publications that emulate paper magazines. To create a flipbook, is often necessary to have a complete PDF of the document ready to be converted into the interactive format.
Digital catalogs present a number of savings compared to printing and distribution costs, which are close to zero. Moreover, sharing and promoting your document is more immediate, because you have only to upload it to your website and share it.
The benefits of a print catalog are missing in a digital one, though… These can be summed up in terms of greater readability, user-friendliness, and a general feeling of involvement and professionalism.