Ever since its last, best hope for survival in the consumer arena — a merger with Office Depot — was dashed by federal regulators, Staples has turned its attention to the commercial channel.
Now, after its parent company, private equity firm Sycamore Partners, beefed up Staples’ B-to-B arsenal last year with the buyouts of HiTouch Business Services, a workspace product and services supplier, and Essendant, a $5 billion distributor of office furniture and breakroom supplies, the No. 1 office-supply chain is ready to formally augment its retail roots.
This week Staples announced the re-emergence of its commercial wing as a “digital and delivery brand” serving large and small commercial customers, and the business as a whole as “The Worklife Fulfillment Company.” The reinvention includes a new logo, five new private-label product lines, a forthcoming website redesign, an online “product solutions guide,” and new pages on social media using the hashtag #WorklifeSolutions.
The new strategy is driven by the company’s commitment “to helping professionals make their workplaces more productive and connected,” Staples said, “and to provide products and services designed to help inspire colleagues to do their best, most creative work.”
Plans for re-tooling its traditional retail business will be introduced “in the future,” the company said.
“Today’s workplace is evolving and so is Staples,” stated chief marketing officer Marshall Warkentin. “Our new logo is symbolic of the commitment we are making to our customers: they are innovative, forward-thinking problem-solvers, and it’s important for them to know that we are, too.”
The updated logo features a more recognizable staple design, while the private-label brands include Tru Red (pens, notebooks and other office-supply basics); NXT Technologies (surge protectors, wireless chargers and other tech accessories); Coastwide Professional (custom-spec’ced facility supplies); Union & Scale (furniture and office decor collections); and the forthcoming Perk (breakroom supplies).
Tru Red and NXT Technologies products will be sold in Staples stores beginning April 14, with additional brands to follow.
The website redesign will “connect customers to products and solutions in a variety of ways,” Staples said, “from intelligent content and peer recommendations, to intuitive shopping and buying tools.”
“Our customers have a passion for making their workplace the best it can be,” added CEO Sandy Douglas. “At Staples, we share that passion.”