Staples: True Marginalization

First off: Happy Easter, Patriots day, marathon day and now Boston Strong Day!  I have to say how glad i am no one got to trademark Boston Strong and that this was true charity.  Too many folks trying to cash in on every event and online fundraising t-shirt programs now.

So, i needed to pick up an iPad cover and headed for Staples this morning in Acton (3 miles from our shop).  I was surprised there was not a larger selection and how EXPENSIVE iPad covers have gotten!  Wow. $79+ for a cover.  that’s a lot.  Luckily i found the last cheap one in the store ($15) and headed for checkout.  That’s when i noticed the schwag display in the copy center (do people still use the copy center?).  I went over to take the picture below of the display while a patron wondered what i was doing. It was basically a display with flyers on an embroidered hat, shirt, a printed mug and mousepad all with an example logo stitched or screen printed.  I thought of the old Awards.com deal with Staples when they put promo product kiosks in Staples.  Unfortunately, it seems the management at Staples forgot about how poorly that performed and the huge lawsuit Awards.com filed after Staples cancelled the arrangement.  Anyway, it was fun to see and hoped it would inspire customers to purchase promotional products at some point in the future. 

The next stop really threw me for a loop.  I went to the checkout counter and found Pop Tarts for sale!  This isn’t your average impulse buy like a soda or candy bar!  They were full boxes of Pop Tarts like you’d find at the grocery store.  You’re not going to eat these in the car on your way back to work.  I immediately looked over to see if they had converted the Tech desk to a salad bar!  That may be next because its a great idea and the Tech guys at that desk are useless.  I avoided buying a remote drive so i didn’t have to go to the Tech desk and ask for it.  I’d be pitched a service plan for $50 when the drive was $69 and USB cables they’d convince me weren’t the ones i already had piled up in an office drawer.

The point is, Staples has completely lost its identity and marginalized their brand.  I don’t fault them for trying to find other products they can fight Amazon.com and NewEgg.com with but they lose becoming experts in anything.  I seriously think they should take the paper clip out of their logo and replace it with a similarly looking food item and completely switch to a grocery/convenience store that provides all of your “staples”.  You need pads of paper, desk chairs and Pop Tarts.  Why not embrace this and become an ‘everything’ store.  Forget about being an office supply company and become a life supply company.  With more and more folks working from home, this isn’t crazy or me being sarcastic.  Walmart is selling groceries and so is target.  Go head first into a change…..going slowly just marginalizes your brand

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