Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Office Depot enhances mobile shopping with printer ink capabilities

Office Depot revamped its iPhone application recently to enhance the mobile shopping experience by enabling users to order ink directly from their mobile phones.
The app also scans a user’s wireless network for printers and identifies compatible ink for these printers. For most HP printers, the Office Depot app also detects low ink levels.

“This is just another way Office Depot is trying to enhance the shopping experience for its customers including those who shop with us via their iPhones,” said Ancin Peter, director of global ecommerce for Office Depot, Boca Raton, FL.  

“The feature not only eliminates the step of requiring the customer to know the specific make and model of their printers, but makes the overall experience more convenient for these busy customers while saving them time,” he said.

“IPhone customers are using the application for everything from checking the weekly Office Depot ad, searching for products that are available in our stores, and purchasing items.”

Bar code scanning
Other new features in the Office Depot iPhone app include the ability for in-store customers to scan bar codes of products for detailed descriptions, reviews and availability at a nearby store if a product is sold out. 

Additionally, in response to customer requests, the Office Depot retail store weekly insert advertisements are now available on the app.

The printer-related enhancements enable customers to scan their wireless network for wireless printers whether they are located in the home or office.

For many HP printers, the application not only detects low ink levels but, if the printer ink level is at, or below a certain threshold, the application searches for replacement ink and allows the user to order it. The low ink levels are identified by color and the app informs customers exactly what colors they need to purchase.     

Office Depot is also working on enhancements to its Android mobile application. 

Driving loyalty with mobile
Office supply superstores Office Depot, Office Max and Staples have all been active in the mobile space, offering mobile sites and mobile apps. 

The enhancements being made Office Depot to its iPhone app are just the latest example of how these companies are focusing on bringing the latest mobile features to their customers as a way to enhance the shopping experience and drive loyalty.

Earlier this year, Office Depot became the second big box retailer to test PayPal’s point-of-sale program that lets shoppers pay for in-store purchases by typing in their mobile phone number and a PIN, which it later rolled to all of its stores (see story).

Staples recently introduced its new iPhone app that drives in-store traffic and captures online sales (see story).  

“This new feature in the application is in the beta testing stage, so we are still gathering information about this option that will better assist our customers,” Mr. Peter said. “Once it’s ready to roll out in the future, we will be marketing it to our customers.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York