Amazon.com Inc. prides itself in being different, but it is looking more and more like a traditional retailer. In an all out effort to win the business that is now up for grabs because of the end of Toys “R” Us Inc., the massive online giant is going conventional.
Amazon has plans to publish a holiday toy catalog, according to people close to the strategy makers. The printed information will be mailed to millions of U.S. households and given out at Whole Foods Market locations. It is the grocery chain that Amazon bought last year, according to people who asked not to be named because the plan has not yet been made public.
This projected move is part of Amazon’s effort to incorporate traditional retailers’ tools into its business model. Amazon has even investigated acquiring some Toys “R” Us locations. There is interest in this because of its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods and the splash that was generated when they moved to brick-and-mortar retailing. The online retailer has been integrating the chain into its larger business, including marketing its voice assistants and discount membership in stores.
A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment.
Even at the brink of death after failing to come out of bankruptcy, Toys “R” Us was still a force during Christmas. Its “Big Book” toy catalog was a staple at 100 pages or so. Toymakers often starting their holiday advertising to coordinate with its arrival in late October.
Apparently even kids who are hooked on screens still like to search through toy catalogs. Both Walmart and Target still use the strategy so kids can make their Christmas “wish” list.
Toys “R” Us generated $6.5 billion in U.S. sales last year. That has caused many retailers, even those not known for toys, to try for a piece of the defunct chain’s business.
Party City Holdco Inc. is opening 50 pop-up toy shops for the holidays. Target said in May that it was bolstering its assortment as Toys “R” Us liquidated. They said the chain is also expanding shelf space for toys for the coming holiday season and doing in-store events with big brands.
Amazon has become a toy-shopping destination in its own right. It’s been gaining market share in the category ever since, and now it’s taking another page from legacy chains.