iPad Product Catalogs & How They Can Change Your Business

June 17, 2015

The Limitations of a Static Product Catalog

Picture this. You’re gearing up for the biggest trade show of the year, and your new samples haven’t arrived in time from the factory to be photographed and added to the printed brochure materials and price sheets you’re compiling for the show. Or perhaps there’s a new product that you want to add to your line. Your sales reps have an older version of the catalog, and you don’t know how to get the new product on their radar quickly and efficiently. Maybe a product is getting discontinued. You send out an email to your reps letting them know this, but a few reps don’t see the email and end up selling a few units of that product anyway. Your customer service team has to pick up the pieces and call customers to let them know that the product is no longer available. Take something as simple as manufacturing a certain product in a few new colors. You try to communicate this to your reps, but these new colors are undersold because your reps are forgetting to mention them, and your customers don’t know about them. If these scenarios sound closer to reality than imagination, you’re not alone. Such is the plight of the wholesale business still using paper catalogs, price sheets, and order forms, held back by the immutability of these outdated tools. After your latest catalog has been printed, your product offering is bound to go through some changes. New products will come in, and old products will go out. As outlined above, it’s often incredibly difficult for wholesalers to communicate this information widely across their rep force, and to be sure reps know to push a new product or stop selling an old one.

Going Digital With an iPad Product Catalog

Imagine instead that your product catalog is a living, breathing document. Products can be added or removed, prices changed, product variants added, descriptions and images updated. These updates can then be instantaneously disseminated to your entire rep force from one central location––synced from your head offices to their mobile devices in the field. The catalog can even include real-time inventory information so that reps can see what's in stock and what needs to be backordered. Such is the promise of a digital iPad product catalog. No longer limited by outdated versions and an endless shuffle of paper, wholesalers who digitize their product catalogs have the ability to make on-the-fly changes whenever they’re needed. If sales reps or customers request that the catalog include details on the exact materials used in each product, that information can be added. If the company comes up with a new categorization structure, that can be done. All with a few clicks and taps. Sales reps in the field are immediately on the same page as the team at headquarters, and can immediately go into their next store visit or sales meeting and begin selling from the new version, writing the order directly on their mobile device. Welcome to the future of wholesale.