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The arrival of Amazon in Australia has created a bit of a media frenzy. Some of the over-reaction would have you think the world is coming to an end, as Chicken Little believed centuries ago.

Amazon is coming, the end of retail is nigh…

Yet a day after the announcement that Amazon was open for business, some media turned against Amazon. Apparently the prices Amazon is charging for many electronic goods are way more than competitors are offering both in-store and online. Amazon is not the cheapest in many categories.

This is a reflection of how online stores like Amazon are damaging brands by commoditising them and reducing them to compete mainly on price, rather than other differentiators. But that’s another discussion.

However, there is a group of retailers using innovative technology to combat Amazon. Though the cyber-hustlers would claim the retailers have lost their mind. After all, this is the digital world.

These retailers are using printed catalogues delivered directly into letterboxes to generate Christmas sales. Many of them are also advertising on television and radio, as well as in press (inserts and ads).

What are they thinking?

Here are the brands that have reached my family’s letterbox in the last two days:

  • Woolworths
  • Big W
  • Coles
  • IGA
  • Supercheap Auto
  • Repco
  • Priceline Pharmacy
  • Harvey Norman
  • Officeworks
  • Target
  • Bunnings
  • Bing Lee
  • Pillow Talk
  • Zamel’s Jewellers

Retail catalogues in my home…

I wonder, given the whole world has gone 150% digital, why retailers would use the technology that impacts all five senses (print), rather than the technology that only impacts three senses (digital)?

Maybe it’s because online sales in Australia will only be 7.3% of all retail sales this year? Or to put it another way, 92.7% of all retail sales will not be online this year. So digital marketing is the equivalent of playing in the kiddies pool in the big game of marketing.

Maybe it’s because they know that as a result of looking at printed catalogues, people shop online, as well as directly in-store.

Maybe it’s because they know catalogues and inserts work, as they are the secret weapon of digital start-ups.

Maybe it’s because they listen to customers rather than cyber-hustlers when it comes to running a profitable business?

Who knows?

But I gotta go now and do my Christmas shopping – where are my catalogues?