Staples That Was Easy, market growth, consumer insights,


Staples, the world’s largest office products company, had experienced several yeas of high growth and wanted to maintain this growth through greater differentiation beyond simply having the greatest assortment of office supplies. Their prior learning had identified a consumer need – ‘make it easier to buy office supplies’ so to emphasize their commitment to their customers they changed their tag line to “Staples-That Was Easy” but although they had some early success, what they wanted were ideas that really delivered on the ‘easy’ promise in unique ways.

With Synecticsworld’s help, Staples identified some important questions:

  • What does ‘easy’ mean to consumers and business customers?
  • Will ‘easy’ ring true to our core customers?
  • How does Staples reinforce the ‘easy’ brand promise?
  • Is the ‘easy’ promise tangible/measurable?


Synecticsworld’s designed creative immersion exercises for new learning and new strategies, services and products. The immersion exercises included:

  • Visiting retailers who had made it ‘easy’ for their customers. Retailers such as Jordan’s Furniture, The Home Depot, Barnes and Noble, and Snip-its, or other online stores like NW Rugs that have great variety for any home
  • Exploring the concept of “what it means to be easy” from the consumer point of view
  • Assigning 35 different on-line retail websites to team members who then went through to experience the entire purchase process from order to delivery
  • Participating in a panel that included six executives/catalysts from companies that have been able “to make things easier” for their customers (Zipcar, FedEx, etc.)

Using what had been discovered about ‘easy’ in other worlds, team members began to put disparate, unrelated executions of ‘easy’ together to discover new approaches. All of the immersion stimuli fed several days of invention of new strategies and programs to deliver on the ‘easy’ promise in-store, on-line, and through catalogue. The concepts were then refined with a series of consumer labs aimed at involving Staples customers to help strengthen and improve the most promising opportunities.



The Synecticsworld-led sessions propelled dozens of power ideas forward and resulted in Staples’ innovative initiatives like:

  • Staples Easy Rebates™ where Staples does the heavy lifting for you in processing manufacturer rebates
  • Staples Easy Rewards™– incentive rewards for savings that accumulate fast. Premier customer levels earn access to extra rewards Staples services
  • Staples Easy Reorder™– customers have a record of purchases making re-orders easy, especially ink and toner products and other items you’ve previously purchased
  • Maps on shopping carts and at customer service to help people find items they want easily
  • Easier access to ink and toner products
  • Office supply vending machines located in places where consumers may need supplies in a pinch, like at the airport, for example
  • Free delivery for catalogue and on-line orders
  • A monthly ‘easy’ newsletter for consumers which includes ways to make buying office supplies easier

That was easy!

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