Is it the end for the printed sales catalogue?

Posted in Electronic product catalogues.

Is the printed sales catalogue dead? There are many who believe that traditional print is dead, and that businesses must embrace the digital revolution in order to thrive in the modern marketplace. However, while there are certain instances where this does seem to be true, things aren’t quite so black and white when it comes to sales catalogues. Printed catalogues are still ubiquitous. Think of the last trade show you went or the last showroom you visited. Chances are you were handed a printed catalogue by someone. The printed catalogue is still very much alive and kicking in terms of marketing, promotion, and sales of products.

There are many reasons for this. Research shows that the parts of the brain responsible for absorbing and storing information tend to be more active in response to printed materials than their digital counterparts. Similarly, it takes more cognitive effort to absorb information in digital form than it does in printed form. It’s also said that browsing products is easier with a printed catalogue, and can encourage businesses to buy more frequently.


It can’t be denied that digital catalogues — either as online publications or as a feature of a mobile sales app — are fast eroding the footprint of the printed catalogue. Why? Because they bring additional benefits to sales-based businesses which traditional printed options simply can’t provide. These benefits include being:


This is a major advantage over printed. To print a catalogue, especially with large numbers of images, is extremely expensive. Often, because of budget constraints, companies limit the number of catalogues that they print, thus missing many opportunities for more sales. With digital, the extra cost to provide a catalogue to an extra user is virtually zero.


Key concerns for the printing industry are air pollution, disposing of hazardous materials, waste management, and energy use. At a time when many organisations are seeking to work only with environmentally-friendly suppliers, focusing on your green initiatives has never been more important. A paper-free, ink-free mobile catalogue is a good first step.

Instantly Update-able

Due to ever advancing technologies, businesses are evolving rapidly, and this means that their needs and requirements are changing too. In these fast-moving markets, we need to question whether there is a place for static publications. Digital and mobile product catalogues benefit from flexibility; they can be updated at any time, from any place, and in many cases from pretty much any compatible device. This ensures that no matter how trends change in the business world, you’re still relevant and up-to-date.

Completely Versatile

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of digital or mobile catalogues is that these options essentially remove the need for you to select just one way to display your products to the businesses you work with. While a printed catalogue is ‘set in stone’ so to speak, there are many different ways to distribute a mobile version. Your products can be displayed on-screen, exported to a PDF document for computer viewing or emailing, or they can even be printed on an as-needed basis for certain situations.


Distribution is also a factor where digital catalogues have an advantage over print. The shipment of catalogues is expensive and there is always the risk of printed catalogues getting damaged in the distribution process. This presents a potential risk to the company’s image. More importantly, digital has the ability to reach much greater audiences by utilising various digital channels. Digital catalogues can be emailed and tailored parts of the catalogue can be presented to your target market using Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and other channels.

And the benefits don’t end there. A digital or mobile sales catalogue also provides predictable quality to ensure your products are displayed in their best light, as well as scalability….your catalogue can grow — or shrink — in line with your offerings. Print isn’t dead, just yet, but digital is certainly set to take over.