Staples to launch tablet-optimized e-commerce site

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Office supply retailer Staples is launching a new e-commerce site that optimizes specifically for shopping on tablet computers.

Beginning early next week, tablet users who access Staples.com will be automatically redirected to the new tablet-optimized site, which will have the domain name t.staples.com.

“At Staples, we are all about making shopping easier for our small business customers,” said Brian Tilzer, VP of e-commerce and business development at Staples.com. “Mobile is really a game-changer and it gives us the opportunity to fundamentally make shopping easier.”

The tablet site is designed for interactions on a touchscreen. Users can touch products to put them in their carts, and not much typing is required for shoppers on the site. It mixes the experience of Staples' desktop site with the experience of its mobile site, and is designed for making shopping simpler and easier with less clicks than online. “Tablets are a whole new frontier,” Tilzer said. “On the one hand, they are part PCs and are really capable and will allow customers to purchase. But on the other hand, they are portable.”

Prat Vemana, director of mobile strategy at Staples, said that rather than build an app for one device, the site is optimized for both Android and iOS devices, which will reach more people. “It is optimized to different-sized devices and screens, so it gives us a breadth of devices to go after,” said Vemana.

The site is also designed to help address certain customer pain points, said Tilzer. For example, a customer can save their loyalty account details to their tablet. “When you go to the store, you may not necessarily remember what kind of printer and toner cartridge you have,” he added. “You can save these details to your log-in on the tablet site and access these details more easily.”

Last week, Staples announced that the company is opening an e-commerce innovation center. The center, which launches in May, will house teams responsible for designing and implementing innovative new e-commerce solutions for the millions of business customers who shop Staples websites and stores. Tilzer said that while the tablet site is launching a few months earlier, it's an example of the type of innovation aimed at improving the Staples shopping experience customers can expect to come out of the new center.


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