Google Catalog: An iPad Owner's Best Shopping Buddy

Google Catalog: An iPad Owner's Best Shopping Buddy

Julienne Lin
Aug 19, 2011

Last month we talked about how we've migrated our shopping habits over to the iPad, which is why we were so delighted with the release of Google Catalog, a free app that uses all the interactive capabilities of an iPad for browsing for products from the comforts of your own home. We've been flipping through catalogs from DWR, Sephora, Nordstrom and more...

Google Catalog brings to us the beginnings of what we've been waiting for when it comes to shopping by tablet. (They are releasing an Android version sometime soon). As much as we love flipping through print catalogs full of inspiring setups and beautiful product photography, browsing by tablet is a greener solution. On top of that, the iPad allows us to really interact with products by zooming in, tapping to watch a video on it, and rotating it a full 360 degrees.

Several brands have partnered up with Google Catalog, but most of them offer the following features that we truly appreciate:

  • Searching for products within or across catalogs
  • Adding products to favorites
  • Buy online right away without going through the trouble of searching for it on your own
  • And lastly, the collage making function that allows you to make a collage out of the products you previously favorited. Sometimes we run across so many things we like but can't buy all at once, so it's a nice, visual way to keep tabs on these items. Just like how we're always curious about what is in other people's shopping bags at the mall, it's nice to be able to view others' collages in the public collage section.

Here are the catalogs we found that gave us the best iPad browsing experience thus far:

DWR: DWR's catalogs are at the top of our list because it is one of our favorite spots to find inspiration when it comes to smart, modern spaces. Now we can discover the prices of our favorite pieces at the tap of a finger and configure how they would look with DWR's 3D Room Planner, an experience that is much better with touch than clicking with a mouse.

Crate & Barrel: We also enjoyed Crate & Barrel's catalog which most resembled the layout of a magazine with the helpful numbering of the pieces that are shown on each page, making it easier to admire each product and learn about it.

Ralph Lauren Rugby: Shopping for outfits was really easy in this catalog because they divide each page where the left side shows the individual pieces that went to create the outfit on the right.

Williams Sonoma: With such gorgeous food photography and chock full of mouthwatering recipes, Williams Sonoma catalog definitely makes our favorites list. There are also instructional videos on how to use some of the products they feature. We would have liked it even more had there been recipe videos too!

There is definitely some room for improvement for some of the catalogs we browsed through. Some catalogs felt merely like digital copies of their print counterparts, in much the same way many magazines migrated verbatim from print over to digital. But we're hoping more retailers begin taking advantage of the features and UI opportunities to give us couch surfing window shoppers more ways to "try things out", compare models/prices, and go beyond what a plain old printed catalog offers.

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