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Digital Catalogue Design Matters

Your digital catalogue design has a direct influence on your sales success. Follow these simple design tips to better convert product interest into paying customers.

Your digital catalogue is one of the most powerful marketing tools to get your products in front of customers. Digital catalogues increase your brand identity and awareness, increase the perceived value of your business and reach and engage more readers.

A whopping 94% of users say they’d leave a website or ditch a catalogue if it had poor graphic design. Digital catalogue design really does matter. Here are seven useful tips and tricks for designing a digital catalogue which grabs readers’ attention and stands out from the crowd.

1. Tell a story

Customers don’t want to be inundated with a list of your products. They want to know how they’ll benefit from having one of your products in their lives.

Use text, images and engaging product descriptions to tell the story of how your offering will benefit them. Will it make their life easier, more exciting, improve the quality of their day-to-day existence? Tell your product’s story to your customer and outline all your USPs.

2. Try on your audience’s shoes

It’s essential to design your digital catalogue with your target audience in mind. A catalogue selling dentures would need to be directed at an elderly audience. Copy would be more formal, design more traditional, text and fonts larger, and you’d prioritise ease of use.

However, a catalogue selling trainers would need to be bang on trend to suit a younger audience. Design would need to be modern and vibrant, with content crammed full of links and click-throughs to cater for the technically minded millennial.

3. Nailing format and layout

Allow your products and services the digital advertising space they need. Ensure your layout gives enough surface area to fully showcase each product. Grant more space for your best-selling products or services. Ensure font sizes and format are accessible to all end users, you don’t want to alienate any potential purchasers.

How will your format make your customer feel? A successful digital catalogue compels customers linger as they immerse themselves in the story of your product or service.

Here’s a handy checklist of layouts your design will need;

  • Front and back cover
  • Index with product codes
  • Introduction page(s)
  • Headers and footers, indexes, page columns
  • Contents tables
  • Chapter separators
  • Product layouts
  • Icons, symbols, logos

(Fun fact – 67% of small businesses are prepared to pay up to $500 for a logo, with 18% prepared to pay up to $1000.)

4. Picture perfect

It’s all about imagery, imagery, imagery. After all, 60.8% of marketers claim visuals are integral to successful marketing. Let’s consider an end-user’s perspective. Research shows people retain 65% of information three days after viewing information when it’s paired with an image. Make sure the copy and visuals featured in your digital catalogue are a match made in heaven.

Product photos will showcase your business and are an excellent sales tool. Make sure all photographs and visuals are high quality, with good lighting and are in an appropriate resolution for printing. Printers recommend 300dpi resolution as optimum for printing - the higher the resolution the better. Consider using a professional photographer to provide the best product images possible.

There are some fantastic royalty free stock image websites out there, such as Unsplash and Adobe Stock. Effective product images can increase your conversion rates by as much as 30%. Remember, poor quality photographs, visuals and graphics will only reflect badly on the integrity of your offering.

5. Typography talks

Try and use no more than three typefaces as a general rule of thumb. This will keep things cleaner and retain your readers’ attention. A consistent text layout is key and will allow your customer to find what they’re looking for, eliminating any possible distractions.

Digital catalogues enable an added bonus of interactive navigation. Customers can click on text and titles to jump to specific sections of your edition. You can do this by adding navigational hyperlinks to your headings.

6. Use the enhanced design features of online catalogues

Digital catalogues offer up a plethora of design features to speed up the process from browsing to buying. Here are ways you can provide an easy user experience;

  • Use advanced search functionality and interactive navigation in your design to take the customer to directly to the item which sparked their interest and enable an easy user experience.
  • Built-in purchasing tools help to convert customers directly in the catalogue. When including this functionality, ensure design elements make the cart icon clear for all customers to see.
  • Interactive elements like videos and 360 degree products views are a unique way of enhancing your design. They act as a mobile shop window for your business and allow customers to sit back, relax and discover the benefits of your product or service. Once they’ve seen a product video, readers are between 64-85% more likely to purchase from you.
  • Pack your digital catalogue full of links to your website and socials to increase sales opportunities.
  • Make sure you use a responsive design - your digital catalogue can be accessed through multiple devices. Make sure your digital catalogue is coded so it displays the optimum design on each device.

7. Stay savvy with your stats

Hold up, the digital design process doesn’t end there. It’s now time to track the performance of your digital catalogue. With more data, you gain greater insight and make better decisions when it comes to further design tweaks. Here’s how you can stay savvy with your statistics;

  • Google Analytics will provide you detailed reports to analyse the performance of your digital catalogue.
  • Use reports based on user behaviour - demographics, devices used, pages users visit and the time they spend on these pages - to see how they respond to different design elements
  • Explore using experiment software like Google Optimise. This will allow you to test different designs side by side and compare key conversion metrics
  • Consider tools that collect data on user behaviour. User behaviour displayed in visual heatmaps, session recordings and cursor tracking will provide invaluable insight into how customers interact with your catalogue
Jim Preen
Post by Jim Preen
August 21, 2023
Jim Preen is crisis management director at YUDU Sentinel where he provides client specific advice on all aspects of communications and designs and delivers simulation exercises via the Sentinel app. Formerly, he was a journalist working at ABC News (US) where he covered stories including the Gulf War, the Bosnian conflict and the Concorde crash. He won two Emmys for his work.