The Future of Catalog Management Systems

The term "catalog" has undergone a major transformation over the last 20 years. Until recently, catalogs were always associated with printed, physical catalogs, but today it is often understood that "catalog" often refers to product presentation on a website or a digital catalog (e.g., a BMEcat file). As different as the understanding is, the more unique are the systems used for this purpose. In this blog post, I will focus on print catalog systems- where "print" does not mean that the catalog is always printed. This can also be provided digitally as PDF or HTML.

I am asked repeatedly: Is the priint:suite a catalog system? My answer is: YES, however, it is not a classical system, but instead is embedded in digital communication strategies. The difference is not visible at first sight, because the output often looks very similar. So what are the differences?

A Classic Catalog System vs. an Omnichannel Publishing System, Such as priint:suite:

  Classic Catalog System Omnichannel Catalog System

Product Data Maintenance

Product data maintenance is an essential functionality, especially to create catalog-specific product content

The omnichannel content systems are integrated (MDM, PIM, DAM). Catalog-specific data maintenance should be avoided as much as possible

AI-based text generation services are integrated

Content Compilation

Single / double page oriented, product data is compiled

Single / double page oriented, product data is compiled

Support of stretch set, compilation of documents with a dynamic number of pages

Rule / AI-based composition

Page and Layout Generation

Server-based generation of layouts

Generation of layouts via DTP

Server-based generation of layouts

Generation of layouts via DTP

Automatic generation of 100 different layouts

Supported Touchpoints

B2B and B2C catalogs

An omnichannel catalog system supports all "print" touchpoints that are relevant to the customer journey:

B2B and B2C catalogs

Personalized direct mailings

Personalized 1:1 catalogs and magalogs

Digital Catalogs like BMEcat

Export option

Functionality is covered by a PIM system

The Classic Catalog System... A Drag?

When introducing a new PIM system, the guideline of "digital first" applies. Existing print catalog systems are left out and, at best, supplied with data. In the short term, this approach makes sense. However, in the long term, it manifests silo thinking and the potential for the digital transformation of print remains untapped.

Why Implement an Omnichannel Catalog System?

Why invest in the priint:suite - particularly if you have a catalog system is already in use? From my point of view, there are several reasons:

  • Traditional catalog systems are not designed for targeted, personalized, on-demand communication:
    The focus of the catalog business is changing. Print runs are falling, and segmentation and individualization are being driven forward. This means more pages have to be produced instead of fewer.
  • More pages force higher automation
    The level of automation and efficiency must be increased. This means, for example, not only the automated creation of InDesign documents, but the entire process must be digitized. Creation of print-specific content should be avoided as far as possible. The various data sources in the company must be made usable for the catalog process.
  • Individual print communication improves digital communication
    Statistically, it's proven: individualized to personalized print addresses increases the success of digital communication. Print has becoming part of digital communication. This means not just direct mailings, but also individualized brochures and catalogs.


At first glance, there appears to be few differences between a traditional catalog system and an omnichannel publishing system such as the priint:suite. When you take a closer look, however, the fundamental difference in orientation becomes very clear: the traditional catalog system is a specialized system for the print silo, while an omnichannel publishing system supports the content-first strategy and provides additional resources for content work by avoiding print-specific data maintenance. Automation becomes a central factor in being able to create economical, fast, targeted group-oriented and personalized print output.