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Staples targets small business owners via support app

Staples is kicking off the New Year by marketing heavily to small companies leveraging the retailer’s new Quick Wins application, which offers access to on-the-go community support and business-specific ideas.

The marketer is introducing its Quick Wins app to provide small business owners with a singular location containing slew of mobile-accessible features, such as important metrics including Twitter and Facebook engagement, financial tools and community support. While the focus is on doling out intangible help to company employees, Quick Wins app users will be likely to shop at Staples for their next round of office supplies ordering, as a thank-you for the brand’s complimentary help.

“We think small business owners will love the convenience of being able to track their business results and get business ideas all from one easy source they already have with them all the time!” said Alison Corcoran, senior vice president of North American stores and online marketing at Staples, Framingham, MA. “They can also access their peers to get real advice and continue their momentum.

“We know this is an unmet need for small business owners,” she said. “A recent survey we conducted shows 66 percent of small business leaders are interested in an app that provides personalized ideas to grow your business, 64 percent are interested in an app with an easy to access dashboard of key metrics and 62 percent are interested in an app that provides a community of peers to exchange advice and suggestions.”

Targeting important consumers
Staples realizes that a large portion of its primary customer base consists of small businesses purchasing office supplies. While the retailer does experience one of its most sales-heavy seasons when back-to-school time rolls around in late summer, the importance of targeting small companies year-round cannot be understated.

This prompted Staples to develop the Quick Wins app, which aims to help these businesses flourish and succeed in 2016. The brand’s research has shown that 72 percent of small businesses are looking for assistance in managing their metrics, while two in five are unsure which metrics they should be leveraging to grow their commerce initiatives.

Employees who download the Quick Wins app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, will be able to sync their businesses’ metrics to provide for easy monitoring. These metrics include measuring site traffic, Twitter and Facebook engagement and financial tools such as QuickBooks and Google Analytics.

The app will aggregate important marketing, sales and Web site information, which users can track daily and weekly. Metrics for Instagram and MailChimp are expected to be added at a later time.

Additionally, small business owners and associates can use Quick Wins to access or suggest company-specific ideas to bolster growth and sales. Staples’ customers will be able to participate in a mobile community of peers, in which they may pose questions and lend support with ideas, which could be the very catalyst a company needs to jumpstart a new sales tactic.

Users may also find it easier to track sales goals if the numbers are easily located on a smartphone.

“Connecting with customers through mobile is the cornerstone of a truly omnichannel experience,” Ms. Corcoran said. “Our customers use their mobile devices as an extension of their business.

“We designed the Quick Wins app to make it easy for small businesses to access important metrics whenever they want, wherever they are. A recent survey we conducted showed 65 percent of small business leaders already use at least one mobile app for their business.”

Offering customer value
Staples is setting itself up well for a fruitful first quarter in terms of sales. The Quick Wins app release will likely place the retailer in many businesses’ favor, keeping it front-of-mind when the time comes to order new office supplies.

Staples placed a heavy focus on mobile strategy in 2015 as well, tapping into advertising on smartphones alongside optimizing more content for personal devices.

Hoping to gain a better understanding of mobile advertising’s impact on sales, Staples delivered a one-two punch of interactive brand-focused ads followed by direct response messaging this past October, driving a four-times higher return on investment compared to an interactive ad alone (see story).

Meanwhile, over the summer, Staples revamped its online storefronts to provide a stronger focus on tablet optimization, product recommendations and personalization features as company-owned tablet usage continues to rise (see story).

“Even for small businesses, the New Year means new beginnings,” Ms. Corcoran said. “Our small business customers are setting their business plans for the year at this time.

“The Quick Wins app helps small businesses grow their metrics and is perfect for small businesses to start the New Year off on the right track.”