October 28, 2013, 2:46 PM

Staples expands e-commerce via marketplace sales

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Its navigation bar’s Industry link, for example, has a drop-down menu that lets business shoppers click into dedicated product sections for Retail Store, Education and Healthcare. Retailers can buy items ranging from price-labeling devices to electronic cash registers; schools can buy products like student uniforms and tools for laminating covers of paper reports; and hospitals can purchase supplies including medical diagnostic equipment and medical waste containers.  The Industry drop-down menu also notes that there are more industry categories to come, including Restaurant & Food, Sewing & Tailoring, Florist & Garden and Salon & Spa.

Among other features of the site redesign are a faster checkout process, with three clicks from choosing a product to checkout, and the ability to apply rewards program points to a purchase without having to click to a separate page. And in support of its omnichannel strategy of coordinating sales across online and offline channels, its navigation bar also includes a store locator link that instantly loads a map showing local stores near a shopper’s IP address.

In redesigning its site, Staples worked with an in-house team and a mixture of proprietary and IBM Corp. technology, Masud says. He declines to comment further on the company’s technology development. He adds, however, that the site redesign complements Staples’ plan to next month begin matching prices offered by Amazon and other retailers, and also to increase web content personalization based on individual shoppers’ interests. Staples recently bought personalization technology company Runa, which will provide the basis for ongoing improvements in showing dynamically changing pricing and personalized web pages, Masud says.

New versions of Staples mobile web site and mobile apps will arrive in the coming months, Masud says.


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