Staples Prioritizes Innovation

By Jamie Grill-Goodman — January 11, 2017

Staples is "prioritizing innovation as a key catalyst to further differentiate Staples from the competition," according to CEO Shira Goodman.

The company began alpha testing of its Easy System during its third quarter 2016 with a handful of contract customers and plans to do a broader beta test to more than a 100 customers by year-end.

Staples’ Easy System is an example of applying technology to drive innovation for a truly easy customer experience.

"Our new voice-enabled Easy Button reordering system integrates IBM Watson’s cognitive platform to simplify office product management for our SBA (Staples Business Advantage) customers," said Goodman. "The Easy Button will enable customers to quickly reorder supplies, track shipments or chat about their needs."

Staples was the only retailer to keynote at the World of Watson conference.
The office supplies retailer's co-working offering with Workbar is another example of innovation, in order to drive customer traffic and utilize excess space in retail stores. During the third quarter 2016, Staples opened collaborative working spaces in three stores in the Boston area. Each location provides small companies and entrepreneurs with the creative space, offices centrals, nourishments, and support to run their business or launch new ideas.

Staples also recently appointed Faisal Masud to the newly created role of Chief Technology Officer. He had previously served as Executive Vice President of Global E-Commerce since joining the company in May, 2013. In his new role, Masud will be responsible for both e-commerce and global technology.

“Today’s digital leader must create a unified digital strategy, realize synergies, and decide on the right investments, all while developing the appropriate technology platform to support innovation, responsibilities which traditionally have fallen to multiple positions,” said Masud. “As Staples evolves its technology infrastructure it’s critical for the organization to think digital and mobile first, and combining product management with technology will drive change from one consolidated CTO lens.”

To learn more on how Staples used cognitive technology to create a digital "Easy Button," to enable business customers to order supplies in natural language using the IBM Watson platform, be sure to attend the "Exhibitor Insights: Staples Modernizes 'Easy Button' Into Cognitive Ordering Ecosystem" session. The session will be held on Tuesday, January 17, 12:45–1:15 pm in the Jacob Javits Center’s EXPO Hall, Room 3, Level 3.
 
For more information on the 2017 Big Show check out RIS News’ preview guide here.

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