Finding The Perfect Online Catalog Solution

In today’s business environment, there is a huge amount of pressure on businesses to get their digital presence right. From the web design to the content on the site itself, blogs, video content and social media shout outs – there is so much to consider, and it all has to be on-brand, engaging to visitors and better than the competition.

It is strange, then that so many companies go through each of these steps and then treat the most fundamental thing of all as something of an afterthought. If you are selling a range of products, you need to provide customers with a clear, concise list of what you’ve got and how much it costs. The product catalogue is as important now as it has ever been – the problem is how to create it in a way that it fits with the rest of your content.

Online and Offline Catalogues

Traditionally, paper catalogues have come in a variety of styles, from glossy magazine-type formats to basic price lists that look more like a restaurant menu – or in some cases, an old-fashioned telephone directory. This raises the interesting question of whether you still need a physical catalogue in the internet age, whether you need an online catalogue of all your products when you have all that other great content we described above, or whether you need both?

Intuitively, the answer is both. Providing customers with access to your full product range, and giving them as much information as possible, can never be a bad strategy. While more people shop online than ever before, there is still a significant segment of the market that avoids ecommerce and prefers old-fashioned shopping methods. The ideal solution is to use catalog software that allows you to create a comprehensive online catalog that is print-ready. This is clearly a more efficient method that designing two separate catalogs for online and offline customers.

What software is best for you?

There are a few different software solutions around for putting your data together and creating your catalog or editorial project, but InDesign is recognized among professionals as the one that ticks all the right boxes. There are other options around that are perfectly capable, but many have licensing that are ultimately prohibitive.

InDesign, on the other hand, is far more cost effective and coming from Adobe, you know you are getting a product that will be compatible with your source data, which is likely to be in an Excel spreadsheet or Access database.

Can’t you just do it manually?

While InDesign is a great piece of software, it takes time to find your way around it, particularly for first time users, particularly when merging data from large and diverse datasets. This is where catalog software like Pagination really comes into its own, allowing users to create documents that can be used online or offline, ensuring consistency of delivery.

The right software solution will provide customers with all the information they need, while minimizing your costs and time, meaning the best possible return on investment.