The office supplies retailer say it sacrificed some sales to improve online profitability. It also redesigned its business-facing e-commerce site, StaplesAdvantage.com.
Consumers give Internet retail sites high marks in key areas of shopping, but lower ratings than traditional stores in customer service and credit card security. @plan Inc., an online market research company, reports that 83% of surveyed consumers find shopping online more convenient, 59% say they can find the best prices, 58% say it's easier to comparison shop, and 58% say they found what they were looking for. Yet 60% still favor the customer service they get in bricks-and-mortar stores, and 49% sense greater credit card security in the offline world.
Overall, @plan concludes, Web merchants are gaining ground with consumers. "If these scores hold, traditional retailing will be in for a run for the money," says Mark K. Wright, CEO of @plan. "This is not good news for retailers without an active online presence. We may be witnessing the emergence of a two-tiered retailing world where consumers gravitate to the 'Net for convenience, price, and choice, but also shop traditional retailers when they want to be indulged with extra customer service."