We previously were only able to measure basic data, such as page views and clicks, from digital catalogs. Today, the digital publishing solutions available in the market make it possible to find metrics and analytic opportunities from this kind of marketing materials, providing proof of conversions — making it a better option for businesses to communicate with their customers.
The following article from CMO validates. It features research findings from Salmat, showing how digital catalogs are highly effective in generating sales, driving unplanned purchases and in-store traffic. And discusses how businesses benefit from its ability to integrate their offers into their ecommerce platform.
Customer engagement specialist, Salmat, unveiled new research today that shows digital catalogues are highly effective in driving in-store traffic and purchases, both planned and spontaneous.
“Printed catalogues are such an effective sales driver for a variety of businesses, especially retailers of all kinds,” said Daniel Salter, National Sales Director at Salmat. “The format translates well into a digital context, attracting the browsing consumer and converting them into a buyer. People generally read catalogues when they are looking to occupy their quiet moments or indulge in some “me time”. This has, and continues to be, done at home, but now with the digital shopping revolution people are browsing at home, work, during their commute and anywhere they might have a spare five minutes to fill. What’s interesting is, just like printed catalogues, digital catalogues drive more in-store purchases than online.”
Digital catalogues are popular
There has been a paradigm shift in how consumers browse and purchase, and a key driver of this transformation is mobile, which has supported a massive increase in the popularity of digital catalogues. Over two million people read at least one digital catalogue a month with the majority (62%) of these reading at least one a week. The most popular catalogue categories are Supermarkets, Department and Discount stores and Furniture / Electrical / Homewares.
Top 3 digital catalogue categories
- Supermarkets 75%
- Department and Discounts stores 62%
- Furniture / Electrical / Homewares 48%
Actively sought for purchase research
Most readers (84%) actively seek out digital catalogues, and half (54%) arrive with a purchase already in mind. Readers of digital catalogues find them very helpful for researching a purchase (74%), rating them as helpful as a retailer website, and only slightly less helpful than search.
Helpful channels for researching a purchase
- Internet Search 80%
- Digital Catalogues 74%
- Retailer Website 73%
- Magazine 23%
- Newspaper 19%
Turning browsers into buyers
However, digital catalogues aren’t only successful in converting research into a sale. Importantly, 60% of consumers who are ‘just browsing’ when reading digital catalogues end up making a purchase. In fact, one in five purchases made as a result of reading a digital catalogue are completely unplanned.
Original state of mind of people who made a purchase
- Just browsing (unplanned) 21%
- Need it but not yet researching 23%
- Researching 26%
- Deciding now 30%
Drive sales and in-store traffic
Digital catalogues are highly effective in driving sales, with seven out of ten readers making a purchase as a result of reading. However, digital catalogues don’t just drive online sales, with 71% of all resulting purchases made in-store. In fact, twice as many readers purchased in-store as a result of reading, rather than online (57% versus 23%, while 13% did both). Digital catalogues also drive in-store traffic, with three quarters of digital catalogue readers visiting a physical store as a result of reading digital catalogue.
“The biggest benefit digital catalogues provide is the ability to integrate your offers into your ecommerce platform so consumers can seamlessly move from browsing to purchasing. Some of the more savvy retailers are taking advantage of the ability to add rich media such as videos into their catalogue, allowing them to showcase more of the features and benefits of their products and boosting engagement,” said Mr Salter.
“The engagement data from digital catalogues can also be used to make strategic and tactical marketing decisions in other channels. For example, engagement data could be used as an early indicator of hot products and offers that the retailer can then capitalise on to drive other marketing channels such as SEM and display. It can also help with the layout and pagination decisions for future catalogue campaigns.”
Digital catalogs clearly help drive online sales for large and small brands. They bring an important new stream of high quality traffic within the reach of all businesses. But the best thing about it is its ability to measure returns way better than its print counterpart.
If you haven’t made your catalogue off-beat, measurable and accessible to a wider audience by converting it into a digital format – try it and consider outsourcing, if you dont have the in-house skill. You’ll find that a shot at digital and outsourcing will help you create an awesome catalogue that drives customers further down the purchase funnel, opens on muti-platform and gets shared around.