What Staples Wants Everyone To Know

There’s something Staples wants you to know, and if you step foot inside some of their stores, this marketing execution guarantees you will never forget it.

I recently dropped into a midtown Staples to pick up some postcards and was taken aback by what I saw when I walked in. Take a look at this picture

Staples in-store

This is what you see when you walk in – and I absolutely love it. Why? I love it because of what it communicates about Staples.

On the surface, this wall is just a big wall that is full of ink and toner – but it is so much more. This picture doesn’t do the best job of showing it, but this wall is absolutely immense – it is about 60 feet long and every inch of it from top to bottom is covered in ink and toner.  When you walk into the store, no matter your purpose, your heart is briefly arrested by this display. Something in you says “Wow, that’s a lot of ink and toner” – and every time that happens, Staples’ directors of Merchandising and Shopper Marketing get warm fuzzy feelings.

Staples is communicating 2 things with this wall:

The first is that they have all of your ink and toner needs.  The sign in the middle says it all – “We offer a full selection of Ink and Toner”. But this claim is backed up in a mighty and over-the-top fashion with this 60ft wall! Everything about this wall screams “comprehensive selection”. If you need Ink or Toner, the question isn’t whether Staples carries it but rather, how much it will cost.

The second is that they have all of your ink and toner needs available right now. This wall communicates availability and immediacy. When you need it now, not only does Staples carry it, but they have it in stock. Look at this wall! You’ll be hard pressed to find an empty facing. When your printer won’t print and you need ink or toner faster than online retailers can deliver, Staples is where you go.

The other thing that I love about this outside of the communications strategy is the business strategy that informs it. Ink is one of the highest margin products that office supply stores carry. As Office Supply Stores are seeing a continual decline in their profitability due to technology changes, it makes business sense for them to devote a significant portion of their stores to their highest margin items.

A vast inventory and comprehensive selection do not necessitate a commensurate retail footprint – Staples has a choice in how they design their stores and with this gargantuan wall, they’re making a smart choice.

Until next time.