The office supplies retailer say it sacrificed some sales to improve online profitability. It also redesigned its business-facing e-commerce site, StaplesAdvantage.com.
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The idea is not new—“mass customization” and “one-to-one marketing” were popular concepts among business gurus a couple of decades ago. But the combination of the Internet, the explosive growth in the buying power of China’s emerging middle class, and the consolidation of powerful Chinese e-commerce companies like Alibaba could make it more of a reality in China than it’s ever become anywhere else.