retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Internet Retailer reports that "Staples Inc. is on the verge of greatly expanding its online business-to-business and consumer product offerings to more than 1 million SKUs. That’s up from about 200,000 today and would include categories such as power tools, medical devices and garden supplies as it prepares to go far beyond its core office supplies market and begin channeling sales from third-party sellers as well as handling its own sales on the chain’s redesigned e-commerce sites, says Faisal Masud, executive vice president, global e-commerce."

The story notes that "Staples, which says it carries 8,000 SKUs in a typical Staples store, does not plan to stock its stores with the expanded product lines … Instead, in-store shoppers will be able to order any products through online kiosks to have them shipped to their home or business addresses or to stores for in-store pickup. Expanded product lines on Staples e-commerce sites already include items such as power tools and doctors’ stethoscopes, with more to come, the company says."

“Businesses have lots of needs beyond office products, and that’s what we’re going after,” Masud tells Internet Retailer. “Businesses may need hard hats or networking technology, or products for their employee break rooms. We’ll be covering any business needs.”
KC's View:
In so many ways, this is the great opportunity with e-commerce … not just to sell items online that are sold in store, but to offer so much more.