Staples’ acquisition of Makr app highlights mobile’s transaction strengths
Staples has acquired the Makr mobile application for the iOS platform, which allows users to design and pay for customized materials such as business cards, invitations and stickers within the app, further augmenting the brand’s pick-up-in-store options and tapping the instant gratification that mobile purchases enable.
The Makr app is primarily geared toward small businesses seeking to bolster their personal branding products, although it may be used by anyone to create customized materials. Staples believe that Makr will bolster the brand’s mobile efforts and boost the instant gratification potential for print-on demand abilities.
“This gives Staples a design focused offering to support our traditional transactional mobile assets, as well as positioning Staples as an innovative company connecting with Makr community,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global ecommerce at Staples, Framingham, MA. “It also is a sign of our investment in mobile, as we’re seeing more and more traffic through that channel.”
The acquisition also speaks to Staples’ desire to grow its copy and print services. As consumers become busier and have less time to run errands, selecting mobile as the vehicle for prompting custom material creation was a smart move.
Business owners can leverage the Makr app to upload their logos or develop other branded imagery to superimpose on business cards, tote bags, t-shirts, packaging materials, stickers, labels and more. Customers who have special events coming up, such as milestone parties or weddings, can use the app to make personalized invitations, stationery, cards and even temporary tattoos.
Makr seeks to enable consumers to design tailored items without making anyone settle for basic templates.
While Staples has been building an online portfolio of copy and print services, offering the capability for mobile and tablet devices will likely help drive impulse purchases and may reach consumers browsing at home or during their commutes.
Users may purchase their designed items in the app, or visit their local Staples bricks-and-mortar location to pick up the final printed products.
Bolstering mobile strategy
Staples also offers a mobile app to both iOS and Android customers that allows users to receive speedy access to daily promotions, their Staples Rewards loyalty platform accounts and use the simplified checkout to build shopping lists and purchase items easily on mobile.
Additionally, with mcommerce sales growing quickly, Staples is jockeying to hold onto its role as an ecommerce leader by opening its dedicated mobile site to direct sales from vendors (see story).
However, the Makr acquisition will likely attract plenty of graphic design enthusiasts or time-strapped consumers looking to make customized goods for their businesses or leisure events. Another optimal strategy would be to enable users to share their final designs with friends and family across social media sites and apps.
An executive from Storkie Express, another custom stationery retailer, predicted at eTail West 2015 that social commerce – an amalgamation of social networks and checkout processes – will be the next big trend to affect brands and consumers this year, proving that inspiration and consumer communities are key to driving mcommerce (see story).
“We think our customers will be excited about the opportunity to create unique designs, without the restrictions of templates,” Mr. Masud said. “Copy and Print is a growing part of our business, and by offering a high-end mobile design experience, we’re letting small businesses create their marketing materials whenever and however we want.
“This acquisition also not only augments our app portfolio but also gives our small business customers the opportunity to utilize our massive footprint for instant gratification for print on demand services (pick up at store).”
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York