ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Staples’ latest technology development center will focus on personalized ecommerce

Staples has opened a second West Coast development lab, building its strategic focus on  testing and launching innovative online selling models to optimize the ecommerce shopping experience.

The newest development center opened in Seattle, giving the retailer access to engineering teams and leaders to help drive major initiatives to enhance areas including search, SEO and personalization. It joins the San Mateo Innovation Lab, which focuses on personalizing the shopping experience and allows the company to tap into the wealth of engineering and ecommerce expertise in the Silicon Valley area.

“Our marketers and merchants will test and launch rapid innovative online selling models, targeting the right customer with the right products at the right time,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president, global e-commerce, Staples, Framingham, MA.

Big data
Staples is adding software development, product management, usability, analytics and online merchandising positions as it continues to invest in omnichannel capabilities that let customers shop however and whenever they want, across mobile devices, desktops and stores.

Global business to consumer ecommerce sales have increased sharply over recent years driven by a growing online population and changes in consumer behavior.

In 2012, total sales topped $1 trillion for the first time according to eMarkteter.

Estimates from Euromonitor show global digital sales reached $579.9 billion in 2012, posting growth of 14.8 percent annually from 2007 to 2012.

This buries total retail sales which only increased .9 percent annually, jumping from 2.2 percent in 2007, to 4 percent in 2012.

Global focus on digital
Multinationals such as eBay and McDonald’s are too exercising a focus on digital and consumer-centric efforts.

McDonald’s recently built a new outpost in the epicenter of Silicon Valley and expressed optimism that the office will enable it to attract and recruit digital talent, foster business development, and allow the company to be more connected to the influx of innovation.

The attention to digital comes at a time when rivals are seeking and deploying ways to engage consumers in the mobile space, a medium McDonald’s has been slow to embrace in the U.S.

The fast-casual is currently dabbling in mobile payments and mobile ordering prototypes, and has been looking for partnerships with startups that have tools or platforms that may help it become more digitally established.

Execs are recognizing the need to embrace mobile and digital technology beyond traditional banner ads, social media strives, and outdated mobile app.

EBay too has shown it is ready to move at the pace of the consumer.

In 2012, it opened a development center in Bangalore, India, from which it develops software for its online marketplace and payment platform, Paypal.

The facility was implemented when eBay began working on digital technologies that could put Paypal in competition with credit-card companies at bricks-and-mortar stores.

E-commerce solutions are constantly being updated to provide retailers with what they need to appeal to their customers. Many solutions on the market provide additional support for e-commerce sites by way of security, web traffic growth, and ease of site navigation.

“An additional center will provide a wealth of talented engineers and leaders from Seattle and surrounding areas who will provide a perfect match for the opportunities at Staples, primarily around using big data to develop a personalized shopping experience , and developing innovative global services,” Mr. Masud said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York