Staples, a tablet site pioneer, launches its first iPad app

September 17, 2014 04:31 PM

Staples Inc. is one of only 24 retailers in the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500 to have a separate commerce site specifically optimized for tablets. Even still, last week the company unveiled an iPad app—the first of its kind for the office supplies retailer—among a laundry list of new initiatives.

Staples joins 107 other retailers in the 2015 Mobile 500 that have dedicated iPad apps. Another 12 have universal iOS apps that serve both iPhones and iPads.

The company decided to create a separate iPad app because the products consumers most commonly buy when shopping on tablets and the types of Staples shoppers that use tablets are not the same as the typical Staples desktop web site shopper, Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global e-commerce at Staples, says. He would not elaborate.  

It’s widely known in retail that users of Apple devices spend more, and more frequently, than user of Android devices. Further, tablet conversion rates can exceed desktop conversion rates. For example, Apple iPad users convert at a rate three percentage points greater than Android tablet users and spend significantly more money, according to data on August 2014 activity on the affiliate networks of Affiliate Window.

Tablets have been big for Staples’ web sales: Nearly one-third of traffic to comes from tablets devices, and an estimated 70% of mobile commerce sales come from tablets, according to the Internet Retailer 2015 Mobile 500.

“All of mobile is playing a central role in our omnichannel push,” Masud says. “From the ability to buy online and pick up in-store through, to adding an iPad app that lets customers check in-store availability, mobile offers new ways for our customers to shop Staples. We are seeing encouraging growth from our mobile channels, and will continue to incorporate the features and functionalities mobile brings to the table into our omnichannel offerings.”

Staples is No. 12 in the 2015 Mobile 500 and Internet Retailer projects it will generate $800 million in mobile sales in 2014, growth of 88.24% over 2013.

The iPad app lets shoppers check and cash their Staples Rewards balance, reorder past purchases, access deals, check product availability in stores, and filter search results by price, category and relevance. “The ease of use of the new Staples iPad app has us really excited as it provides direct access to Staples’ biggest and best deals, helping businesses make more happen,” Masud says.

Staples developed the app in-house, though it declined to reveal the cost.

Staples also announced last week that it would be one of the first retailers to accept Apple Pay in its retail stores, though it did not offer more details on the program. 




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