Staples Case Study

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Staples Inc.

The idea of Staples started off with a very easy problem to fix. Thomas Stemberg was trying to print off a business plan when his printer ribbon all of a sudden broke on the Fourth of July holiday (About Staples). " It was the Fourth of July weekend, 1985, and Tom's regular supplier, a local stationery store, was closed for the holiday" (About Staples). After driving around for hours trying to find a store that carried his printer ribbon and trying to find a store that was open Stemberg knew he could create something big. Thomas Stemberg was an expert in the supermarket industry before being fired from his executive position in 1985. After being fired Stemberg searched for a new market to indulge in. Stemberg then initiated the idea of a store that would sell office supplies to smaller businesses. Stemberg wanted to provide everything a small business would need with the ease of convenience and low prices. Stemberg found out threw customer research, that most small business owners didn't keep track of how much they spend on office supplies for their business. Stemberg found that small businesses were paying "40% more then large corporations" were on office supplies (Bowman, 2001). To try and spread this message to the general public Stemberg knew that he would have to invest in marketing. Staples official opened its first store in Brighton, Massachusetts in 1986. Staples has more then "1,700 stores in the US, Canada, and five other countries" (Bramhall). Staples has been expanding very rapidly by either building new staples stores or accruing stores by buying them out. Staples has stores in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, China, United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria, US, and Canada (Bramhall). Staples employed 65,078 employees in 2005 (Bramhall). Staples is projected to make 16 billion dollars in sales in 2006 (Bramhall). In the future Staples has plans on to expanding further into more of Europe, and Asia. They want to expand more in China but are waiting to buyout and acquire larger office supply stores. Their goal is to have continued growth in the offices supply industry.

Staples mission statement is to, "develop and implement Supply Chain Management practices that create a sustainable competitive advantage and position Staples as the leader in all business sectors in which we compete" (About Staples).

Staples has had a few different slogans to help its marketing strategies. Its first slogan was "Yeah, we've go that" (Encyclopedia). That slogan has scents been retired and they have adopted a new slogan scents. The new slogan is "That was easy" (Encyclopedia). With that slogan Staples has made television commercials that are every eye catching. They use a large red push button that has the word "easy" written on it.

Staples old marketing strategy was to have low prices and variety. They figured that customers only cared about how much an item cost and, if there was a variety of the product. With the emergence of many competitors their strategies had to soon shift. Their strategies changed from low price and variety of product to help full customer service and a faster occurrence.

Staples did a lot of research to find out what the customers wanted in their stores. Staples was amazed to find out that price was not one of the top ten concerns that customers had. The customers wanted all of the shelves to be stocked with all the basic supplies. They didn't want the store to be "out of stock of most commonly used supplies," (Bramhall). The customers also wanted useful sales employees. They wanted employees to help them out if they had a question or concern about something they did not understand. The customers also wanted to be able to find the supply they were looking for fast and easy. They didn't want to be in the store for a long period of time trying to find one item that they needed.

Staples believe that their main reason for being successful is because they...
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