By Mario Toneguzzi
Staples Canada has launched an innovative new retail concept in Quebec that could revolutionize the brand as well as create community engagement.
The first new concept store has opened in Kirkland, Quebec and the banner name in that province for Staples stores is Bureau en Gros.
David Boone, CEO of Staples Canada, said the company intends to roll out the concept to other stores across Canada with another one opening in downtown Toronto in early January that will offer a co-working space called Staples Studio.
Boone said Staples has been known for decades as an office supply warehouse but it now is embarking on new territory as the Working and Learning Company.
"The way people work and live is changing in profound ways and Staples Canada is adapting to help our customers work, learn and grow," said Boone. "We spoke to thousands of entrepreneurs, teachers, students and parents to gain insights on what we could do to better suit their needs, and we're delivering a solution unique to Canada. Every decision we make is driven by thinking differently about the needs of our customers."
“We are undergoing a transformation of Staples Canada in what could be described an office supplies retailer to a new position as a working and learning company. What’s come out of that is a whole bunch of research in how people’s lives are changing in our core community - entrepreneurs, businesses, teachers, parents and students. And ensuring that we are relevant for the decades to come.”
Staples Canada has 305 stores across Canada.
Boone said the two new stores are modern with clear sightlines. Vignettes and feature tables showcase product solutions for different types of work environments. Customers are encouraged to interact with discovery areas to test and learn curated product solutions.
Staples Canada said highlights of the initiative include:
New brand identity – The Working and Learning Company is the lens that drives every decision Staples Canada makes. This change is reflected in a new, refreshed logo which reflects the collaboration between customers, and store associates across the country;
Discovery experience – Customers will be able to get hands-on with the products they need in store, including new Pen and Journal Bars, and Tech Discovery Zone;
Spotlight – A new space has been created for community members, entrepreneurs, educators and students to meet, share ideas and learn through Staples Canada's weekly Spotlight Speaker Series;
New design-focused products – Thousands of new products have been introduced both in stores and online to inspire working and learning;
Technology and connectivity – As one of the largest technology retailers in the country, Staples Canada carries every major technology brand, organized by category, with experts on hand to help customers connect their homes and offices;
Expanded services – The company is relaunching and taking its services business to the next level as the Solution Shop, which will provide the support Staples Canada is known for along with new, relevant categories, such as digital marketing services;
Omnichannel – The new Staples Canada exists in store and online to inspire and support Canadians from coast-to-coast, with the ability to deliver to 85 per cent of customers the next day with a dedicated fleet and minimal, or no, shipping fees; and
Staples Studio, a new co-working space – Beginning in Toronto, Staples Canada is introducing co-working within its University Avenue store, providing entrepreneurs and businesses with all the space and resources they could ever need at their fingertips, including the newest Mos Mos café location.
The 20,000-square-foot Kirkland store is a brand new store that the company built and it replaces a store that was about three kilometres away in Pointe Claire. The store in Toronto is currently under renovations. The Toronto store is an expansion of the concept that Staples launched in Kirkland.
“As the world becomes more connected and technology plays a bigger role in everybody’s lives, as the second largest retailer of technology in Canada, we believe there’s an opportunity for us,” said Boone.
The Spotlight Speaker Series will feature Innovative product demonstrations, entrepreneurial networking events and weekly speakers.
What are the plans for the company moving forward?
“Really, three-fold. One is you’re going to see us evolve our digital assets in our digital experience along the same line as the retail physical concept. We’re a pretty large e-commerce retailer in Canada. One of the biggest actually. So we’re going to take this digitally next,” said Boone.
“You will also see us bringing out elements of what we’ve created in these new store concepts to our chain nationally. And the third piece is you’re going to see us start to renew, roll out and renovate stores at the appropriate pace across Canada. That will take some time. We’ll be very consistent and like any great organization we will adapt as we go in local market conditions or as we learn what customers really like about our new concept or where they’re asking us to improve.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.