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Staples doubles down on tablet experiences to answer growing business use

Staples is revamping its online storefronts to provide a stronger focus on tablet optimization, product recommendations and personalization features as company-owned tablet usage continues to rise.

The and sites now offer a redesigned user interface for easier navigation, with the latter also receiving a new homepage dashboard and enhanced checkout features. Staples has been ramping up its targeting of businesses on mobile, as evidenced by its business-to-business site’s redesign as well as recent acquisitions of design service mobile applications.

“User data clearly indicates that our customers browsing on a tablet device prefer a full-site experience over an optimized site like mdot,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global ecommerce at Staples, Framingham, MA. “With over 21 percent of mobile traffic driven by tablet devices, we decided we needed to create an optimal experience that is tailored to customers who shop on tablets.”

Catering to right audiences
The site features an updated look with the homepage dashboard and streamlined checkout capabilities. The brand is aiming to cater to businesses even more effectively with the new tools, which strive to make ordering as easy as possible via the tablet-optimized redesign.

The dashboard features need-to-know customer information, such as order status, shopping lists and items that may need to be reordered. Staples will keep track of such items by analyzing the frequency that the customer purchases the product, which may be a useful tool for businesses needing reminders about restocking certain materials.

Pending order approvals will also be shown, and may be approved with one click. Staples hopes its B2B site will offer a more streamlined shopping process for its business customers, whom it has been placing a higher focus on.

“Companies are using tablets where they used to use paper,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta. “Online ordering isn’t always efficient on a PC; brands having digital properties to allow companies to bring a tablet with them on the job for easier ordering is important for B2B suppliers.

“Brands need to ensure that with any revamp of a digital property, they are very aware of their users’ need for simplicity and how much a complete refacing can throw a wrench in their activities,” she said. “Simplifying the user interface to allow for optimal shopping without complete disruption is best.

“As with any revamp of a digital property, extensive testing prior to launch to ensure faster speeds across screens is critical to their success.”

Staples recently acquired the Makr app 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 (see story).

Offering a tablet-optimized experience is paramount in catering directly to businesses, as they frequently use the larger-screen devices over smartphones for their on-the-go needs.

While the tablet market has plateaued, usage is expected to continue to grow, with company-owned tablets escalating at a much faster rate than the overall market, according to a new report from Forrester Research (see story).

Forrester predicts that business-owned tablets will constitute 14 percent of the total global tablet installed base in 2015 and 20 percent by 2018.

Expanding personalization
The revamped will be rolled out to consumers by the end of July and will feature improved search and checkout experiences. Businesses and customers will receive enhanced personalized content such as relevant product recommendations and promotions.

A report from Contact Solutions proved that consumers are increasingly looking to recommendations and assistance options within mobile apps and sites during the shopping process (see story).

The adaptive design will include a focus on tools that customers have shown to care about most, such as delivery estimates, reviews and product photos.

Browsing will also become more tailored to time-strapped consumers with the introduction of consolidated categories. Users also may browse items by industry and view recently bought products as well as a redesigned deals section displaying the best savings opportunities for companies.

More office supplies marketers are widening their audience outreach to include businesses as well as solitary customers, and are finding mobile to be the perfect channel for that strategy.

This past April, Staples and Office Depot doubled down on efforts to put mobile at the center of their omnichannel success with app updates that brought new-found flexibility to loyalty-point redemptions and order fulfillment (see story).

“Our new designs truly deliver on a better omnichannel experience for our customers with almost 15 percent adoption in click and collect,” Staples’ Mr. Masud said. “For example, we have improved our callout to action ‘Pick up today’ that now very easily shows the product availability of the product in nearby stores.

“This directly reflects our strategy to make shopping easier for customers – wherever and whenever they prefer to shop.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York