Back-to-school shopping has never been easier with Staples mobile iOS app

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., 2016-Aug-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS) today (Aug. 25, 2016) announced a new beta test available on the Staples mobile iOS app. Customers can now send a photo of their child’s back-to-school list via the Staples Easy System on the app and a Staples associate will populate the customer’s shopping cart with everything they need. Back-to-school shopping has never been easier!

Today, many school districts offer a printed list of supplies. Staples is now offering an innovative way for parents to shop with those lists, making it easier than ever to get back-to-school shopping done. Parents will snap a photo of their back-to-school list, send it to a Staples associate via the Staples Easy System (on the app) and then be provided with the best product options within 24-48 hours. Once the list has been populated, customers can choose to buy now or customize their items in the cart, and if they want to pick up their order in store where available or have it shipped to them.

“We listened to customer feedback about their limited time for back-to-school shopping and delivered an experience utilizing the power of mobile,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president, eCommerce and customer experience, Staples. “We know parents are busy and the process of back-to-school shopping, especially if there are multiple children involved, can be time-consuming. This new experience enables us to do the hard work on behalf of our customers and we’re already seeing 10 percent of our iOS users interact with the chat feature on a daily basis.”

The Staples Easy System uses computer vision, artificial intelligence, crowd sourced data, and mobile interfaces to enable this chat-based experience, which also makes it easy for customers to ask Staples for any changes or other service questions. The beta test is now in effect for select customers, and has applications beyond just back-to-school shopping, as businesses can use the feature to snap a photo of their office or breakroom to get product re-ordering suggestions.

This beta test program is one of many new mobile app features that Staples is initiating to make easier shopping happen. It’s the latest addition to a suite of shopping options including stores,, Staples mobile website, Buy Online, Pick Up in Store and Staples in-store kiosks.

About Staples, Inc.
Staples retail stores and help small business customers make more happen by providing a broad assortment of products, expanded business services and easy ways to shop, all backed with a lowest price guarantee. Staples offers businesses the convenience to shop and buy how and when they want – in store, online, via mobile or though social apps. customers can either buy online and pick-up in store or ship for free from with Staples Rewards minimum purchase. Expanded services also make it easy for businesses to succeed with in-store Business Centers featuring shipping services and products, copying, scanning, faxing and computer work stations, Tech Services, full-service Print & Marketing Services, Staples Merchant Services, small business lending and credit services.

Staples Business Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., helps mid-market, commercial and enterprise-sized customers make more happen by offering a curated assortment of products and services combined with deep expertise, best-in-class customer service, competitive pricing and state-of-the art-ecommerce site. Staples Business Advantage is the one-source solution for all things businesses need to succeed, including office supplies, facilities cleaning and maintenance, breakroom snacks and beverages, technology, furniture, interior design and Print & Marketing Services. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples, Inc. operates throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia,Australia and New Zealand. More information about Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS) is available at

Kaitlyn Reardon

Mark Cautela


Back-to-school shopping has never been easier with Staples mobile iOS app
Back-to-school shopping has never been easier with Staples mobile iOS app


Source: Staples, Inc.


NRF: families only halfway done although back-to-school shopping started earlier this year

WASHINGTON, 2016-Aug-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Although back-to-school shopping started earlier this year, families are slowly tackling their supplies lists. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 has completed almost half (48 percent) of their shopping as of early August, slightly down from last year (50 percent).

“It is evident that many families are still considering price and value when shopping for their back-to-school and college needs,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Shopping early and often is a trend we have seen from many budget-conscious consumers over the last few years. In the weeks ahead, parents will take advantage of the aggressive deals that retailers will offer as they get ready to welcome the fall season merchandise.”

According to the survey, only 13 percent of families with children in grades K-12 have completed their shopping lists. However, 22 percent of families have yet to start their shopping, up from last year’s 20 percent.

For the first time, the survey asked consumers which back-to-school items they still needed to complete their shopping list. According to the survey, 77 percent need to buy school supplies, followed by clothing (70 percent) and shoes (57 percent).

When searching for the perfect deals, 48 percent of parents are influenced by coupons, up from 43 percent last year and the highest in the survey’s history. Families will also take advantage of in-store promotions (39 percent) and advertising inserts (33 percent) to complete their shopping lists. For those who started shopping early, half (50 percent) of their purchases were influenced by coupons, sales and/or promotions.

Taking a deeper dive into classroom needs, the survey found that 64 percent of supply purchases for back-to-school are influenced by school requirements. In addition, 45 percent of parents buying electronics were influenced by their schools.

When it comes to where consumers will finish their shopping, 53 percent will head to discount stores, 51 percent to department stores, 39 percent to clothing stores and 37 percent to office supply stores. More will shop online this year, 31 percent compared with 27 percent last year, the highest in the survey’s history.

When asked what payment method families will use most often to complete their purchases, 49 percent will use their debit cards while 29 percent will use their credit cards. Cash (21 percent) and checks (2 percent) will hardly be used as primary forms of payment, reaching the lowest levels ever in survey history.

Similar to back-to-school shoppers, college students and families with children in college have completed almost 48 percent of their shopping, slightly down from 49 percent last year. According to the survey, only 15 percent of consumers have completed their shopping lists, compared with 19 percent at this point last year.

“When it comes to big spending events such as back-to-school and back-to-college, families are being very savvy in how they tackle their lists,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Families are slowly completing their shopping this season while taking advantage of expected promotions that will continue through Labor Day, and spreading their budget as necessary.”

Consumers were asked for the first time which back-to-college items are still needed to complete their shopping lists. According to the survey, 61 percent still need to purchase school supplies, followed by clothing (50 percent) and personal care items (33 percent).

The survey found college consumers will likely complete the rest of their shopping at discount stores (42 percent, lowest in survey history), followed by department stores (42 percent, highest in survey history) and online shopping (40 percent, also a survey high).

Coupons and promotions are helping consumers with back-to-college purchases: 42 percent of college consumers say they are using coupons to complete their shopping list. A few more college shoppers will take advantage of in-store promotions (32 percent), followed by advertising inserts (29 percent). For those who have already made back-to-college purchases, half were influenced by promotions (50 percent, up from 48 percent last year).

Debit/check cards are the most preferred method of payment for college shoppers, with 44 percent using them. Credit cards continue to make gains, with 36 percent of respondents using them to complete their purchases.

The survey asked 6,915 consumers about both back-to-school and back-to-college shopping plans. It was conducted August 2-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

About Prosper Insights & Analytics
Prosper Insights & Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world

About NRF
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role retail plays in driving innovation.

Ana Serafin Smith
(202) 626-8189
(855) NRF-Press

Source: NRF

ICSC Survey: 83% of consumers still prefer physical stores for Back-to-School shopping

83% of BTS Purchases Will Involve Physical Stores

NEW YORK, 2015-7-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Back-to-School (BTS) season is officially underway in the United States, and more than one-third (34%) of consumers have already begun shopping, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) BTS Consumer Spending Survey. Consumers still prefer physical stores for BTS shopping, with 83% of their purchases involving physical stores, including 7% of purchases that will be made online and picked up in-store. Of those who will order online and pick-up in-store, 79% said they are likely to buy additional items once in the store.

Driving in-store BTS purchases in 2015 are the 42% of respondents who still prefer the opportunity to physically examine merchandise before purchasing, while 37% like the convenience of one-stop shopping. The importance of omnichannel continues to grow significantly, as 79% of respondents plan to use a mobile device while shopping in-store for BTS.

Of those planning to use a mobile device while shopping in a physical store, 44% will use their phone to compare prices, 28% will use digital coupons, 26% will check ratings and reviews, 24% will check inventory and availability of items and 17% will email or text friends and family for a second opinion on an item. As expected, millennials are the most likely demographic to use their smartphones while shopping.

“Retailers are enjoying a strong start to the BTS shopping season after a sluggish first quarter of 2015,” said Jesse Ton, spokesman for ICSC. “While typically viewed as an essential expenditure, BTS shopping also highlights many of the trends occurring in the shopping center industry. As physical spaces merge with digital to further enhance the omnichannel experience, consumers are shopping in physical stores, participating in webrooming and using mobile technology at shopping centers. It’s good news as we progress into the all-important latter half of the retail calendar.”

The share of consumers expecting to spend more this year increased significantly year-over-year to 67%, compared to 50% of shoppers in 2014 and 39% who expected to increase spending in 2013.

When discussing why consumers plan to spend more this year, 29% of respondents stated it was because of a need to replace wardrobes and school supplies, while 30% cited a change in school requirements. Additionally, 12% of respondents plan to spend more to keep up with changing fashion trends.

BTS shoppers are planning to buy a variety of products, including school supplies (76%), apparel and shoes (75%), electronics – including computers, phones, accessories and wearables (53%), backpacks and bags (45%) and eyeglasses (22%).

Marketing, Deals & Trends are Driving BTS Shopping

Marketing appears to be the main driver of BTS shopping, as 74% of consumers report that they will likely start BTS purchasing when advertisements from major retailers begin to appear. While those cues from advertising play a major role in consumers’ decision to start BTS shopping, the survey found that nearly half (46%) of consumers believe they will get the best deals in August, compared to 30% in July and 15% of respondents who believe the best deals will be found Labor Day weekend or in September.

The results show August leading the BTS season, with 53% of BTS spending taking place in late summer, and the remainder of shopping split between June (10%), July (21%) and September (17%).

Discount Retailers Prevail, Apparel Specialty Stores Increasing in Popularity

ICSC found that discount stores are still the leading BTS shopping destination, with 77% of consumers turning to discount retailers for their BTS shopping needs. Another of this year’s winners is apparel stores, where one-quarter (25%) of consumers plan to shop this season.

Overall, BTS shoppers plan to shop at a variety of store types that also include office supply stores (40%), online-only retailers (29%), department stores (38%) and wholesale clubs (22%). Only five percent of respondents indicated they would use catalogues.

When choosing a retailer, the top three factors indicated were price (76%), convenience (48%) and quality (41%).

Beyond a Place to Shop

The survey found that most BTS shoppers (88%) plan to go to a mall or open-air shopping center during the BTS season, and many will do more than shop. More than half (53%) of shoppers surveyed plan to dine at the food court and nearly one-third (30%) plan to eat at a table-service restaurant, while 28% will see a movie and 17% will attend an event such as a concert, go to the gym or do an activity such as bowling.

About ICSC:
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. For more information, visit


ICSC Survey: 83% of consumers still prefer physical stores for Back-to-School shopping

ICSC Survey: 83% of consumers still prefer physical stores for Back-to-School shopping