Staples’ new app feature raises in-app interactive store maps’ profile
Staples is further bridging the gap between physical and digital shopping experiences by piloting a new in-application feature that enables users to leverage an interactive store map to locate products more quickly, tapping a rising trend used by other major retailers such as Target.
Staples is testing the in-store mode map feature in 83 bricks-and-mortar locations in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and the Seattle area as it ramps up to optimize omnichannel shopping experiences and drive more traffic to its stores. The retailer is tapping Point Inside’s Store Mode platform to power the new tool, which lets customers route their trips before arriving in-store.
“We know our customers are busy running their businesses and we’re always looking for ways to help them save time,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global ecommerce at Staples. “Our customers shop both in-store and online, so the app update enables customers to locate the products they want during their trip to their local Staples store.
“The interactive map can also route a customer’s trip, showing them the easiest and most convenient way to collect their items and get to checkout. By digitizing the store with features such as interactive maps, we’re able to create a more user-friendly and customized shopping experience that adds real value to our customers’ Staples experience.”
Promoting time-saving tactics
The new interactive store map tool is only available within Staples’ iPhone app. Consumers in the New York metropolitan area, as well as in Massachusetts and Seattle, can take advantage of the pilot program to pinpoint desired products’ exact aisle and location within Staples stores, enabling an easier and more time-efficient shopping experience.
Per Staples, its customers have been asking for easier ways of finding items in-store, prompting the brand to introduce the time-saving feature for mobile users. Consumers who update their Staples iPhone app will be able to locate every item in their search at a local store.
The interactive map tool also helps route an individual’s trip, displaying the most convenient ways to retrieve their desired products before proceeding to checkout.
With seventy percent of Staples’ app users identifying as omnichannel shoppers, the retailer’s introduction of a mobile tool that bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds was a smart move.
This way, its customers will be able to shop more seamlessly between personal devices and stores with easier access to product availability.
“In-store mobile use represents a huge opportunity for retailers,” said Pete Coleman, executive vice president of business development at Point Inside. “When done right, it enhances a customer’s shopping experience, unlocks an incremental and premium advertising opportunity, and creates actionable insights that enable retailers to execute more effectively in-store.
“Retailers know that shoppers rely heavily on smartphones to make purchasing decisions, but most retailers do not realize that shoppers’ smartphone use mainly influences in-store shopping versus online purchases,” he said. “In fact, 70 percent of retailers’ mobile traffic is destined for an in-store visit, and mobile is predicted to influence approximately $1 trillion in spending in 2016 for U.S. bricks-and-mortar retailers.”
The mobile precursor
The interactive store map acts as a precursor to a revamped mobile app that Staples is planning to introduce soon, also with the intent of providing more streamlined in-store shopping experiences.
The new app will be the latest addition to Staples’ growing suite of mobile-friendly shopping options, including the mdot Web site and Buy Online, Pick Up in Store service.
Several months ago, Staples fueled mobile sales by updating its app to include sneak peeks of weekly advertisements and push notifications to alert users when loyalty rewards become available (see story).
Additionally, the office supplies retailer recently provided a sneak peek of a new purchasing platform in test mode that is designed to make it easy for employees to order supplies via SMS, email and an app as they walk around the office, part of a broader rebranding for its business-to-business division (see story).
Staples’ interactive store map pilot is powered by Point Inside’s Store Mode, a cloud-based, mobile-first platform enabling users to search items in-store and map out their journeys.
Point Inside also introduced in-store mapping features for Target’s app, which resulted in 25 percent of shoppers using the tool during the holidays (see story).
Ultimately, a growing number of retailers may opt to integrate in-store mode features into their apps, particularly if they seek to bolster customer traffic and give time-strapped consumers an incentive to visit bricks-and-mortar locations.
“Staples wins whether the customer makes purchases online, via mobile, or in-store, and Point Inside is focused on doing our part to help Staples win,” Mr. Coleman said. “Our StoreMode platform helps Staples offer a seamless shopping experience by digitizing its stores and delivering services within its digital properties that enable shoppers to interact with a physical store as if it is a living Web site.
“A customer can traverse all channels, and Staples can maintain engagement seamlessly across those channels to personalize and improve its shopping experience.”