Amazon, As Expected, Launches Its First Holiday Toy Catalog

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It’s not the same without the holiday Toys R Us catalog, but kids everywhere can rest easy because Amazon Claus is coming to town, and to the rescue.

As the ecommerce giant mails out its first-ever, retro-looking toy catalog, retailers including Kohls, Walmart and Target are sending out theirs as well. Meanwhile, Geoffrey the lovable giraffe mascot, never one to be denied, is showing up in pop-up toy shops this season at Kroger stores.

U.S.A. Today reported that some of the toys featured in Amazon’s “A Holiday of Play” catalog come with a QR code allowing retailers to scan and bring up links of the products. The catalog is being mailed to millions of U.S. homes and distributed at Whole Foods Markets.

Pictures in the catalog can also be scanned using the Amazon app to get more information on products and add them to the shopping cart; it’s all about the friction-free experience. Cleverly the catalog doesn’t have any prices, so parents, aunts, uncles and grandmas have to go on to place the order.

MCM Musings:  Every year we wonder whether merchants will continue mailing catalogs. In early 2019, we’ll be asking that question of major retailers as part of our annual MCM Outlook catalog report. Each year, despite dire warnings to the contrary, we find the catalog is alive and well. This fact is proven through Amazon’s latest move to bring a little nostalgia to the holiday season, QR codes and all.

Are catalogs still a major channel? According to the 2018 MCM Outlook survey, 84.2% of merchants who responded said they continue to use catalogs as a sales channel. More than a product showcase, today’s catalogs offer brands an opportunity to inspire customers with ideas, designs, creative visuals and applications, while bridging the physical/digital divide. In like fashion Amazon is connecting its catalog to its marketplace.

Sadly, Sears is one iconic brand that will not be rolling out its holiday catalog for 2018, only a year after bringing it back, as it tries to find a way forward through Chapter 11 and yet more store closures.

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