Staples Debuts Online Advice, Services for Small Businesses

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Staples.com yesterday opened three online service centers designed to help small businesses with their printing, marketing and overall Internet operations.


The online unit of the office supplies retailer will provide free content and advice at the centers and will offer outsourcing services. Visitors to Staples.com can access the solution centers by entering the Business Services section on the site.


The Business Printing Center is touted as a way for small businesses to save time and money on ordering business cards, letterhead and promotional items for campaigns.


The Web Center aims to help companies move their business online or upgrade their Web sites by providing outsourced hosting services and do-it-yourself solutions, the company said.


The Marketing Center is designed to assist small-business marketers by offering services from affiliate companies and direct mail tips.


"A lot of our customers are small businesses that don't have extensive marketing departments or resources," said Debby Hohler, spokeswoman for Staples.com, Framingham, MA. "So we're looking to supplement their resources by giving them a tool that allows them to do everything from direct mail to order premium items online."


The Staples.com editorial team will provide most of the content for the site, Hohler said.


Staples.com plans to promote the centers through its monthly e-mail newsletter, Hohler said. Though she would not share the number of people on the e-mail list, she did say that Staples has more than 1 million registered online customers.


In addition, Staples plans to promote the centers through in-store kiosks at its 970 national locations.


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