Should you care about catalogs? (YES!) Aren’t they a thing of the past? (NO!)
Did You Know that Amazon Just Mailed out a Toy Catalog?

young girl with blond hair red hat white vest holding red gift standing in snow Yes, this year Amazon mailed toy and fashion catalogs. The question is…does this seem odd to Amazon’s millions of customers and competitors?

Perhaps, but the fact is, this is the second year Amazon has done catalog mailings. 

For many eCommerce-focused consumers, the very notion of turning the pages of a an actual catalog is retro…something their Grandparents mention on Thanksgiving.  

But here at Freestyle, we love catalogs! So many of our customers depend on catalogs as a major source of revenue. And that’s exactly why we offer the industry’s leading eCommerce catalog management software solution. 

But enough about us – 

Just why is Amazon mailing out catalogs?

Why does it matter?

What impact will it have for the eTailer giant (and its competitors)? Let’s be real…everything Amazon does impacts competitors.

So how did consumers take it? Reaction was swift when they found catalogs at the bottom of their mailbox. Overwhelming consensus? They loved it!  

Some speculate it was nostalgia. Memories of turning pages, studying options and circling a wish list that only Santa could fulfill. Could it be that catalogs bring back warm snippets of one’s own childhood? For many, it seems it could be a way to share that childhood joy we all once knew with a new generation of children and grandchildren. 

In buzz-like fashion, most quickly took note of the differences (and innovations) in this newfangled catalog style. Not surprisingly, Amazon has mined the data they amass on us to better feature the right toys, the right pricing and even the right nifty little pitch for Prime. They’ve also eliminated pricing, opting for the high-tech fix some of us may now feel we need…enter the scan-and-shop option. It’s genius, really, because they aren’t locked into printed pricing!

It’s clear that Amazon (while it’s safe to assume they’ll never be all-in on catalogs), is taking full advantage of this brilliant omnichannel opportunity. We love the idea of using catalogs as yet another avenue to drive traffic to marketplaces. And Amazon is leading the pack, doing it while presenting products in old (unique, innovative) ways!

Just how much innovation can there be in catalogs? You may be surprised to learn, there is actually quite a bit.

  • Advanced consumer targeting
  • Hashtags
  • Wish lists
  • Scannable pricing structure
  • Storytelling

Amazon’s idea to treat pricing differently (by not including it at all), is effective on many levels. 

Using scannable QR codes instead of actual printed pricing is an ingenious way to extend the shelf life of the catalog, offsetting the often-exorbitant cost of printing, while preserving pricing flexibility. This is something that hasn’t been possible in the past, severely limiting the financial reward and impact of catalogs.

All in all, the lack of pricing could be a wildly effective tactic for any cataloger. And this idea of having yet another tool that drives traffic can be a game-changer in the new digital age.  

And it’s not just Amazon – merchants as diverse as Walmart and Neiman Marcus are once again printing catalogs too, innovating their way to increased sales. 

For catalog merchants, this could be the start of a renaissance. And for consumers, a fun (new-old) way to shop. It might seem counter-intuitive, but with so many large merchants potentially once again turning to catalogs as a major part of their sales and branding strategy this holiday season, we see this is less as a trend than we do a marketing stampede.

Does your brand have a catalog? Are you thinking of introducing catalogs into your marketing strategy in 2020? Would like to speak with Freestyle’s experts in eCommerce catalog management? Contact us today!

Did you know that more catalogers rely on Freestyle than any other multichannel software developer…will you be the next? 




Images courtesy of Pixabay | geralt & langll