Amazon Is Mailing a Print Catalog—Are You?
Thanks to the business acumen of founder/chairman/CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon, the Seattle-based behemoth, has enjoyed quite a 24-year existence and has not left many boxes to check off in its quest for complete commercial domination. The latest stroke of economic bravado comes in the form of the company’s first-ever print catalog for holiday toys, which millions of end-users will have received by the end of the month.
It's a nice bit of irony. Amazon made its bones by dominating e-commerce to such an extent that it reshaped the physical retail world and ushered in the digital era. Now, in extremely analog fashion, it's issuing a print catalog. Still, we are going to posit that the decision by Bezos and his hires makes perfect sense, as it signifies that print, no matter how many naysayers want to pick over its long-reported corpse, is definitely not dead.
Amazon begins mailing a physical holiday toy catalog to customers, with QR codes to help find items, as it adopts tactics from traditional retailers (@eugenekim222 / CNBC)https://t.co/Oz8bcpIUOshttps://t.co/DRWSbqb3oJ
— Techmeme (@Techmeme) November 7, 2018
Unlike Marc Antony, who came to bury Julius Caesar and not to praise him, we are here to celebrate print’s existence. With respect to Amazon, its catalog, dubbed “A Holiday of Play,” is destined to have a retro look that could make consumers easily recall the guides that Toys R Us used to call on to make the holiday season a very merry time for the public and its bottom line.
In the wake of the latter’s essential demise, someone certainly has had to pick up the slack, so it should come as no shock that Amazon would wish to carry on the mission of making children giddy to see what might greet them on their respective holidays. Like their parents and guardians, youths are becoming fully immersed in the digital culture, so Amazon’s move to put together a 66-page catalog teeming with some impressive selections not only creates that buzz but also, more importantly, we will say in the hope that nobody sees us as a humbug, gives print another much-needed plug.
As Amazon clearly knows, printed catalogs still have a host of benefits. Last year, 9.8 billion catalogs were mailed within the U.S. Couple that incredible tally with the revelation that millennials, often considered the most coveted audience, appreciate information in catalog form, and it not only seems but downright “is” vital for businesses to green-light and continue to produce catalogs. Look at Amazon. If your overseer has banked so much money that he can consider establishing a “permanently inhabited lunar settlement” on the moon, it is likely safe to say that your company could stay the course and still end up being pretty lucrative. For Amazon, though, the keyword always appears to be “more,” and the toy catalog figures to keep Bezos and the bunch top-of-mind as we creep toward 2019.
While we know that Amazon has resources the likes of which most (all?) of us cannot even imagine having, its reputation need not serve as a suppressor. After all, all businesses, no matter their product lines, have one goal in mind—acquiring and retaining an audience. If you have acquired your fortune thanks in any part to catalogs, continue to put out the attention-grabbers. If you have not found these print resources worthwhile, please reconsider, especially if you are able, like Amazon was, to add QR codes to the goods within.
Those who declare print dead are wrong, and those who feel it is beyond salvaging are equally incorrect. Sales are the name of the game, and, if incorporated efficiently and regularly, catalogs will make more than a splash. Deriving its name from the river that has the distinction of being the world’s largest river by discharge volume and possibly the longest one, too, Amazon can certainly appreciate that aquatic figure of speech. Here’s hoping other businesses, including yours, follow suit.
Related story: 7 Ways to Increase Sales With Your Catalog