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Catalogue mixes catalog shopping and tablets with success

Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma are letting consumers check the real-time availability of their inventory at local store via version 2.0 of the Catalogue app on Kindle Fire, Android tablets and large screen Android phones.

Catalogue by TheFind is the only catalog shopping app on the Kindle Fire and has amassed more than 150,000 Android users. The real-time inventory functionality will roll out to additional stores in the coming weeks.

 “Clearly, consumers are interested in shopping from their tablets, our user data is pretty consistent with what we’re seeing across the industry,” said Ramneek Bhasin, vice president and general manager of mobile at TheFind, Mountain View, CA.

“Tablet shopping is still a new field, but it is one that shoppers are quickly gravitating towards,” he said.

“ Catalogers, and all retailers, need to focus on having great product imagery. They should also be rethinking their catalogs for the digital space.”

Camera view
Other new functionality includes camera-view, which makes it possible to “place” catalog products into a living space and share photos of what a new couch might look like in a shopper’s home.  

Catalogue is also available for the iPad. Across devices, the app has been downloaded onto nearly 1 million tablets and has more than 150 catalog titles.

The average Catalogue user spends about 14 minutes per session in the app and looks at an average of 5-6 different catalogs.  The peak user time is in the evening, which fits with the idea that consumers are shopping via tablets at home from their couches.

“Also worth noting is that our demographics on both iPad and Kindle Fire skew towards the more affluent shopper, as 65 percent of these users have an income of more than $100k,” Mr. Bhasin said.

The tablet is a new and more immersive type of shopping experience that lends itself to print catalogs, which are designed to help shoppers discover new items. However, on a tablet there are more tools to help shoppers make their purchases quickly and easily.

Tablet optimization
However, because tablets provide a new kind of shopping experience, catalogers and retailers need to make sure they are optimizing the experience for tablets.

“Essentially, catalogers shouldn’t just think about tablets as simply a digitized version of their print catalogs… it is that, but it has many more possibilities,” Mr. Bhasin said. “Also, retailers need to take a look at their sites optimize them for tablets, e.g., using HTML5 for hand gestures and other tactile inputs tablet that users have come to expect.

“We think Catalogue has been particularly popular simply because of the  immersive nature of catalogs,” he said. “The retailers showcase their best in catalogs and allocate huge budgets to print versions.

“We’ve provided them with an elegant platform that enables them not only to bring their catalogs to digital medium, but to actually make shopping interactive and entertaining.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York