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Amazon is mailing a printed holiday toy catalog to millions of customers

7 November 2018

From CNBC:

Amazon’s first-ever printed holiday shopping catalog is here.

Amazon is shipping a holiday toy catalog, titled “A Holiday of Play,” to millions of customers starting this month, the company’s spokesperson confirmed in an email to CNBC.

“Amazon is excited to offer a new way for customers to shop for toys this holiday season,” Amazon said in a statement.

The catalog comes with a distinct retro look, invoking memories of old Toys “R” Us catalogs that made the now-defunct toy retailer so successful. Some of the featured toys come with a QR code, allowing readers to instantly scan and shop for more products. Readers can also scan the product images in the catalog with their Amazon App to get more information and add them to their shopping cart.

The move is Amazon’s latest in following the playbook of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. The e-commerce giant started opening physical bookstores and convenience stores in recent years, while purchasing Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017. It’s also been launching its own private-label brands at a faster pace, competing directly with the third-party merchants selling on its marketplace.

Link to the rest at CNBC


14 Comments to “Amazon is mailing a printed holiday toy catalog to millions of customers”

  1. It’s still ‘day one’ and they’re still messing with the minds of those trying to figure them out. 😉

    • That’s exactly what I thought. I’m wondering how items were chosen for the catalogue. Sellers purchasing what amounts to ads?

      • Or just things they’ve seen selling well in the past.

        • Its likely a combination. I worked for a large manufacturer that had Amazon as a primary account. There is no way they didn’t offer space in this catalogue to toy and game manufacturer’s first, and then fill in the cracks with top sellers. Amazon sells almost every inch of space on its’ site to manufacturers and brand marketing departments.

          The amount we had to pay to run a lightning deal, or get on the Thanksgiving promos was astounding to me. It was so much more than any other retailer’s promotions. And we paid it, because it was still worth it.

          Its a bit different with the book pages, because of how much they are also in competition with their suppliers in the book business.

  2. I remember when Christmas began with the arrival of the Sears and Roebucks Christmas catalog.

  3. I looked at the linked online catalog. Each toy has a specific code to identify it, but there was no sign of an order sheet. Unless one is inserted separately, it’s unclear that you could actually order the items through the mail. It’s a toy catalog, but it’s not (necessarily) a mail order toy catalog.

    It’s good marketing. It’s also a sop to the big toy companies who are probably feeling a bit left out in the cold with the implosion of TrUs. I wonder if it was partly financed by those companies.

    • No need for an order sheet, they sent them to ‘customers’ so they already have accounts, just do the scan and you’ll find yourself on the Amazon page ready to tell them how many you want. 😉

      • Well, in a way it’s sort of strange that they use the mail to send you something that says “go online and buy this”. On the other hand, it’s a way to selectively “curate” otherwise overwhelming toy offering. I am even more inclined to believe that the toy companies themselves paid for this, perhaps with Amazon only doing the production work.

        • We keep being told that kids are more into paper than screens, maybe Amazon it testing that.

        • Especially with younger children, having the paper magazine laying around with a bunch of new toys is a surefire way to get kids saying “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! I want! I want! I want! I want!”

          Lord knows my kids did that with the Toys R Us catalog every Thanksgiving, and I certainly did it to my parents.

  4. Back in the stone age, when I was a baby writer in retail advertising, we regularly ran full-page newspaper ads paid for by manufacturers.Some bought the full page for one item, others bought quarter-page or smaller spaces usually to advertise a dozen items, the real challenge to me as a copywriter.You couldn’t buy off the page then, in fact it was a test of writing skill if you had a line of buyers waiting outside the store next morning. Only difference is the means of purchase.

  5. Amazon has a multi-billion a year Ad business.
    It covers the webstore, “Special Offers” devices, and streamers.
    Emails and phone alerts.
    Adding mailers is just filling in the blanks for paper fans.

  6. Smart move. Kids who are restricted in their online access can now drool over what’s available and hound their parents about their “list for Santa.”

    I wonder if they are sending it out with an attached marker so the little tykes can circle all their favorites.

    • “attached marker”

      Ah – NO!

      The kids trusted with them will already have them and those that don’t the parents will not like Amazon giving them out! 😛

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