Digital catalogs offer the promise of an enhanced customer experience. Yet what advantages do they truly offer? The topic has been researched through several studies in France and Belgium based on the digital catalog of a major furniture retailer. We share a few recommendations for brands.
What is a digitally enhanced catalog? “The idea is to offer additional information through 3D images, videos and product files. These increase the information available in a digital catalog,” explains Marion Garnier, a researcher and professor in the Marketing Department at Grenoble Ecole de Management and co-author of the studies in collaboration with Ingrid Poncin, a researcher and professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.
What’s the added value?
The researchers first explored why companies digitalize and enhance their catalogs? What is the usefulness of virtual catalogs? What do they offer in terms of customer experience versus, for example, a customer experience on the brand’s website?
Consumers expect useful information
The studies underline two factors that can help companies decide on the content of their enhanced digital catalogs. “Experiential information doesn’t garner a lot of interest. Consumers want useful information. This result goes against the common assumption that unique customer experiences are essential to stand out," highlights Marion.
Rely on experience and usefulness
Creating an enhanced digital catalog doesn’t necessarily offer much usefulness. “Fashionable” technology has to also meet a strategy that provides a useful experience for the consumer. The primary questions to ask in preparation are:
- Why are you creating a digitally enhanced catalog: to share practical information? Useful content? To stand out?
- What does the digitally enhanced catalog offer that is not available on the website?