The world of enterprise eCommerce software has long been a complicated one.
Off-the-shelf solutions, traditionally, haven't been flexible enough to meet the custom, complex needs of a global retailer. IT teams spend significant amounts of time propping up legacy systems with workarounds, security updates, and integration scripts. Can an eCommerce platform built for the needs of the 2005 shopping landscape keep up in 2019?
The new Staples store lives up to the expectations of a modern brand. As you're checking out their new online experience, keep an eye out for some powerful features never before seen on Shopify Plus, made possible through Bold's work with Shopify, Bounteous, and other partners.
Employee Purchase Program
One of Staples' employee benefits is a discount on purchases made from their online store. Discounts can vary based on the category of the product (some higher-ticket electronic products are discounted differently than standard SKUs) and need to be activated automatically when an employee signs in to the store.
Using Bold Custom Pricing, Staples allows employees to sign in quickly before checkout using an individual username and password. When they log in to the main storefront (which is the same used for retail customers), products are shown with prices automatically discounted. They don't need to enter a discount code, and account management is all done centrally through the main website, reducing support requests.
The new Staples.ca has a checkout powered by Bold Cashier; a customizable, flexible checkout service for Shopify. Cashier is built from the ground up to be themeable, which means that the layout, flow and overall design can be customized to meet a particular brand's needs.
Staples uses a four-step checkout process (reduced to three if the customer is already signed in to their account), and has redesigned the entire checkout experience to match the look-and-feel of their storefront. This consistency from arrival to purchase is created in Cashier and is on a Staples domain (checkout.staples.ca) throughout.
In several Canadian provinces, merchants selling certain electronics are required to collect environmental handling levies (often referred to as “eco fees” in the industry) which are paid by consumers on every purchase. Technically, this means that when a user adds one item to their cart, an additional line item needs to be added which is accounted for separately from the main product.
Eco fees came with several complications, most of which are related to a customer's location (which needs to be determined as soon as the shopper's storefront loads):
- Some locations require that the levy be shown separately from the product price ($499.99 + $5.00 environmental levy).
- Some locations require that the levy be included in the product price, but that a disclaimer be shown ($504.99 *includes environmental levy).
- The environmental levy (eco fee) is a different amount in nearly every location.
- If a product is on sale for 30% off with a discount code, the eco fee doesn't get discounted by that amount; it is the same no matter the actual sale price of the product.
- In some jurisdictions, the environmental levy is subject to sales tax.
- The levy isn't the same for every product, even if sold to the same location (laptops have a different fee than televisions).
Our new Price Rules engine looks at any factors that could impact a product's price: eco fees, promotional discounts, and even regional price adjustments, then automatically calculates the correct price for the item, which is displayed on the product page (so there aren't any surprises at checkout). This fee (which is displayed consistently through the checkout process and on the receipt) is tracked in Shopify on every order and passed through to Staples' financial reporting systems.
Large retail businesses often have very complex discounting processes from the technical side.
At Staples, discounts and promotions can originate from a product-oriented marketing campaign, a vendor looking to move product quickly, or a holiday-based event, like Black Friday. At any given time, thousands of price discounts or promotions could be running (with or without a coupon code required) and it's critical to make sure these operate correctly, at the risk of a customer service and PR nightmare.
Bold’s Price Rules engine solves these issues by allowing for easily configurable discounts with a wide variety of conditions. From the time of day, to the contents of the customer's cart, to the user’s browser, Price Rules engine automatically applies discounts to the customer’s cart when they qualify. This is the same Price Rules engine that powers the eco fees mentioned above; the service handles base-price additions and subtractions.
BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup in Store)
One of the most obvious hurdles that online purchases need to overcome is the time it takes from checkout to actual delivery of an order.
Omni-channel retailers are shortening this period by using a Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) strategy, which allows a shopper to make a purchase and collect their order from a local brick-and-mortar store in a matter of hours.
When a customer is in the checkout process on Staples.ca and are within range of a retail store, they'll see the option to have their order fulfilled at a nearby location, along with an estimate of when it will be ready.
For most orders, this is within 2 hours of payment, but may be longer depending on the size of the order and the inventory levels of the item at the particular store.
The BOPIS system sends a shipping override to Bold Cashier to ensure that delivery fees aren't charged, and then sends the order to the appropriate store for pickup. When the order is ready, the customer simply presents their emailed receipt at the customer service area and takes their purchase home.
A digital transformation
Staples Canada is evolving as a brand, and their launch on Shopify Plus with Bold Cashier is a big step towards their mission of helping Canadians work, learn, and grow. Staples has proven that modern eCommerce experiences don't need to be built on propped-up legacy software, instead opting for a path of flexibility and digital growth.
Check out the fruits of Staples' digital transformation at the new Staples.ca.