October 16, 2022

It Happens Every Year Now

October is the month where some of our readers decide to offer me feedback.

  • "I just got a catalog from Amazon. It's proof that an omnichannel approach works."
  • "I got my Amazon catalog in the mail. It provides that 'sitting by the fireplace feeling' that customers love. Amazon is clearly trend-right when it comes to catalogs."
  • "Kevin, you are such a moron. If Amazon is mailing catalogs, then catalogs work."

One of you sent me mail/holdout results measured via proprietary credit. You showed that when you mail a catalog Amazon generates more incremental sales from the mailing than you generate. Let's see if I have the logic right here:
  1. Cataloger spends a million dollars mailing a catalog.
  2. Amazon makes more profit from the mailing than the catalog makes.
  3. This causes the cataloger to struggle.
  4. Amazon uses the knowledge to mail their own catalog.
  5. "Trusted partners" help Amazon (paper and packaging) while telling catalogers there is a paper shortage, hurting catalogers.
  6. Catalog pundits "raise a champagne glass" to praise Amazon for adopting an omnichannel strategy.
  7. Meanwhile, catalogers sell their products on Amazon and Amazon collects an approximate 15% +/- commission from everything catalogers sell.

Who is most strategic here?
  1. The Catalog Brand.
  2. Amazon.
  3. "Trusted Partners" who support the paper industry.

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