Staples as a marketing consultant


The business model of staples is suitable in UK because the consumers will be conscious about the time and money. Staples is going to focus not only e-commerce but also catalogue sales and warehousing by direct sales inside the UK. According to the chartered institute of marketing, staples has around 22% (same inside UK market) of sales which are generated from proprietary branded products, including Staples and Quill. During the next five year staples able to sell more than 50% of the branded products in UK by generating present product brand push up marketing plans such as product promotion plans, similar product lines goods advertisement, promotional mobile marketing plan, enhancing environmental friendly product, door to door campaign and direct marketing plans. Staples got the market share with merger and acquisition. Staples acquired the corporate express on 2008.

Corporate express: Corporate express was staples strong business rival inside the UK and acquired net value for $4.8 billion. It was a Dutch company and that delivers office supplies directly to businesses, unanimously approved the cash offer by staples to pay $14.30 per share. The combination of Staples and Corporate Express is expected to create significant benefits for the combined company's shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders. Source: Boston bizjournals (2008)

Nobody control the consumers inside the UK and fortunately consumers are going to concern about the online buying and delivery because it is easy way of purchasing. There are so many competitors inside the UK such as local suppliers, dealers and retailers. Except this, supply chain plays major role to compete staples rivals. So, staples international (2009) quoted that "Neat Ideas ( is one of two delivery business Staples operates in the United Kingdom. We also operate under the Staples brand ("

About neat ideas: It is an office products mail order company which provide everything and established over 30 years ago. Neat ideas sells Office materials, office furniture and office equipment from the mail order catalogue or ordered on the Internet which always focus on first class quality, on huge choice and guaranteed low price.


There are the descriptions of staples swot analysis under internal and external factors of the staples market environment.

Strengths: Staples operates the customer oriented business in UK by providing the entire product which is related with each other's demand. If customer offers extra new product then staples provided it for the customer by product and services. The business model of staples is rely on the environmental friendly product and recycled product which is world's most emerging trend. Staples soul reflects the commitment to corporate responsibility. The product purchased from any country where the bulk price is lower and does not affect if supplier cannot able to supply. The staples will buy from other country if supply is obstructed. It had big history that staples formed in 1986 and that is the most of the oldest business experience inside the UK with stronger brand name of staples. Staples products are not fragile or perishable during the transportation.

Weaknesses: Staples totally depends on the third parties to buy the staples product and sometime the problem occurred on supply of the product. Staples introduced new product at the UK market and when brand will created then suppliers might offer the increment of product price. Staples sells around 8000 product inside the UK and its products are too diverse. Staples had not got any specialization on particular product. There is no innovative work of the staples because staples doesn't produce any product. Staples just buy the product from the diverse market and sells it inside the UK market.

Opportunities: Staples operate the business under environmental regulations in the UK and its support the recycled product and environmental products. So this is the staples opportunity to push up the brand name of staples among the customers because consumers' major concentration is environmental product. E-commerce saves time, value and money of consumer so the UK consumers are growing in this new sophisticated technology. Staples most of order inside UK is online ordering from the individual consumers and small, medium and large business and online ordering is the fastest and most cost effective way to purchase office supplies. Stapes gained the power from the merger and acquisition with the rival business and recently in UK staples merged the corporate express on 2008. The staples purchased in a bulk and it had staples brand so ability to change premium on small pack in UK. Most of the larger computer and office technology manufacturing sites in the UK are implantations by foreign corporation so it support to UK government through incentives from foreign companies.

Threats: There are too many competitors, suppliers and retailers of staples inside the UK. Competitors can emerge anytime with occupying some certain part of the market. UK market is suffering recession so it tightened the credit climate and halted the expansion plan of the staples in future. Staples operates the business on the system of supply channel and e-commerce so it has risk of system failure and loss of data thru hackers. Staples also buy the products from outside the UK and UK government might increase purchase costs due to the change of tax rate inside the UK. The commercial customers are cost conscious and it is very difficult to staples to seek new commercial customers inside the UK.


Political, legal and environmental analysis: There are different law, government agencies and pressure group around the UK and it affects the staples. Staples maintains procedures designed to comply with applicable laws and regulations governing political contributions made with corporate funds. These are external environment and staples cannot control these factors. For example the political and legal environment influences to control the staples business in UK to promote other UK business than staples and that would be the threat to the staples. But staples promotes the environmental product so UK political and legal environment also support to expand the business of staples because these products are recycled and environmental friendly and that would be opportunity to the staples in UK market. According to the staples soul report (2007, p.4) quoted that "United Kingdom Recycling for ChildLine. Both customers and the charity ChildLine, a 24-hour helpline for children in distress, get £1 for every ink cartridge recycled at Staples, which has helped Staples raise more than £150,000 for ChildLine".

Economic analysis: UK is still suffering recession although other countries recovered it. So the government will cut up the credit term to the consumers and business. So it will affect the staples to expand the business in UK market.

Social analysis: Society has different belief, attitude and behaviour and UK is developed country and its society is very interested to purchase the goods via internet. So business model of staples is suitable to the UK market.

Technology: Staples operates the business with high technological warehousing, super stores, web pages (privacy of the data and reliability) and catalogue sales. It provides the supportive technological help when the consumer (individual and small, medium and large size businesses) needed for technological support.


Staples sells a variety of office supplies and services, office furniture, business machine, computers and related products in UK by E-commerce, catalogue sales, channel of retail outlets and direct sales. Under this segmentation, the next five year market plan rely on marketing slogans, online pages, reliability, delivery services, staples brands (approximately 22% on sales), new products and eco friendly products etc. Looking at the market, it is better to segment the staples by the usage of the product by consumers. Jenny (2009) wrote market segmentations and one of them is behaviour (benefits sought/usage). Usage of targeted market first is lower than targeted market second which are described under the segmentation.

Targeted market first (personal consumers and smaller offices or businesses)

Under this target market the most of the consumers are not regularly purchased and they buy smaller size than target market second because they consumed in small quantity. This target market is very important to focus because most of the consumers in UK are personal consumers and small business. Although they purchase in a small quantity but they acquire more quantity in total than target market second. The customers are paying attention on cheapest, durable and less branded product due to the limitations of income sources and life style than medium and large size business consumers. The consumers who use the staples products for personally are known personal consumers and smaller offices or business means low land, labour and capital business. Target market first will have high transportation cost (they buy product in a small quantity again and again when they need), advertisements, lunch new product and slightly more profit margin than target market second.


During the next five year, staples marketing objectives are to reinforce the Staples brand position, easy to use products, unlimited product options, build awareness about the environmental friendly products and build up the staples empire inside the UK. Staples will increase the business by broad-based media advertising such as radio, television, newspaper, circulars and prints, internet advertising, catalogues, e-mail marketing, loyalty programs and sophisticated direct marketing capabilities. It implements the fully integrated plan by build up the public relation and branding initiatives. The purpose of the staples is strategic allocation of the budget, understands the audience by creating right plan while constantly offering the added value of the product and services inside the UK. The next concentration of the staples is to focus on cost-effective components like email marketing and news releases to hit the competitors such as Asda (but Wal-Mart Supermarket in the US) and Tesco supermarkets will be major competitors of staples in UK. Because the staples is going to expand the superstore (warehousing) middle of the dense populated city to be a focus for the personal and small size business consumers.

Staples is going to spend its advertising budget under these market brand push up broad-based media advertising strategies.


Product: Staples doesn't produce any product but it has well managed stocks. Staples advantage (2009) quoted that "With over 8000 items stocked and ready for next-day delivery, staples gives you access to the widest possible range of items, saving you valuable time and money"

Staples will employ these tools and techniques to boost up the product sales percentage for the next five year inside the target market first.


Staples will sell to personal consumers and smaller offices or businesses by the use of product promotional plans. The product promotional plan is to provide some new products to the customer who buy goods again and product reward who recommend some new customers. This is chain marketing of customer to customer by launching new product with feedback and seeks consumer in future. Brand will automatically create when the present buyer ordered the product regularly with satisfaction in future.


Looking at the staples product in UK, most of purchases are necessitates the other purchase. The staples will enhance the similar product line goods advertisement to increase the sales. When personal consumers and smaller offices buy the computer (technological product) then encourage them to buy office supplies such as papers, furniture (computer table) and printing and mailing services. These are the similar product lines and chain marketing of product to product. The staples will exercise the pull strategy (direct contact with customer) to support similar product line sales by targeting to the direct customers to induce them to buy from warehouses of staples and channel of e-commerce.

Segregate the all products to advertise inside radio, television, newspaper, circulars and prints, catalogues sales, internet advertising, e-mail marketing by integrating all product brands in staple brand.

Price: Gilbert (2003, p.157) quoted that "Price is the monetary value assigned by the seller to something purchased, sold or offered for sale, and on transaction by a buyer, as their willingness to pay for the benefits the product and channel service delivers".

Staples will expand the warehousing and local stores by keeping the stocks and it helps to keep constant the price factors of staples when the price label are changed in market. Staples sold brand of staples so the changes of price in similar commodity will not affect the staples. The next marketing strategy of staples is taking exaggerated cheapest buying option staples inside the UK for individual and small size businesses. According to the Gilbert (2003, p.166) quoted that psychological pricing option is odd pricing which is below the round figure, changing a price from £10 to £9.99. This psychological pricing option will be exaggerated cheapest buying option for the staples inside the UK.

The staples will use loyalty programs such as loyalty discount (price discount) to the regular buyer. The consumer of target market first is fascinated by the different discount on regular purchasing and they feel cheapest price than others. The loyalty discount will be very useful for smart price strategy in UK. The competition commission (2000) noted that the staples rival Tesco and Asda enjoyed with the loyalty cards by giving considerable information about the supermarkets, including customer's name, address and purchase preferences.

The main problem of the price mix is awareness about the price sensitivity of personal customers and smaller offices or businesses purchaser. They seek so many options to buy in a small quantity so pricing discount strategy will be useful to target market first for staples.

Place: According to Staples UK (2009) noted that in 1993 staples opened first new store in Swansea with 135 stores but today staples still growing at a rate of 5 stores per year and now staples wholly owned subsidiary of Staples Incorporated.

Most of warehousing of the staples is far from these personal and small business consumers in city and my five year business plan going to shift these warehousing and stores to the middle of the city. Where individual and small size business customer will easily visit inside the stapes warehouse to buy the product by clear inspection.

Iterative Development Process (York, 2009, p.13) described that the Staples (the "office superstore") also use large warehouse type stores to sell their products as one-offs to personal consumers as well as to those setting up smaller offices or businesses.


Promotion is the most important part of the marketing mix plan and the staples had not any excellent promotional plan launched in UK market yet. Net imperative (2008) states that the staples got 25 positions on top 50 UK online retailers but got fourth position, Tesco direct got ninth position and Asda thirty sixth positions although Tesco is supermarket but better position than staples.

Williams and Curtis (2008, p.35) suggested that promotional programmes combine advertising which increase the sales of products by closure contact with customers and it includes discount, samples, gifts, rebates, coupons, sweepstakes and contents.


World is growing dynamic and everything is changing day by day. Dynamic market has also affected the marketing promotional plan. So now a day the sophisticated marketing plan will heighten the staples plan for the next five year. Staples is going to use the promotional mobile marketing plan which is one of the example of sophisticated marketing plan. Everybody has mobile and it is necessary to communicate, massages to somebody and news submission. It is highly possible that customer will eager to read the new massages of mobile. So staples will promote the staples brand product by comparison to the market.


There are different types of consumer behaviour inside the target market first. Some are interested in brand and others are cheapest product. The real different characteristics of consumers are inside target market first. So the next five year marketing plan under the target market first will be occupied by chain marketing, similar product line marketing plans and sophisticated marketing plans and that will give attention to the mass consumers who have different behaviour. The marketing plan will be modify to be a focus for the different types of consumer if some new marketing technology developed in future because these consumers needs something new.

Targeted market second (medium and large size businesses)

Staples would like to extend new consumers and secure exist consumer for the next five year under the UK market. The consumers, who are operating medium and large size businesses, will be in this target market second. The target market second consumer used the staples product by them self for official day to day operation in a bulk. They buy in a bulk than target market first user for official or business uses. Staples has to provide some extra supportive services to the medium and large size businesses. The target market second will get in reliable and supportive after sales services because they got different buying option and very concuss while buying. They want most of branded product because they operate high label of land, labour and capital business. Staples will save transportation cost because they buy bulk in a month and it reduces the transportation cost than target market first. According to the staples advantage (2009) quoted that "our e-commerce platform is ranked #1 in evaluations for customisation, ease of use, contract compliance, hierarchical business rules, and overall performance".

So, staples operates the online ordering for the consumer and it ranked stronger than its competitors. According to the hoovers (2009) there are so many direct competitors (offering similar products and services to the same customer) for staples such as office deport international (, spicers ( and VOW Europe Ltd (

Office depot international: It deals directly with the customers which is one of the leading office supply retailers in the UK. Office depot international distributes about 15000 brands through catalogs, telephone sales and E-commerce. Its office products, ink and toner, small office machines and furniture are similar to the staples product.

Spicers: The Company is leading to office products and equipment wholesaler in the UK market. It has 18000 products (office equipment, furniture and janitorial supplies) and sold to office products dealers via its catalogs and web site under major manufacturer's brand as well as spicers own brand.

VOW: The Company has 20000 products including stationery, toner, planners, business machines (calculators and printers), office furniture and break room supplies to the dealers and resellers. VOW is a member of the alliance and this company is a unit of the vasanta group. (Sources:


Compared to the past performance offering strategy formulation and business planning, the staples goal is for long term participation with the medium and large size business with perfect e-commerce, catalogue sales with the support of warehouse and super store to cover the business needs and desires exactly. Staples will provide the service to the exits medium and large size business for the next five year by supplying staples branded product and supportive services if they need. Staples operate the business since 1986 and very friendly with medium and large size business for product and supportive services. Staples would like to provide high level of after sales services and supportive software of computer such as accounting services and data storage services. Staples will build up the personal relation by door to door campaign to seek new customer (medium and large size business) and calculate the actual consumption of the staples product. Staples will mirror the medium and large size business's exact structure, billing and reporting at every level, facilitating compliance reporting for consumer (medium and large size business) program. The main focus of the staples is to secure exists customers by providing any supportive services and search new medium and large size business consumer.


Product: How attractive to buy product is the main concentration of the staples inside the UK specially product specific attributes for example product quality and guarantee. If medium and large size business need new product especially for them staples should provide in future by extending new product.


So the customer will get product variety on staples brand. These are new product service line to support them official process. Staple will also provide printing development services which are new technology and provide them more print on cheapest cost.

The staple will grant the environmental friendly staples product and that is important now a day to the medium and large size business users. Staples will teach the recycled products benefits such as how it is cheap and staples is supporting the recycled products. Especially the staples will introduce the staples products benefit of efficiency.

Price: Medium and large size business seeks some more facilities because they can be offered from the other supplier such as office deport international, spicers and VOW Europe Ltd so staple will also provide it. Staples analysed the competitor's portfolio of the business and competitors financial health for the pricing strategy. Staples will offer business to business market in discount pricing and credit facilities for the medium and large size businesses inside the UK. It will depend on the consumption of staples product per month. They will get one month credit facilities and allowances. If they buy some more supportive product in a bulk the staples will provide some discount rely on the consumption. Staples will also offered the medium and large size business contract and approximate pricing and if staples and consumers want to change the price on the fluctuation of market price then it will be possible to negotiate each other.

Place: Especially staples has strong of channel of distribution with online e-business. But the staples is going to focus on warehousing and the super stores location to provide product smoothly to medium and large size businesses because the staples is going to focus on delivery system by expanding the places of the staples. Staples had not well planned warehousing and stores inside the UK so my next five year plan will manage the places of the product which is very easy to supply the staples product to the medium and large size businesses. Staples will expand warehouse near the medium and large size business for store the staples product to supply when they need. Most of the staples warehouse will be focus on the medium and large size business consumption transaction and expand the places of the warehousing if there is more demand in future. Staples will expand the places of warehouses and stores with state of art distribution facilities inside the UK.

Promotion: Considering with the marketplace of staples in UK the consumers demand are more diverse in product and services and staples will analyse that for five year promotional plan. According to the Doyle and Stern (2006, p.283) "If the target market consists of hundreds of customers, direct selling will be an attractive vehicle".

Staples will present attention on advertising promotion plan for the next five year to the medium and large size businesses. At first staples will analysis the actual data of medium and large size businesses that are operation the business inside the UK territory and supportive services which they needed such as installation facilities which the product put into the working order for the customer. Staples will meet the medium and large size consumer and tell them about the massage of the benefit from the side of staples by providing training and consulting services. Staples will also provide the free gifts to the medium and large size businesses to build up the relation for the promotional offers. Staples will spent all of the profit of the new consumers (medium and large size businesses buyer) for the one year to them by providing different sales services (the quality of product maintenance) and supportive business services especially for medium and large size businesses.

  • Pre-sale services
  • Point-of-sales services
  • Post-sale services

After that when the business believe about quality sales and services of the staples then the staples will take profit margin of the medium and large size businesses after one year.


Target market second is targeted all the competitors because its uses of product are higher than others in particular place. There will be attractive supportive services and good quality product to deliver. This market is very tuff because of competition about the facilities provided by other rivals suppliers, cheapest price in a bulk purchases and different buying options. Under this market staples will be in face to face competition. The staples main success and unsuccessful will be shown clearly inside the target market second because staples have few consumer (medium and large size business) inside the UK.


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