Staples can't seem to pin down the kind of sales, customer base and revenue to ensure that they'll be around for very much longer.
The retailer reported major deficits in its sales and is planning to close a few hundred stores by next year, a stat that is both somber and expected.
And it also begs the question: Are office supply stores slowly being phased out?
That answer seems relatively obvious given that the gigantic and reputable Staples brand is struggling mightily. Reasons why office supply stores aren't doing so well financially isn't a big mystery if you consider the propensity for most consumers and businesses alike to shop for the lowest possible price and doing most of the ordering online.
Most retailers in any sector, including the heavy hitters like Best Buy, aren't exactly welcoming in droves of customers to the physical stores, and instead are focusing on selling the convenience of ordering online. In person sales are slumping, so marketing online has become just as paramount at in store specials.
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That online ordering, however, isn't happening at Staples, either. Staples reported online sales sagging in addition to in store purchases. You can draw the conclusion that office supplies and ink, as far as being sold online, can be found in numerous places with a plethora of web sites touting fast, free delivery and pricing that is better than the other guy.
What perhaps once was a one or two store show has transformed into a much more competitive marketplace. Plenty of web sites offer customers and office mangers alike best price guarantees that rival and often beat some of the larger entities like Office Max and Staples.
Finding the best deal on pens, pencils and refilling your printer ink for businesses might seem inconsequential based on the price points, but over the course of a 12 month period these companies can save hundreds or thousands.
Money and saving it is one thing but the idea of buying office supplies hardly ranks as enjoyable. Purchasing office supplies is a job, an ordeal that is assigned and not necessarily a choice that is high on your personal shopping list. Picking out a printer has about as much zest and appeal as grocery shopping.
And with that, the office supply store is slowly going to follow the same path as the shopping malls and bookstore, both of which are becoming retail dinosaurs. Staples, among others, may need a better plan to not only reinvent their in store image but also stay on pace with so many competitors.
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