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Staples’ Easy Button Now Really Works Thanks To Watson

Small-biz owners can now order supplies via text-to-speech

Watch out Amazon Dash: You’re not the only button in town anymore.

Geared toward small-business owners, Staples unveiled one of its signature red Easy Buttons with built-in IBM Watson technology. The device will not only lets the chain’s Business Advantage customers order products with just a click, but it also features speech-to-text capability so they can view and playback all requests made for further verification.

Staples is also using Watson technology across its entire Easy ordering ecosystem, enabling participants to track shipments and chat about customer-service needs. The system will now be able to learn preferences over time, such preferred products and quantities, and make recommendations. The IBM Watson Conversation service, meanwhile, will be able to respond to such common requests as checking product availability.

If the Easy System detects a button is not online, it will email the customer to notify them, said the retailer.

Faisal Masud, Staples e-commerce and customer experience executive VP, called it “the assistant’s assistant.”

An alpha test is being rolled out to Staples Business Advantage customers in Austin, Texas, and a beta test will follow by the end of the year to 100 more customers in Austin and New York. The chain said it is looking into such future Watson-enabled tasks as flight booking, ordering flowers, making dinner reservations or ordering toner when a printer is low.