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What is an Ecommerce Catalog?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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An ecommerce catalog is commonly defined as any online catalog that showcases the products or services of a company that operates primarily online, or in "e-commerce." This catalog represents part of a general shift in the way the world's consumer base does business. A large amount of what used to take place in physical stores now happens online. Just as physical or "brick and mortar" stores have migrated to the internet, many of their catalogs have moved from print to online formats.

There are many different types of ecommerce catalog setup options for businesses to choose from. One of the popular high-tech options is an "online shopping cart" - this kind of technology provides for full-featured online shopping, where software helps web users select products, compare prices, and order, all online. Other ecommerce catalog setups are less functional, but still display the full range of products. Some ecatalogs use phone support as a backup service for sales.

In developing an ecommerce catalog setup, companies have some specific issues to address. One of these is whether to migrate an existing print catalog. If the business wants to start over, they will need new graphics and text for the online version. These choices are critical to success, since the effect of the right words and pictures are just as important online as they are in a print medium.

For ecommerce catalog development, there are also a lot of questions for business leaders to answer regarding the actual technology. Businesses can outsource a lot of their ecommerce functions, such as credit card processing, or arrange for control of these processes through their in-house servers. They can use staff to provide phone support, or outsource this element as well.

It is often important for a business to clearly define responsibility for making these choices and doing the work of implementing an ecommerce catalog. Without clear delegation, an effort to migrate a catalog can end up floundering due to a lack of focus. Good project management can help in creating the optimal ecommerce catalog setup for any sized enterprise, no matter what products the company is selling.

After a catalog is established online, businesses will often track results. This way, they can adapt to the market research that the catalog provides. One way to enhance an online catalog is with keyword content that attracts consumer interest. Businesses of all kinds do ongoing market research through their web sites to adapt for the future of the enterprise.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon312789 — On Jan 09, 2013

The new trend is to create directories in a very easy to read format with the program for online digital books. This is a program with great functionality and lets you add in directory links to products.

By lonelygod — On Jun 20, 2011

I have always hated having to go to stores and fight my way through crowds. I never shopped from regular catalogs because they just didn't have what I was looking for. With ecommerce catalogs though, I can't think of much that is hard to buy online.

When I moved into a larger city, I even did my grocery shopping online from an ecommerce catalog. I didn't really need to see the products, as I know what I like. Plus, the store guaranteed freshness. There was nothing more awesome to me than having someone bring my groceries and drop them off right in my kitchen. Seeing all the fresh goods, with no surprises or mistakes, made my day.

By animegal — On Jun 17, 2011

I love how stores from around the world present great ecommerce catalogs to their customers. Nothing is more amazing to me than being able to shop online from three or four different continents at one time. Also, with express shipping, you never have to wait to long to get your goods.

My favorite thing is finding smaller niche stores that produce items you normally wouldn't see at big box stores. Watching people create their own products and sell it to a worldwide market with just a few clicks is pretty impressive.

What is your favorite thing to shop for through ecommerce catalogs?

For myself, I love DVDs, clothing and cute collectibles.

By whitesand — On Jun 17, 2011

@ellaferris - Congratulations on the growth of your business. There’s been a lot of talk these past few years about ecommerce solutions and which ones are the best. I searched for a review on the top solutions people are using now.

What I came up with is, and in no particular order, Network Solutions, Volusion, goMerchant, Yahoo Merchant, 3DCart, GoDaddy Quick Shopping Cart, ProStores, Fortune3, BigCommerce, and CoreCommerce. I don’t know which ones of them, if any, are actually the best.

There were a lot of people using Magento for their ecommerce platform, but they were mixed reviews. A lot of it will depend on your needs and carefully researching each of them to see if they can fulfill your desired solution.

You should probably make a list what you need your website to do before contacting them. Think of things like shipping rate calculators, one order ships to multiple addresses, gift messages, reports on sales statistics, coupons, tech support and things like that.

By ellafarris — On Jun 16, 2011

I have a small product line that I've been selling offline and I always receive rave reviews from my customers. I would like to take my business a step further and give it an online presence.

I don't know exactly where to begin though. I have five products that each offer a variety of sizes, colors, designs, etc.

I've sold a few items in the past on sites like eBay and etsy but I would really like to set up my own ecommerce store. What do you think is the best ecommerce solution for my business?

By Sierra02 — On Jun 16, 2011

I've always enjoyed catalog shopping even long before the internet came along. Now that most brick and mortar stores have become ecommerce stores, it makes shopping all that much more pleasurable, at least for me anyway.

I do most of my online shopping at large reputable sites like Amazon or JCP, but it's fun to browse the online catalog of smaller stores too. The Internet has become a shopper's paradise.

I know I can always find whatever I'm searching for, no matter if it's something in particular, or unique, or rare, there will always be an online store with a catalog full of great items to choose from.

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