After a close look at its old business strategy, Staples spotted a problem: An inventory on the verge of being obsolete. For years the company specialized in large stores stocked with paper, pens, cardboard and similar office products that are increasingly being replaced by tablet computers and e-inks.
The solution is omnichannel, the brick-and-mortar response to the modern world. The result? New storefronts that are smaller and sleeker, and which feature digital-friendly kiosks where customers can order products and receive next-day delivery and free shipping. In tandem with kiosk transaction comes a reduced need for checkout workers — another way the company plans to save money.
Downsized kiosk-based stores have been a wise business model for the mobile age, but Staples has taken the concept farther with innovative additions — for example, a business lounge equipped with meeting space and work stations. Staples has also devoted more time to its customer-service branch, focusing on digital ink fingers, EasyTech counters and other tools for rushed consumers.
Currently, omnichannel stores are located only in Norwood, Mass., and Dover, Del. If this move is indeed able to curb showrooming and improves the Staples model, customers can expect locations to pop up in major cities. The firm’s commercial connections will be key to drawing in mobile business customers.
Staples has backed up its omnichannel strategy with a revamped rewards program that includes special discounts and “Office on the Go” services designed for small-business owners. Mobile coupons, discount personalization and location detection are key additions that Staples will employ to continue its journey into the mobile age.
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