Ever noticed how “anything Amazon” seems to stir up the media and spark speculation about why, and how, the e-commerce giant is making their next move and what will be the impact? The most recent chatter in the news stems from what is deemed an uncharacteristic shift by Amazon to publish a holiday toy catalog that will be distributed at their Whole Foods Market locations and mailed to millions of households across America. It just seems so oddly conventional for the “think outside of the box – cutting edge” company.
Critics wasted no time pointing the finger at Amazon and shaming the company for their part in killing the brick and mortar stores like Toys “R” Us, and now they are borrowing the methods of traditional retailer to attract more customers.
TUGGING AT NOSTALGIC HEARTSTRINGS
Toy experts say Amazon is trying to tap into the market by tugging at the nostalgic heartstrings of our inner child when the much-anticipated catalogs arrived and the excitement of knowing the magic of the holidays were right around the corner. Walmart and Target both continue to observe the ritual of sending out holiday catalogs in late October in hopes of jump-starting the kids to begin creating their December wish lists.
Toys “R” Us reported $6.5 billion in U.S. revenues in the first three quarters of 2017 and in years past 40% of the company’s annual revenues were generated in the fourth quarter due to holiday sales. That equates to approximately $4.5 billion up for grabs in November and December. The main question is, who will come to handle all the toys that were previously sold by the retail giant?
AMAZON NOT THE ONLY CONTENDER
Truth be told, it is not only Amazon who is jockeying for a piece of the action now that Toys “R” Us is gone. With such a large chunk of the toy market up for grabs, competitors small and large will be trying to get a slice of the pie.
Target announced earlier in the year that they would expand brands and dedicate more shelf space in stores for toys this holiday season, and USA Today recently reported on Party City’s plans to open 50 temporary pop up toy stores:
“The Elmsford, New York-based party goods retailer plans to locate temporary Toy City stores alongside its seasonal Halloween City stores. The stores will open in early September and stay open through the end of the traditional holiday shopping period.
The pop-up shop strategy aims to capitalize on the period during which toy sales are most lucrative – and not be stuck with largely vacant stores the rest of the year.”
The strategy to incorporate traditional retailers’ tools into its business model was first reported by Bloomberg, by sources who requested not to be identified. The leak may end up being a very lucrative ploy on Amazon’s part, by bringing us a holiday buzz and getting everyone excited about Christmas in July. Let’s face it; the fact that the online e-commerce giant is pondering using print adds via a catalog to increase sales is not exactly news. However, if the economy and consumer confidence remain strong, those wish lists might be quite a bit longer this year, with more toys for good girls and boys, and leaving merchants feeling very merry and bright.