Web catalogs are an internet-based presentation of a set of items available for purchase, including description, price, and ordering information. The comparatively lower costs of web catalogs, compared to print catalogs requiring paper, printing, and postage, lowers the entry barriers to catalog selling. A great difference between web catalog and print catalog selling is that web catalog customers find the marketer rather than the marketer finding them. Consequently, web catalog customers tend to differ demographically and in purchase behavior from print catalog customers. Web catalogs give the marketer worldwide exposure, 24-hour accessibility, and the ability to quickly change price and product. In addition to selling, web catalogs are used to increase brand awareness, increase product usage, generate print catalog requests, collect prospect addresses and demographics, and provide two-way communication with customers.
There are seven major criteria to look for when building a catalog website. These are: design, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, innovation, and content.