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Competitor Intelligence: Staples unveils its first omnichannel stores

June 23, 2013
Written By

Staples, the world’s largest office products company, has launched its first omnichannel prototype stores which the company is calling ‘the future of retail’. The stores combine the power of the company’s expansive retail network with the digital capabilities of the world’s second largest internet retailer.

The two next-generation Staples stores reflect the company’s latest thinking when it comes to serving shoppers in today’s digital world. The stores feature kiosks with large screens to provide customers with access to an expanded product assortment – an ‘endless aisle’ experience – consistent with the company’s goal of providing ‘every’ product a business needs to succeed.

The stores, located in Norwood Massachusetts and Dover Delaware, incorporate and Staples’ mobile assets into the retail experience, enabling customers to shop how they want. Through the in-store kiosks, customers can select from more than 100,000 items, including the latest tech products, furniture, school supplies and cleaning items.

The retailer also believes it can leverage from its bricks and mortar foothold, differentiating itself from pureplay Internet retailers. Customers can visit in-store and feel and touch a product, with Staples providing free, next-day delivery to more than 98% of North America. Customers also have the ability to reserve online and pick-up instore.

Demos Parneros, President of Staples North America Stores and Online, said, “We listened to our customers and provided the products, services and features they need to succeed. Our stores make efficient use of space while offering more products and services than ever through our mobile and online features.”

A recent survey from the IBM Institute for Business Value believes that retailers can convert the threat of showrooming into an opportunity by making their customers ‘sticky’ through a seamless and omnichannel approach: providing consistency, convenience and a superior shopping experience across every consumer touchpoint. Staples’ strategy of listening to their customers and allowing them to shop how they want – providing an interplay of their retail network with online – perfectly delivers on the showrooming opportunity.

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