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How Amazon enhanced product discovery by merging offline and online tactics

Amazon is all about eCommerce. Its business model is focused solely on being the giant of the online shopping world. Yet that hasn't stopped Amazon from dabbling in the world of offline. During Christmas 2018 Amazon published a printed children's toy catalog that, thanks to QR codes, merged both an offline and online shopping and product discovery experience. 


The catalog called "A Holiday of Play" was distributed physically to a large selection of its loyal customer base and was available online. Featuring a range of the most popular toys that Christmas, the catalog was penned as "The Ultimate Wish List for Kids". 




Offering a nostalgic trip down memory lane, Amazon had found a gap in the market for a printed Christmas catalog. As most brands have moved their marketing activities online, there was an empty space in the postbox where usually catalogs would be piling up. By publishing a printed catalog, Amazon brought back the well loved Christmas tradition of flicking through a catalog and getting inspired by what your eyes can see. Older generations could share the browsing experience they enjoyed in their youth with their children and discover new products and gift ideas together.


For those lucky enough to receive a printed copy, the catalog was filled top to bottom with a mixture of colorful and vibrant product and lifestyle images. Rather than display prices, dotted throughout each page were QR codes. Parents and family members could then scan a QR code with their smartphone and be taken to a list of all products on that page. From there they could read more about the toy, see the price, delivery information and add to basket. In the online version, each product had a shoppable icon that took readers directly to that toy's own product page on the Amazon webshop. 




We all know Christmas can be chaotic for parents and family members, so having the ability to let your children choose what they want and buy it then and there provided an incredibly smooth, hassle-free and easy shopping experience.


It was a product discovery journey built for children but with adults in mind. Amazon attracted the imagination and wonder of its young audience, but added practicality and familiarity for those actually buying the products. Product discovery should be captivating and inspirational, but tailored to your target audience. By combining a traditional offline experience with a modern online twist, Amazon showed that by thinking a little creatively and knowing your audience, you can enhance product discovery and satisfy your customer's every need.


About the author

Jo Molloy

Jo Molloy

Jo is passionate about brand storytelling and loves to write. A self-confessed chocoholic and TV addict, she is always on the look out for the latest trends and hopes to share her knowledge and enlighten you with her insightful blogs.

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