Holiday Catalogs Making a Joyful Comeback

“Joy delivered.”

That’s the tagline for this year’s shoppable Amazon Wish Book, a beautiful hybrid of traditional direct mail and digital purchase path.

According to Amazon’s peek inside their 2020 holiday catalog, the Wish Book has been sent to millions of customers around the US. (Haven’t gotten one? You might be able to score one at one of these store locations.) 

“The Wish Book features incredible toys and gifts from brands like LEGO, L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Play-Doh, Hasbro Gaming, Ravensburger, and Osmo—plus movie and TV characters from Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Junior, Blue’s Clues & You, and Blippi,” the Amazon article continues.

The joy isn’t limited to the kiddos getting the gifts, either. Rising ROI from catalog mailers means happier holidays all around. According to Cynthia Lin writing in LinkedIn, the Amazon Wish Book shows that direct mail can easily integrate with digital purchasing.

“Not only does the 2020 Wish Book contain coloring pages, stickers, and other activities for kids, it also contains many channels for adults to jump from the physical book to the Amazon website or app,” Lin writes. “QR codes will direct you to gift ideas similar to the items presented on the physical pages. Additionally, if you want to find the online listing of an item shown in the book, you can simply scan the image with the Amazon App.”

As Lin explains, it’s fairly easy to understand why the printed catalog is having a resurgence in popularity. Screen fatigue is real … especially this year … and we’ve become all but numb to digital ads.

“When face time with a screen gets too overwhelming, a mail marketing piece breaks through, allowing marketers to still make an impact when screens go black,” she notes.

It’s not strictly a US phenomenon either. Sarah Butler in the Guardian explains that high street retailers and UK websites are embracing more direct mail catalogs this year.

“It’s a brilliant way of keeping a brand front of mind during lockdown,” said Beth Butterwick, CEO of Jigsaw, to Butler. “On average, people will spend three or six minutes on a website but a catalogue or direct mail can lie on a coffee table for a month to six weeks. If there’s something you quite liked you can keep going back.”

For many brands, 2020 is a learning moment as they realize just how powerful their direct mail can be when it reaches customers staying home more. While people can certainly scroll online, there’s something much more relaxing and inspiring about a well-curated catalog or direct mail piece. 

As upscale UK homewares brand Cox & Cox notes, the internet might be easy, but it’s clearly not as engaging.

“A far lower proportion of people open an email or click on an online ad than pick up and keep a catalogue,” the company said. “By combining a variety of channels you can not only reinforce your message but also increase your chances of catching people at just the right time.”

Catching the right people at the right time isn’t just good marketing strategy … it is marketing ROI joy delivered, and that’s exactly what Amazon and other retailers are experiencing this holiday season. Joy … in print … in your mailbox.