OPERATIONS

Staples opens Velocity Lab to boost online growth

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Framingham, Mass. — Staples Inc. opened its new Velocity Lab, in Cambridge, Mass. The lab houses teams responsible for designing and implementing innovative new e-commerce and mobile solutions across Staples’ global business units.

The move is part of the office supply retailer’s recently announced strategic plan to accelerate growth by integrating its retail and online offerings and increasing investment in online and mobile capabilities to provide business customers with a seamless multichannel shopping experience.

“Staples is investing to provide a superior multichannel shopping experience through the use of our websites, mobile assets and stores,” said Brian Tilzer, Staples senior VP global eCommerce. “The Staples Velocity Lab is vital to the development of our e-commerce assets, as it provides a space to allow our teams to think creatively, enhancing our mobile commerce, social media and online offerings.”

Staples said it is looking to triple the size of its e-commerce and IT staff by 2014 and is adding product management, usability and creative positions as it continues to invest in the multichannel customer experience across mobile devices, desktops and stores.

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OPERATIONS

Staples president and COO resigns

BY Staff Writer

Framingham, Mass. — Staples Inc. announced Monday that its president and COO Michael Miles has left the company, effective Feb. 2.

Miles has accepted a position with Boston-based investment firm Berkshire Partners.

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OPERATIONS

Study: Walmart and Best Buy lead for retail stores used for ‘showrooming’

BY Marianne Wilson

Toronto — As consumers continue to seek more convenient methods of shopping, through mobile and online, the potential for further sales erosion continues to threaten retailers, according to a new study by branding and design firm Shikatani Lacroix.

The report, “RE:STORE – Redefining Retail,” finds that 59% of U.S. shoppers “showroom” – or browse for products in store but then buy them online.

Walmart and Best Buy lead for retail stores used for “showrooming,” whereas Amazon.com dominates in online purchases. One-quarter of U.S. consumers who shop online rarely or never buy from a traditional retailer’s website – 45% of them are shopping at Amazon.com. This amounts to a potential retail sales leakage of about 15% (to as high as 42%) of all U.S. browsers going to an online retailer.

“This behavior spells trouble for a number of traditional retailers who will experience significant sales leakage if they don’t stem the flow of lost potential revenue to online retailers,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, president of Shikatani Lacroix.

Conducted by Hotspex, a research leader in emotional and behavioral science, the study also examines the emotional attributes consumers experience while shopping online versus shopping in store, and based on those emotions determines a relationship index of retailers – from highest emotional connection to most vulnerable to sales erosion.

At the top of the list is Amazon, which has the highest overall relationship index of all retailers. The brand elicits strong emotional response in the areas of trust and success, and has very strong satisfaction ratings. Walmart, on the other hand, has a much lower emotional valence. While its online relationship score is high in the mass merchandise category, its in-store experience significantly lags. Walmart’s retail personality is considered boring.

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