September 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

Down To Business

(Page 2 of 2)

“With dedicated teams and everyone on the same page, writing and implementing new coding has gotten much faster,” says Howard. “We’re looking at site design in a whole new light.”

Those process changes helped Staples.com quickly add a question-and-answer feature to its retail site this summer, aiming to provide customers with the same information they might get from a knowledgeable store associate. Customers can ask anything from “How many USB ports does this computer have?” to “Does this camera come with the lens that is pictured?”

“We’re trying to answer everything in 48 hours,” Howard says. “It’s important to us to have a two-way conversation with shoppers. In the future, we’ll be looking for more ways to have conversations through other outlets like blogs.”

Whatever the conversation, the goal is to boost customer loyalty and sales. Staples is betting it can achieve that goal by making shopping as fast, flexible and convenient as possible, no matter the channel.

katie@verticalwebmedia.com

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