Amazon.com is gambling on glossiness and nostalgia to draw in shoppers with its first toy catalog, in yet another bricks-and-mortar strategy to snag its share of the holiday toy sales.
The company released its “Holiday of Play” catalog on Wednesday. It features 70 pages of delighted, cozily clad kids surrounded by toys, and will soon be mailed to millions of customers this month. It showcases the breadth of holiday toy inventory, from classics like action figures, board games and Barbies to high-end items like Bose audio gear and PlayStations.
When former juggernaut Toys R Us shuttered its last stores earlier this year, it kicked off a scramble among bricks-and-mortar giants such as Walmart, Target and Kohl’s, along with online powerhouses such as Amazon, as all clamored for a piece of the nation’s $3.3 billion toy market.
(Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
“Amazon is excited to offer a new way for customers to shop for toys this holiday season,” the company said in a statement to The Washington Post.
“Holiday of Play” echoes of the familiar style of the Toys R Us holiday catalogs, but with certain modern flourishes. You won’t find any prices on its pages; shoppers have to go online to find out how much the products actually cost. Instead, a scan of a QR code places the item in the shopper’s online cart, taking them from page to purchase in seconds. Digital versions of the catalog are available on Kindle and in PDF form online.
The catalog is just one weapon in Amazon’s holiday arsenal, along with its free shipping for all customers during the holidays with no minimum purchase required. The lack of explicit prices in the catalog is intentional, leaving Amazon open to shifting its pricing to stay competitive as the season heats up, said Linda Bolton Weiser, an analyst with D.A. Davidson.
“At the holidays retailers try to be nimble with pricing,” Weiser said. “This is allowing them flexibility to be strategic if they want, in which case you don’t want to print the price up in the catalog.” …