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Staples to Enhance e-Commerce Platform

Zacks Equity Research

The leading office products retailer, Staples, Inc. (SPLS) is going to unveil a new e-Commerce Development Center in Seattle, Wash, thereby boosting its position in e-retailing. This will mark the company’s first office on the West Coast.

Staples is dedicating this Development Center to enhance e-Commerce and engineering facilities, primarily to focus on specific areas like next generation digital platforms, personalization and big-data.

Seattle is a technological hub similar to Silicon Valley. With Staples revolutionizing online shopping, opening a center at Seattle will help it tap capable professionals. The company is looking forward to build massive integrated and collaborative teams to make the shopping experience a convenient one.

As part of this goal, Staples launched its first omni-channel store in June this year. Simply put, through this omni-channel strategy, Staples hopes to fuse its retail network with enhanced digital capabilities, where customer has a freedom to shop anywhere and anytime from hand held devices, desktops and stores. The company had earlier stated that its Norwood, MA and Dover, DE stores will incorporate its .com and mobile assets. Alongside, the stores will feature Staples.com kiosks.  

This new era store concept, with all its attractions, could well prove to be a game changer for Staples in the long run. Providing customers the option of shopping on their own terms and enriching their in-store shopping experience could be an important differentiating factor for Staples.

Earlier, in 2012, Staples had launched its new Velocity Lab, situated in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. The Velocity Lab was the company’s first satellite office, opened entirely to promote innovation among e-Commerce and engineering teams.
The opening of the latest Development Center will prove to be beneficial for both consumers as well as Staples. Consumers would gain from an enhanced shopping experience whereas for the company, it would lead to top-line growth.  

In order to capitalize on the evolving retail industry, department store operator Macy's, Inc. (M) also adopted an omni-channel strategy. Despite macroeconomic challenges and cautious consumer spending, Macy’s continues to post healthy results. Management attributes this largely to its omni-channel strategy aimed at enhancing customers’ shopping experience.

Currently, Staples carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Other well performing stocks in the retails sector include Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc. (LL) and Kirkland's Inc. (KIRK). Both these carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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