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Staples repositions mobile sales strategy with same-day delivery rollout

Staples is bringing a stronger omnichannel focus to its commerce strategy by fulfilling consumers’ get-it-now demands with the new Staples Rush service, which enables customers to purchase items from the retailer’s mobile-optimized site and receive same-day delivery.

The office supplies retailer is rolling out Staples Rush to areas of Manhattan, Boston and Dallas, with other metropolitan regions set to soon follow. Staples’ decision to enable same-day delivery options on its mobile and desktop sites indicates its desire to compete with omnichannel behemoths such as Amazon, while its brand-new Snapchat account may also plant a seed of purchasing inspiration in consumers’ minds.

“Snapchat’s model for inviting brands to engage consumers on the social network has its benefits and challenges,” said Shuli Lowy, director of customer success, Americas at TVTY/The Moment Marketing Company. “The key benefit is that it allows brands to reach an active audience through highly engaging experiences.

“Since there are relatively few companies with active Snapchat accounts, it becomes easier for those that are on Snapchat to build market share and achieve relatively low distribution costs,” she said. “The new push is a great way for Staples to interact with customers who are active social media users.”

Taking Amazon head-on
Staples’ new delivery service may help the retailer compete with the king of omnichannel commerce, Amazon, as well as brands in its industry that have already ramped up their delivery service options. Now, Staples customers placing their orders by 3 p.m. local time Monday through Friday on its mobile or online site will be able to select same-day delivery during the checkout process.

This will enable them to receive their purchased products by 7 p.m. that day, for an initial fee of $14.99. Consumers in Boston, Dallas and Manhattan can use the service now, while those in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston and Los Angeles will be able to take advantage of it soon.

Staples is planning to steadily add other services to Staples Rush, including Copy & Print. Additionally, Staples Rush is expected to roll out to Staples Business Advantage’ contract customers, a move that could fuel sales within its business-to-business division.

Introducing this option for everyday customers as well as business owners is a smart move for Staples, a brand that has been bolstering its omnichannel sales efforts with increased fervor as of late.

The office supplies marketer has found that businesses want their online orders fulfilled faster than ever, per Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global ecommerce at Staples. The company already introduced a buy online, pick up in store option several months ago.

Staples plans to leverage its own fleet of delivery vehicles in most markets.

The same-day delivery rollout arrives on the heels of the brand’s fruitful first quarter in mobile commerce this year.

Several weeks ago, Staples fueled mobile sales by updating its application to include sneak peeks of weekly advertisements and push notifications to alert users when loyalty rewards become available (see story).

Additionally, the 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).

Serving up Snapchat
In another reflection of Staples’ continued mobile efforts, the brand introduced its first Snapchat account earlier this week, which was commemorated with a DIY tutorial for a sponge toss.

It will continue posting various summer activity hacks – all of which can be completed with its products – on Snapchat.

“The playful formats of Snapchat’s content means that brands need to invest a lot more in content creation,” Ms. Lowy said. “Snapchat content is typically created uniquely for Snapchat and brands have little hope of repurposing that content elsewhere.

“The practical implications of this barrier to entry means that it is usually only larger brands that leverage Snapchat accounts to interact with their customer base.”