Google Catalogs: Window Shopping With Your iPad and Android Tablet

The catalog industry is a thriving business that all the big names in retail spend large sums of money on. Partly because my mother was once a lead copywriter for a prominent catalog, the holiday season has always been dominated by large stacks of retailers’ reading material. With the digital era, those stacks of catalogs have disappeared but Google is making a concerted effort to aggregate all the prominent catalogs in one place for Android tablets and the iPad.

Google has released this year’s version of Google Catalogs as an app for both iOS and Android. As we have seen over the Thanksgiving weekend, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, mobile commerce is exploding. Through partnerships with Google and others, large retailers are making sure they are not left in the dust.

Google Catalogs has more than 125 brands from L.L. Bean (pictured below), Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Nike and more. It has over 400 catalogs in the collections across several categories including jewelry, gifts, toys, kids, gadgets and outdoor adventure.

There are interactive tags for pricing and ordering details and the ability to see more photos and information on various products. Google Catalogs will easily direct you to the nearest store to purchase items or redirect you to the company’s Web page for purchasing. Users can also create collages out of the catalogs (really, the best use for paper catalogs in the long run) with a screenshot tool that can be cut-and-pasted to a noteboard.

Really want that (jacket, hat, gadget, kitchen set, scented candle, socks etc.) on your holiday list? The catalog will allow users to send the clipping via email or favorite items within the app.

Google Catalogs represents an inflection point for mobile shoppers and confluence of the technology industry and Madison Avenue retailers. One potential problem for retailers is that they do not get the data they would otherwise accumulate on buyers by having their home addresses on hand for future catalogs and demographic breakdown. If users do make a purchase by being redirected through Google Catalogs, retailers will eventually get that information but users can hide behind their Google Account (or not sign in at all) for browsing purposes.

Are you going to be doing mobile shopping this holiday season? Does one app that acts as a library of catalogs entice you to purchase from your tablet? Let us know how you plan to attack the holiday shopping season in the comments.

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