Amazon Vies for Toy Supremacy, Looks to Fill the Toys ‘R’ Us Void

Amazon is reportedly looking to take a more traditional approach to its upcoming marketing campaigns, as insiders have told Bloomberg that the global company is planning to print a holiday toy catalogue.

While the plan hasn’t been made public yet, anonymous sources have reportedly said the printed guide will be mailed to millions of households across the US, and will also be distributed at Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market stores around the country.

Rumours did circulate earlier in the year that Amazon had considered purchasing some of Toys ‘R’ Us’ stores when administrators were scrambling to find a buyer for the embattled toy business, however, the company never publicly made a bid for the business. This comes after the historically pureplay marketplace has made more of a push into bricks-and-mortar, with the acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in August last year.

The businesses Amazon Go stores that have been successfully trialled in the US are another example of Amazon’s apparent vision for the future of shopping, as more global brands start to merge online and offline systems together. Back in January, the e-tailer opened an Amazon Go concept store in the states, which features no cashiers, lines, or registers.

As customers enter the store, they simply scan their Amazon Go smartphone app at a turnstile, and then as they pull an item from the shelf, it’s automatically added to their virtual cart. This is achieved through computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors. Although, the company does warn that customers shouldn’t pick up items for other shoppers, as they will likely be incorrectly charged for the product.

While the store doesn’t require any cashiers – customers are charged automatically as they leave the store – Amazon has employed staff to assist customers and stock the shelves.

Through its Whole Foods acquisition, its first Amazon Go stores, and more than a dozen bookstores in the US, Amazon is proving it’s serious about revolutionising the concept of traditional bricks-and-mortar retail.

To date, Amazon hasn’t revealed any plans to open physical stores in Australia. However, with its second local distribution centre set to open in the coming months, and as it slowly ramps up its Australian marketplace with its Prime membership and exclusive sale events, its activities in the US could be an indication of what’s to come. Plus, let’s not forget that Amazon is notorious for keeping its plans under wraps for as long as possible.

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