I'd like to review what some of the big retailers (like Staples, Best Buy, Walgreens, Penneys) are doing about eCommerce Online Retail Competition in general, and Amazon, in particular, as they attach their futures to the burgeoning eCommerce bandwagon. Staples seeks to "reinvent" itself. Purportedly the second largest internet retailer (trailing Amazon by a margin of a mere $40 billion), Staples is proceeding with plans to close some stores in the United States and abroad, shrink the size of other retail locations, restructure the company's leadership, and focus more of its business to the web. Staples is also establishing a new West Coast development Center meant to focus the company’s efforts on engineering and eCommerce improvements.
Staples cut its sales and earnings outlook when revenue in the second quarter declined 2 percent, to $5.3 billion, compared with the same period last year, most likely due to the effects of a bad economy resulting in less growth of businesses, and existing businesses buying fewer office supplies.
In Staples' new dedication to eCommerce (and the ever-present pressure to turn a profit), Staples expects by 2015 to blend in-store, online, and mobile commerce by cutting physical retail space by 15 percent and revamping some locations to make them much more eCommerce capable and friendly. To facilitate these moves, Staples eliminated a number of US jobs (most of them leadership positions) at the company’s Framingham, Massachusetts's headquarters.
As the office supply chain continues to reinvent itself to take more business online, Staples is creating more positions in software development, product management and usability, analytics and online merchandising to "build integrated, collaborative teams with the goal of making the shopping experience easy.”
Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line
It's all about profits and pricing and assortment intelligence powered by technology -- married with the interconnected multichannel world of the consumer. In a move to change the way customers shop online, as well as change the way it deals with customers, Staples' global and eCommerce engineering VPs say, “We will continue to aggressively manage our expenses and evolve our organization to support our reinvention."
Sources: Integrated Solutions for Retailers, Staples Is Putting Its Money Where Its Mouth Is For E-Commerce; and Boston Globe.