Big announcement this week
“Staples to Close 225 Stores”. Lots of hand wringing about jobs, economic indicators and a changing business landscape. Ron Sargent, CEO, spoke about “reinventing” Staples. Nice to see a business leader talk about change in the face of what are pretty good business metics. Staples is actually doing well and has been doing so for quite some time.
I first met them in the mid 80’s when they (ex grocery store and Harvard educated peeps) were inventing a new distribution model for what was then a 125 year old office products industry. There were 11 office superstore chains growing like weeds once people got wind of what Staples was doing. One exec. (from another new start-up) told an office products manufacture’s meeting, “We were looking to invest in an industry where the traditional distribution channels were raping, pillaging and plundering the consumer.” You could have heard a pin drop in that conference room! Fast forward to 2014. There are only two office superstores left, Staples and Office Depot Max. Phew, what a ride. Adapt or die.
So What’s Most Important?
In all the talk about changing customer buying habits and technology driving less need for pens and paper, what was the MOST important fact to come out of the CEO interview? 50% of Staples’ business comes from online sales. It’s where the money is. Is it the only place? No, but this is a huge deal. Stores, catalogs and traditional tactics still matter and will continue to do so in this business but Staples is looking out the bow not lamenting the view from the stern.
Check out the Staples website. Clear, well organized and designed around what’s meaningful to their customers. Not perfect but they’re on it. (a site is never “done”) If one’s getting 50% of their business online then their online presence better be good. No, not good, EXCELLENT. I loved Staples brand strategy developed a few years ago. EASY. Remember the plastic talking EASY button they mailed to everyone? There’s no visual mention of their “Easy” on their site now. (may want to rethink that) but when you are selling products available virtually everywhere, what makes you win business? You make it so damn easy for me to do business with you that I just don’t bother going anywhere else. Think Amazon. And if your customers want to shop on line (and they do) please for the love of …. give them a site that makes it EASY for them to send you their $$.
Make Your Ecommerce Easy!
Your customers move fast and are demanding. Consumer products or B2B service, it doesn’t matter. Be where they want to be with what they want and MAKE YOUR ECOMMERCE EASY. It’s NOT about you it’s about them. Make your website easy to find, easy to navigate, easy to inform, and most importantly, easy to pay. If you waste my time, I’m gone.
Do you enjoy shopping on your company’s website? Get your C-Levels out of their analyst conference calls and have them spend ONE minute trying to purchase your product or service on line. One minute is actually way more time than your potential customers are going to give you. May find some website strategy meetings on the following week’s agenda.
Bow or stern view? Up to you. Call us 603-924-1978 or contact. We can make your ecommerce easy.