Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - 24

PROGRAMS

Staples Turns Gimmick
to Gadget

Connected Easy Button serves as a functional tool for the workplace
By Patrycja Malinowska

New York - Looking beyond both brick-andmortar stores and its e-commerce websites,
Staples is embedding itself directly into the
workplace by turning its iconic Easy Button
gimmick into a functional tool for Staples
Business Advantage members.
"The way we view the modern Easy Button
is it represents a new 'set function' change
in terms of the user experience," said Ryan
Bartley, Staples' head of growth and applied
innovation, during a January presentation
at the National Retail Federation Retail's Big
Show. "We're at a place where the Easy Button
represents truly anywhere and everywhere
commerce."
Designed by Austin, Texas-based Mixer
Design Group, the modern Easy Button lets
businesses order supplies with simple voice
commands and is part of an entire "Easy System" powered by IBM Watson that also delivers the ability to order via text message,
email, photo, Facebook Messenger and other
communication channels.
"Part of what we're building with the Easy
Button is not only the physical manifestation
of it that we'll put in offices, but we'll also
publish that same experience to pretty much
every conversational channel that we can so
24

y SHOPPER MARKETING MAY 2017

[shoppers] can interact with Staples anywhere
and everywhere," Bartley said.
The system not only meets users whenever
and wherever they are in a shopping mindset,
but also is programmed to learn over time
to become more personalized and intuitive.
It can learn preferences such as preferred
products and quantities, and make recommendations. Users also can track shipments
and check product availability - all by voice
command.
Not intended for consumer-use cases at
home but rather designed for the office - a
very different and much less forgiving environment - the system also has been tuned to
specific pain points reported by office administrators. For example, Bartley's team added a
function that lets them teach the Easy Button
answers to questions that often get asked at
offices, such as "What is the guest Wi-Fi password?"
Essentially an "assistant's assistant" - a term
coined by Staples chief technology officer
Faisal Masud - the system is currently in beta
phase. At the Big Show, Bartley said it would
launch in more than 100 locations across different markets in the coming months and that
the same software was already beginning to



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shopper Marketing - May 2017

Contents
Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - Intro
Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - 1
Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - 2
Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - 3
Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - Contents
Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - 5
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