If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember that getting the Sears Wish Book was a highlight of the holiday season. We would pour through the pages, soaking in all of the options that we might ask Santa to gift us. Then the Sears catalog went away, and eventually, Sears went away, replaced by the online giants such as Amazon.

So, it was a puzzlement to me to learn that Amazon mailed out a holiday catalog this year – real paper sent in “snail mail.” It seems to be antithetical to their entire business model. Even more astonishing is that they have opened up a physical presence – a 4 Star Store – in a mall, no less. (Everything in the store is rated 4 stars or higher.) The company that essentially delivered the death blow to malls and catalogs is embracing both strategies this holiday season.

Amazon’s move is indicative of “phygital” where you merge the best of a physical environment and digital presence. Instead of one or the other, it’s now both. It turns out that deep down, we’re a tactile bunch and prefer to have some physical interaction before we buy.

Amazon has just raised the bar for everyone. How will your organization respond?

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