So you have a print catalog and you have a website. What’s next? To stay current with customer expectations, it’s time to think about making a digital catalog your next channel of distribution.

Almost 90% of those who responded to a 2012 Catalog Spree survey indicated they would opt out of receiving some or all of their mailed print catalogs if the catalogs were available digitally. And over 55% would prefer to receive all of their catalogs digitally.

A digital catalog can be created simply by creating a PDF of your print catalog, but that really is just the start of an array of possibilities. Digital catalogs today increasingly include rich interactive content with audio, video, search functions and web links. The possibilities are endless, and meaningful content will increase your catalog’s chances of being viewed.

One of the things driving the growing interest in digital catalogs has been the advent of various tablet devices, along with the development of a growing number of group catalog apps, such as Catalog Spree, The Find’s Catalogue, Coffee Table and Google Catalogs. These group catalog apps, some of which are also available online at the app’s website, make it easy for shoppers to find catalogs published by their favorite merchants. Shoppers can browse multiple catalogs, create lists, and then click through to the retailer’s e-commerce website to make purchases.

By participating in a group catalog app, retailers can increase their visibility to shoppers who might not otherwise find the catalog. But do digital catalog views convert to sales? According to Charles Nicholls in an article for PracticaleCommerce.com, although conversions are currently difficult to measure, partly because tablet and web analytics measure different activities, digital tablets do impact online sales. While it’s not clear whether a digital catalog will increase your sales, it is certainly a tool you should be using to increase visibility and customer recognition.