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TECHNOLOGY

Office supply giant optimizes pricing

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Staples Australia and New Zealand is refreshing its pricing strategy.

Staples Australia and New Zealand completes more than 80,000 deliveries daily for consumers and small businesses under 20 employees. However, the chain relied on a legacy-based monitoring tool to establish pricing metrics. To remain competitive in an increasingly omnichannel landscape — especially among business customers — the company was ready to revamp its pricing efforts.

The chain’s head of pricing Charnine Short, who was recently Staples' European pricing manager for B2B, re-evaluated the company's competitive insights and prepared to refresh the chain’s pricing strategy. By partnering with Revionics, the chain created a customer-centric rules-based pricing program.

"With Revionics' real-time online competitive price monitoring and its automated rules-based price capabilities, we can offer small businesses throughout Australia the assurance that they are receiving the best price available, 24/7," said Short. "We want to leverage Revionics' capabilities to drive market growth in our B2C channel, create market-relevant pricing for our B2B non-contract business, and design more targeted promotional pricing.”

Based on early results, Revionics has yielded a 20% higher match rate than the legacy system with more accurate competitive matching, as well. In addition, Staples Australia and New Zealand values the Revionics' team's responsiveness, and ability to execute on their rapid implementation timeline, according to the chain.

This division operates separately from Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples. In March, the office supply retailer entered an agreement to sell its Australia- and New Zealand-based operations to private equity firm Platinum Equity. The transaction is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2017.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon gives an entire town free Prime membership

BY Marianne Wilson

Talk about a clever self-promotion.

Amazon is celebrating the streaming debut of its award-winning movie “Manchester by the Sea” by giving every single home in the small Massachusetts town that provided its setting with a year’s free subscription to Amazon Prime. And as an added bonus, the company is throwing in a three-pack of Wickedly Prime popcorn.

In a press release, Amazon said it is sending a gift box to every home in Manchester-by-the Sea this week. Customers will receive a code to claim their one-year Prime membership and popcorn. The film was produced by Amazon Studios.

“Oscar winning ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is coming to Prime Video on May 5, and we wanted customers in the town to enjoy popcorn and a movie on us,” said Greg Hart, VP of Amazon Video, worldwide. “’Manchester by the Sea’ is a masterpiece representing the best of cinematic storytelling. In other words, it is wicked awesome.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Canada’s Kit and Ace to close U.S. stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Kit and Ace, the company founded by the family of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, is pulling back on brick-and-mortar outside of its home base to focus online.

The upscale athleisure retailer announced it is “simplifying” its business plan and operations, reducing head office staff and closing its 32 locations in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. Kit and Ace said it is shifting focus to its “solid” Canadian showrooms and global e-commerce platform.

"We recognize the traditional world of bricks and mortar retailing is changing, which is why we're shifting strategies," said Chip Wilson, founder of Hold It All Inc., the Vancouver-based holding company which owns Kit and Ace. "We believe in the business model for Kit and Ace. Going forward, we will be a stronger company."

As for the staff reductions, Wilson noted that “fewer stores require fewer people.” Kit and Ave has nine locations in Canada.

“We remain deeply grateful for the creativity and commitment of those leaving the company and thank them for their valuable contribution,” he said.

Kit and Ace opened its first store, in Vancouver, in summer 2014, and quickly expanded to some 50 locations in just about two years.

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