Staples recently opened two of 45 planned omnichannel stores that incorporate elements of Staples.com and Staples’ mobile offerings into the in-store experience. The first two omnichannel stores opened last month in Norwood, Mass. and Dover, Del.
“Even though the way people shop has changed, we know that shopping is an occasion,” said Mark Cautela, Public Relations Manager of Staples, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “People love to shop. So we have created a fun, exciting experience for our customers. ”
Cautela reported that the retailer plans to convert 45 of its 24,000-square-foot stores to the new 12,000-square-foot omnichannel format, although he did not provide a timetable. “This will be done through a combination of relocations and downsizing of existing spaces. The Norwood store for instance, was converted over and stayed open during the process.”
The omnichannel format features several Staples.com kiosks that offer more than 100,000 items, including technology products, furniture, school supplies, and cleaning and breakroom items. Customers can complete their transactions at the kiosk or the store register.
The layout also includes a consultation area for small business customers who need help from Staples EasyTech and Copy and Print associates and a business lounge that provide meeting space and work stations for mobile workers. Additional features of the new stores include an ink and toner finder that enables customers to track past purchases and find the right ink and toner, and the ability to reserve items online and pick them up in store.
Different Channels, Same Customer Experience
“Staples’ omnichannel stores represent the future of retail,” Cautela explained. “Our omnichannel experience ensures consistent access to all of Staples products, services and offerings, from store, home, office or mobile devices. The omnichannel stores bring together Staples unique advantages and capabilities, combining our unmatched retail network with the power of the world’s second-largest Internet retailer.”
The omnichannel stores also enable Staples to test and launch products and capabilities, according to Cautela.
Some of the features of the new stores also will be rolled out companywide, Cautela added. “This is just the beginning for us. We’ve opened two omnichannel stores recently. But customers will see many of these omnichannel features across our network. These include shop online, pick up in store; omnichannel kiosks that give access to our expanded assortment; and our product-related services, Copy and Print and EasyTech.”
Staples also recently launched the Staples Rewards program, which offers 5% back in rewards on all purchases and free-shipping from Staples.com. The Plus and Premier Staples Rewards members receive free Staples EasyTech services and Office On The Go services for the mobile small business owner, which include paper shredding and document scanning.