Marketing documents are part of any business, whether it’s a small coffee shop or a big corporation. Catalogs, as a type of such documents, are used in all spheres: retail, e-commerce, IT, manufacturing, etc. Doesn’t matter if you present products or services, you need a catalog to sell them. Nowadays, when every company competes for customer attention, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Want to sell better than your competitors? Then, your catalog has to be professionally done.
So, where to start? I was looking for catalog makers that would help me create a catalog for a client.
Catalog maker is an online tool or desktop software that converts your PDFs into HTML5 publications. And you get a ready-made flipbook that you can share as a link or embed into a website.
While there are various catalog creators, not all of them would work for the same purpose. How to choose the best one that suits your needs? After doing my research on how to build a high-quality catalog, I’ve made a list of the most important features that will showcase my client’s catalog at its best.
This list may look simple yet it turns out that it’s not so easy to find all of these features in one catalog maker.
Captivating visual experience. What’s the point of preparing a well-designed catalog if the catalog maker doesn’t show it well? Thus, I was looking patiently for a tool that could present online catalogs in an engaging format.
Embedding catalogs into a website. According to stats, 81% of people search for a product or service online. More than that, 74% made a purchase online via any device and 67% use mobile shopping apps. That’s why it’s a great idea to embed your catalog into a website. While potential buyers surf your website, they are more likely to purchase something from your catalog than search somewhere else.
Adding videos and images to the catalog. Thanks to interactive features, digital product catalogs allow brands to promote products and services in a more engaging way than other formats. You can engage users by enriching e-commerce catalogs with high-quality photos, videos, pop-up images, and other interactive elements.
Search engine optimization (SEO). It’s one of the most important features I’ve searched for. Search engines play a vital role in getting digital catalogs seen. The wiser you’ll use Google opportunities, the more traffic and clients you’ll get.
Navigation. You’ll need great navigation tools for your digital catalog so that buyers could find the information they are looking for in seconds. For instance, an interactive table of contents will provide buyers with a comfortable search within it. Which is especially important if you have a huge catalog.
To keep an open mind on the subject, I’ve decided to carry out an experiment. I’ve downloaded a PDF catalog from an open-source and played with it using popular catalog makers.
Let’s see how my experiment turned out. Shall we?
FlippingBook allows you to create catalogs with a realistic page flip effect. If you have ready PDFs and want to digitize them, this tool can be of great help. With FlippingBook, you can link the items in your catalogs to the products displayed on your site. What’s more, you can embed your catalog on the website and enrich it with cool pop-ups and videos. Thus, potential buyers will have comprehensive and detailed information about your product and most likely move to purchase. Thanks to text search, interactive table of contents, and thumbnails, it’s easy to navigate around e-catalogs no matter the size. Moreover, you can use FlippingBook’s SEO optimization: all catalogs will be fast indexed by Google and thus, easily found by potential customers.
Check out this example I’ve created with FlippingBook. I’ve sent it to several friends and with the stats available in this tool I could see what pages they’ve viewed and how much time they’ve spent on each page.
This tool allows you to create catalogs online from PDFs. In this product catalog software, you can add price lists and product grids. Catalog machine also provides templates for creating product pages with photos and descriptions. If you have your products in CSV files, you can simply import them into your digital catalog. The tool is simple to use, and even if you don’t have much experience with design, you should be able to figure out the basics without any problems.
Here is an example of the catalog in the slide mode with thumbnails below. It looks visually nice but not really eye-catching. Personally, I find the slide mode not really comfortable for reading. Aside from the slide mode, there is a horizontal mode similar to viewing a PDF file.
This is a free PDF catalog creator. You can either stick to a free version or buy a subscription. The free version is nice for trying out the product, but as for me, it contains too many advertisements that distract from the catalog itself. With Issuu, you can convert your PDF into a digital catalog and customize it. If you’re interested in selling catalogs online, then Issuu might be what you need. They have Issuu Sales that allow selling single issues or subscriptions within your catalog.
Publitas allows you to create beautiful digital catalogs that can be accessed both on desktops and mobile. With this catalog maker, you’ll be able to import your online store’s product feed to make your catalogs more shoppable. The product feed allows your customers to stay inside the online publication while browsing for product information such as images, product videos, and in-depth product descriptions. Publitas is a good variant of interactive e-catalog software to integrate your catalog with your website for easy shopping.
Below is an example of a catalog made with Publitas. It has a pleasant look and you can zoom in to examine the item closer.
Flow Paper is a catalog creator online working both on desktops and mobile devices. With this PDF catalog maker, you have plenty of options to edit your digital catalog. You can add videos, images, as well as photos, and link the items, too. Besides, FlowPaper uses SEO optimization, so catalogs will be indexed by Google.
In this screenshot below, you can see that it imitates the look and feel of a real book. There are also options to zoom in and choose the page.
With this digital catalog maker, you can digitize your catalogs and make them interactive. Paperturn transforms your catalogs into digital flipbooks with a simple page flip effect. However, sometimes text in converted documents looks blurry because the tool doesn’t support vector graphics. The great thing about Paperturn is that you can enrich your catalogs with videos and links and add a shopping cart right within your flipbook.
Flipsnack is simple e-catalog creator software that helps you convert your PDF to an online catalog quickly. The tool provides you with a wide template gallery to choose from. You can add your own images and product details, and then download your catalog or publish it online. If you need an e-commerce option, Flipsnack can help you to sell right from your catalog. So, if your goal is to create and publish catalogs online while also turning them into an e-commerce tool, then try PDF catalog software such as Flipsnack.
LucidPress provides an unbelievable amount of templates to choose from. What’s more important, they are professionally designed and have customizable elements such as fonts, colors, and images. In this PDF catalog maker, you can find not only templates for your catalog but also a drag-and-drop editor and brand asset hub to keep your content polished and on-brand. Among other interesting features, I’d like to mention an option to work together on catalog creation in real-time, use comments and chat to discuss changes and suggest edits. However, you’ll need at least basic design skills to create a catalog on your own. With Lucidpress you can’t upload your PDFs.
Still, on this screenshot, you can see that it’s possible to find a template for any occasion. If you’re looking for the best catalog ideas, check out this product catalog maker.
With iPaper, you can turn your print catalogs into shoppable digital catalogs. You can enable full in-catalog checkout, send readers to your product pages, or create a fully integrated e-сommerce setup that connects your online catalog and online store. What’s more, iPaper automates the process of adding shop icons, links, and interactive elements to your flipbooks. If you want to make an online catalog with different checkout options, iPaper is here to help.
That’s it. As you can see, there are different tools out there with various useful features. I hope, with this review, you’ll find a tool that fits your business strategy and reach your marketing goals.