July 17, 2013, 12:17 PM

Office Depot enhances in-store pickup with a one-hour promise

Shoppers will be able to make a purchase online at OfficeDepot.com.

Lead Photo

It’s been less than a week since Office Depot Inc. and OfficeMax Inc. agreed to merge and it’s unclear what will happen to the e-commerce channel for each chain.

But big corporate events aren’t preventing Office Depot, No. 7 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide, from introducing some new enhancements to OfficeDepot.com and using the mobile Internet and tablets to drive store sales.

Starting July 28 Office Depot is introducing an updated web order, in-store pickup program called “Buy Online Pick Up in an Hour.” The new program enables shoppers to make a purchase online at OfficeDepot.com and have it ready for pick up at a nearby store in about 60 minutes. Office Depot has yet to say if all of the items it carries online in its inventory of more than 80,000 SKUs are part of its new one delivery program. But the new one-hour fulfillment policy also lets shoppers designate a friend or family member to pick up their package or have some products shipped to the store and other items that are part of the same order shipped to their home or office.

To make better use of the mobile web and tablet computers in its network of more than 1,100 stores, Office Depot also will equip stores with kiosks and store employees with updated and web-enabled handheld devices to help shoppers find products and determine availability, select the merchandise and pay for it on the spot with credit cards and gift cards, or receive free shipping by ordering the product online at OfficeDepot.com.

An updated mobile app will enable Office Depot store shoppers to access free in-store wireless Internet, scan for bar codes and research product information such as ratings and reviews. “Technology is constantly changing the way people shop,” says Office Depot vice president of customer experience Christine Buscarino. “At Office Depot, we’re continuing to refresh our services to ensure customers get what they need, when they need it. It’s about shopping for and receiving products at a time and in a way that is most convenient.”

Office Depot hasn’t indicated if OfficeMax (No. 11) will roll out the same updated online and in-store programs for the back-to-school shopping season. But the two office chains are going ahead with their planned merger. On Friday the stockholders of both companies approved the merger, which is expected to close by the end of the year.

Office Depot and OfficeMax in February announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which the companies would combine in an all-stock merger. Under the terms of the agreement, OfficeMax stockholders will receive 2.69 Office Depot common shares for each share of OfficeMax common stock. The merger makes the new entity an $18 billion company, based on projected 2012 sales, the companies said in a joint statement.

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