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Staples looks to revamp in-store experience with new omnichannel approach

The stores, located in Norwood, MA, and Dover, DE, incorporate, as well as the company’s mobile assets into the retail experience. Through this, consumers can shop however they want.

“This is just the beginning for us,” said Mark Cautela, spokesman for Staples, Framingham MA. “We’ve opened the two omnichannel stores recently, but customers will see many of these omnichannel features across our network.

“These include shop online, pick up in store; omnichhannel kiosks that give access to our expanded assortment; and our product-related services, Copy and Print and EasyTech,” he said.

Interactive experience
The omnichannel stores feature several new kiosks, which provide customers with access to an array of items.

Through the kiosks, consumers can select from more than 100,000 items, including the latest tech products, furniture, school supplies and cleaning and breakroom items.

When consumers are done shopping, they can either complete their transactions at the kiosk or the store register.

The omnichannel locations include a business lounge that combines digital interactions with the store experience.

Consumers also have the ability to reserve online and pick-up in-store.

Additionally, the omnichannel touch screen stations within the stores provide an endless aisle experience.

According to the retailer, it is still in the early innings of this new initiative.

However, Staples believes that this latest effort will help improve its in-store conversion rate.

“In terms of getting the word out, we’ll be using traditional marketing vehicles, like PR and social and in-store – the kiosks are all called out prominently with signage,” Mr. Cautela said.

“There are also some overhead LCD screens talking about highlights of the new store format,” he said.

Mobile evolution
This latest effort from Staples is just one of the ways the company is ramping up its mobile commerce initiatives.

Last year, the company enticed mobile users to start their Black Friday shopping early with mobile-only deals that began on Thanksgiving Day (see story).

Later that year, Staples opened an innovation lab to expedite the delivery of  mobile and online solutions designed to enhance the shopping experience (see story).

Most recently, Staples built up its mobile commerce portfolio with the addition of a new Windows 8 application that gives consumers access to their Staples Rewards and lets them shop for products for their business or home office (see story).

“Mobile is very important to the overall initiative. Included in this new store format is an in-store tablet app for associates that lets them compare products, check inventory and check a customer’s order history,” Mr. Cautela said.

“Our smartphone app for customers also has a store locator and store check-in feature,” he said. “So mobile is still a big part of our omnichannel store experience.”