Cover Story: Taking Care of Business
While most Americans are likely very familiar with Staples, the largest office supplies retailer in the U.S., they may not be as aware of Staples Business Delivery (SBD), a growing division within the Framingham, Mass.-based retailer's operations.
SBD is a unified selling channel that combines Staples.com and Staples' catalog business. Its main focus is to serve consumers who want to order office products, supplies and services from their home or business at their own convenience.
An important part of Staples' overall business, SBD accounts for roughly 25 percent of the brand's sales via call centers and its website. What's more, according to Staples most recently published earnings numbers, 2010 second quarter sales for the North American Delivery division (which includes SBD, Staples Advantage and Quill Corp.) were $2.4 billion, a 2 percent increase compared to the second quarter of 2009. In today's retail environment, a 2 percent increase is a leap.
Staples.com, from which 80 percent of SBD's sales come from, is vital to SBD's success. The award-winning e–commerce site features 30,000 products ranging from basic office supplies to the latest business technologies. It also offers tools that make it easier for small to medium-sized business customers to shop. Customers, for instance, can create "Favorites Lists," which list certain products they're interested in, or use "Easy Reorder," which provides a customer's purchase history so they can easily reorder. Both tools allow SBD's customers to buy with just a click of their mouse.
SBD's intense focus on its customers is how it differentiates itself from its competitors, says Anabela Perozek, SBD's vice president of marketing for business delivery.
"When you go on our website, we're all about small businesses," Perozek says. "[Visitors] are not distracted by apparel or all the random stuff that might show up on other websites."