Amazon.com gambles on luster and nostalgia to attract customers with its first toy catalog, in yet another brick-and-mortar strategy to capture its share in the sale of toys for holidays.
The company released its "Holiday of Play" catalog on Wednesday. It contains 70 pages of happy, cosily dressed children surrounded by toys and will be sent to millions of customers this month. It shows the breadth of the inventory of holiday toys, including classics such as action figures, board games and Barbies, as well as high-value items such as Bose audio devices and PlayStations.
When former toy addict Toys R Us saved its last stores earlier this year, it started a fight between giants such as Walmart, Target and Kohl & # 39; s, along with online powerhouses such as Amazon, as all cried for a piece of the American toy market. of 3.3 billion dollars.
(Amazon executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
"Amazon is pleased to offer a new way in which customers can shop for toys this Christmas season," the company said in a statement to The Post.
"Holiday of Play" echoes the familiar style of the Toys R Us holiday calendars, but with certain modern flowers. You will not find prices on his page & # 39; s; shoppers have to go online to find out how much the products actually cost. Instead, a scan of a QR code places the article in the customer's online shopping cart, allowing it to be purchased from page to purchase within seconds. Digital versions of the catalog are available on the Kindle and online in PDF format.
The catalog is a weapon in Amazon's holiday arsenal, along with free shipping for all customers during the holidays without minimum purchase required. The lack of explicit pricing is deliberate, leaving Amazon open to shifting its prices to remain competitive as the season wins, said Linda Bolton Weiser, an analyst at D.A. Davidson.
"In the holidays, retailers try to stay alert with prices," Weiser said. "This allows them to be strategic if they want to, in which case you do not want to print the price in the catalog."
Bolton Weiser noted that the products in the catalog come mainly from the hot toy lists of the year and from sturdy toys brands such as Barbie, Fischer Price and Lego. No risky, unknown items are identified.
"If you are looking for market shares, you do that with classic brands that are bought to a high degree during the holidays," said Bolton Weiser. "It benefits the big toymakers who have these big, classic brands and disadvantage the smaller toy companies."
Although they seem outdated, catalogs are still a surprisingly successful marketing tool, according to studies by the Data & Marketing Association, which showed that over 100 million American adults in 2016 made a purchase with a catalog. They are particularly popular with millennials, who now use some of the largest purchasing power in the retail trade.
Other retailers offer major changes to show their involvement in the sale of toys for holidays. Walmart has tightened its "Top Rated By Kids" program and is working with a group of 25 kidinfluencers to compile a list of the most popular toys of the season. The company increases its toy items in stores by 30 percent and online toys by 40 percent. And it also organizes around 2,000 events to promote the new products. Target is also expanding, almost doubling its new and exclusive toy arrangement compared to last year. It has expanded its toy sections and renovated 100 stores.
In the meantime Toys R Us is still walking along, even beyond the grave. Last week, the Kroger supermarket chain announced that it would host mini-pop-up toy stores called "Geoffrey & # 39; s Toy Box" in nearly 600 Kroger stores in partnership with Toys R Us during the holidays. Geoffrey the Giraffe was the Toys R Us mascot.