Direct Mail Review: Amazon Catalog
December 24th, 2020
Retailers including online retailers have discovered that when they stop sending direct mail that their sales decrease. Catalogs had been abandoned by many retailors in the past few years but have made a resurgence. Amazon has even sent catalogs. Let’s take a closer look at Amazon’s Holiday Wish Book.
Format: The 92-page (mostly) toy catalog was mailed as a flat and was designed at 7.25” x 9.5”.
Design: The best part! I loved how Amazon is engaging with the end user in so many ways. The catalog begins with a tear-out sheet the child can write their holiday list on and on the back is a recipe for hot chocolate. The next page is devoted to “grown-ups” and talks about Amazon Prime, Alexa and other ways to shop. Also included spaced throughout the catalog was a fill in the blank fable, a color by numbers holiday design, stickers, a maze, a create your own snow globe page, and directions on how build an alpine lodge. The catalog itself is broken into sections of toys: Amazon favorite toys for the 2020 holidays, then carefully curated sections such as “Deck the hauls”, “Glam tidings” and more.
Printing and Paper: The catalog was perfect bound which held the pages together and made the book easy to navigate. The covers were printed on cardstock and the inside sheets were text. I loved that Amazon used a matte paper rather than gloss as it gave a more interesting “look” to its artwork and products. There were no special print techniques used and the catalog arrived in good condition.
Presentation: I received the mailer as is with no sort of envelope or packaging. It was oversized but an unusual size, thick and printed in muted colors so it did stand out in the mail.
Purpose: Amazon is using their Wish Book to drive online sales for the holidays.
Offer and Call to Action: There was no offer. The call to action was two-pronged: first, the consumer was encouraged to visit the Amazon website to purchase items they saw in the catalog and second, they were meant to partake in the activities within the book.
Digital technology integration: None but none was needed – in fact, the goal of the mailing was to interact in a different way with the consumer, not online.
Personalization: None but none was needed as it was a mass-produced catalog, meant to appeal to many different people but I am guessing it was sent to households with children or a buying history of toys. The audience is either children up to elementary school ago, their parents or relatives. Amazon mailed their catalog using a walk sequence saturation sortation. Although the catalog was a heavy, oversized piece, postage was comparable to or less than a straight first-class letter. When mailing large volumes, walk sequencing can save thousands of dollars in postage.
Overall a unique catalog and a great example of how an online retailer can interact with consumers using direct mail.