As an independent retailer after its split with US-based Staples, Staples Canada has unleashed its potential and expanded beyond its previous staples of office supplies and into a broad range of business solutions, such as hosting events and co-working.
Today, Staples Canada is the largest retailer of office supplies and business solutions in ol’ Canada.
Yet its website was overdue for a renovation. It needed a reliable content management system that was flexible enough to create and publish content live almost instantly. And it needed a platform that had the agility to publish across all content spaces of the retailers, from its ecommerce website to its social media.
These needs were funneled into the discovery process and out came one powerful content management system: Contentful.
It was the middle of 2019 when Staples Canada decided to plug in the CMS of Contentful. It was part of a transformative strategy to elevate its digital presence, expanding its robust ecommerce platform that was hosted on Shopify.
“We knew we could not launch Shopify without a powerful CMS,” said Jeff Serota, senior director for product management. “We needed to be able to edit individual content pieces, and schedule content for when we wanted to publish it.”
As the country’s largest retailer of office supplies and business solutions, Staples Canada wanted the ability to manage all forms of content, from rich and interactive media to banners. In addition, it wanted the ability to publish across all aspects of its website as well as the ability to publish at the moments when the retailer needs to.
Its former content platform was updated once a day, which had the effect of limiting the retailer’s operations in many ways. “With Contentful,” added Jeff, “we’ve gone from taking an extra day (or two) to launch a new product to being able to launch right after any of our partners tells us about a new product. If they launch at 1pm, we can have our own promotion live at 1:05pm. That’s better for our customers, and better for our partners. It’s an absolute game changer for us.”
Such agility meant that they were able to launch at midnight during Black Friday and witnessed its busiest ever Black Friday. This was followed by a campaign for Cyber Monday. In just 48 hours, the creatives at Staples Canada were able to design banners, content, and URLs thanks to the ease and speed of Contentful.
“Contentful allowed us to turn around a completely different promotion in just two days,” said Jeff, “and that weekend was a very busy, hectic weekend; one of the busiest of the entire year. It was a real win to be able to turn on a dime and do it better. Our customers were expecting something good on Monday, and we had it for them.”
Building on Contentful, the retailer was better placed to grow its digital strategy as well as the localization of its content.
Staples Canada’s new ecommerce platform is integrated with best-in-class tech, with Contentful acting as the content engine aligned to its ecommerce platform that covers desktop, mobile, and its blog.
Now, translations are carried out internally through the platform. “Other technology has difficulty with that,” said Jeff. “They expect you to have two different setups, one for each language. With Contentful, it’s just a toggle on each piece of content to make sure it’s available in English and French, and it’s done.”
These seamless integrations for both Staples Canada customers as well as their own teams has been a revelation. “I have a single place where all this content is being offered,” added Jeff. “I don’t have to train people on a bunch of different tools to figure it all out. It all gets done in one place.”
Team members are excited about the change in their day-to-day work. “We’ve absolutely changed their lives,” said Jeff. “It’s a single tool, it’s fast and it’s flexible. It lets them do what they need it to do. They no longer have weird constraints they don’t understand. They’re unbelievably happy.”
Staples Canada can look at a content platform that enables higher traffic, elevated customer experience, and broader reach into new markets with digital at the forefront. And their customers can find the products they are looking for faster and through better online experiences.
Its blog wasn’t neglected, either. Its Working and Learning blog is a big part of its digital presence and promotes the retailer’s mission as being a hub of information for small business – such as how to set up a website, and how to find government support during the pandemic, but also providing advice and tips for teaching remotely and at-home schooling.
“Nobody went to it [the blog] because nobody knew where it was,” said Jeff. “Now we get lots of blog traffic because it’s all directly tied into the site.”
Even the physical spaces are turning digital. At the stores of Staples Canada, their events hosting and co-working spaces are being worked online with the credit from Contentful. “We have experts giving art classes,” added Jeff, “or business lessons such as how to network in this new world, how to start a business, how to set up an ecommerce site.”
“We’re helping people adapt and learn to run their businesses in this new world we all live in.”