September 5, 2013, 2:27 PM

Catalog Spree adds digital look-books to its shopping apps

It automatically generates custom look-books in minutes using a retailer’s product feeds.

Lead Photo

A screenshot of a Fab.com Spree Book.

Mobile catalog aggregator Catalog Spree, which provides digital versions of retailers’ catalogs that consumers can browse and shop from an iPad app, iPhone app or PC site, has released a new technology called Spree Studio that automatically generates custom digital look-books for retailers. The technology is automated so Catalog Spree can publish new look-books with content from a retailer's product feed in just 30 minutes, says CEO Joaquin Ruiz. That means Catalog Spree could, for instance, put together a book of all the dresses celebrities wore down the red carpet during the Oscars on the same night as the event, he says, or otherwise respond to retailers’ on-the-fly needs.

Look-books differ from digital catalogs by focusing on only a subset of a retailer’s products, such as “fall fashions,” “editors’ picks” or “food,” Ruiz says. Flash-sale e-retailer HauteLook, for one, this week launched six separate look-books, which Catalog Spree calls Spree Books, he says. Other flash-sale retailers, including One Kings Lane and Fab.com, have also been launching multiple Spree Books on a daily basis.

Spree Studio has been available for two months, Ruiz says. In that time, Catalog Spree shoppers on average have spent 25 minutes per week browsing Spree Books, with almost 90% of them reading all the way to the end of the books, compared to about 72% reading Catalog Spree’s digital catalogs fully, Ruiz says. “We have users that log in or use the app two or three times a day to see what changed,” he says. “People like to discover and engage with your brand, and see what’s coming up.”

Additionally, about 15% of Spree Books viewers click on products for further details, which is about 50% more than when reading digital catalogs, Ruiz says. Once they are viewing the product details, 12% click through to buy online at an e-retailer’s web site, he says.

“There’s definitely also a non-trivial amount of indirect traffic that Catalog Spree kicks off,” he adds, explaining that more than a few Catalog Spree shoppers save items they view in app, then take their iPads into stores and buy them in person. He does not have exact figures but says multiple retailers have reported this activity anecdotally.

“Mobile is what’s changing retailers’ behaviors,” Ruiz says. “We’re allowing them to rediscover not just the transaction side, but the engagement side, allowing people to engage before they know they want to buy.”

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