Wednesday, October 16, 2013

SMMP: Staples Inc. 2013 Back to School - Part I

Staples Inc. is one of the largest office supply chain store in 22 countries. I like the products of Staples a lot, because its products are high quality. We can buy its products online, or in more than 2,000 retail stores in the world.

Staples have been done a good job on public praise, we can get abundant information about Staples form the groundswell. Especially in the period of back to school, Staples becomes much more popular than usual, and that is what I would like to concentrate in.

The History of Staples Inc.

In 1985, the founder of Staples - Thomas Stemberg got the original idea of this company. Thomas needed a unit of printer, but his local dealer was closed because that day was Independence day. He felt that the reliance of small business is unstable, that was why Thomas Stemberg would like to start his business on office supplies superstore.

In 1986, Staples opened its first store in Brighton, Massachusetts; In 1996, Staples had 500 stores; The 1,000th store opened in 1999; In 2007, Staples opened its 2,000th store.

The slogan of Staples is "That Was Easy". Today, it is so easy to find a Staples retail store around your location, and to buy the products from Staples is also easy! 


On the website of Staples Back to School, we can see that their target audiences are both students and teachers. Students can choose their goods by grades. On the bottom of this website, we can find the social media connections: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and community. 

Where are The Talkers?

In this part, I choose to use Addictomatic. The following picture shows the results of searching "staples back to school". These results show that there is no people talk about it on Twitter and Flickr. Most of the talking are the promotion information about staples in Addictomatic, especially a lot of YouTube ads.

How About The Trends?

Google Trends is used to show the trends of specific talks. When we are searching "Staples Back to School", we can see the following trends: 

Since 2005-2013, more and more people talk about "Staples Back to School", the peaks appear on the late summers and the early falls. The ratios comparison in 2004 and 2013 are 33: 100. That is mean in the back to school period in every year, Staples are doing better and better in groundswell.

This picture shows the micro trend of Staples Back to School in a year. In 2013, the talks started on June 9th. After July 7th, the talks grew very fast, until these talks reached the beginning of the peak on July 28th. Since Aug 24th, the trends became down, and most of the talks stopped on Sept 28th. This trend means the activeness of the talks of Staples Back to School, it shows the talks are popular in public in this period.

I also checked IceRocket, which is also an outstanding tool for trend analysis. IceRocket shows the trends that people talk "Staples back to school" in recent months, the overview result is consistent with the result of google trends.

What Are Changing in Groundswell?

In social mention, we can see on the two pictures below. After the time period of back to school, the passion and reach became lower and lower, these two values can match the Google Trends of Staples Back to School in 2013. 
Although the activeness of the talks becomes lower, but the sentiment become better and better. The negative talks decreased very fast. 

                        10-31-2013                                         11-5-2013

What are They Talking About?

Base on the searching results of Google Trends, I would like to separate the 2013 back to school period into three stages: raising stage (June 9th - July 28th), peak stage (July 28th - Aug 24th) and decreasing stage (Aug 24th - Sept 28th). 
I will monitor the talks by Trendistic in each stage, and to know the thinking of talkers in the time period of back to school by this way.

In the raising stage, there are many Twitter users were talking about "to buy Staples gift card on Groupon", and the "Staples Back to School Saving Pass for 15% off". Obviously, Staples are attracting customers for this period of sales in this stage. I believe these promotions made customers feel exciting, and they would like to share the promotions with others.

In the peak stage, the talks of gift card and saving pass were disappeared, and Deals of Staples became popular topic in Twitter. In this stage, people started to consider shopping in Staples, and the cheap price become the topics which they were cared about. 

In the decreasing stage, people realized the Period of Back to School is almost done in Staples. In the late of decreasing stage, people started to pay more attentions on the other deals, which has no related with back to school. In the same time, the new deals were becoming the new topics in Twitter.

Conclusions and Recommendations

C 1: Staples Back to School are popular in this period in every year, but the relevance between back to school and the following time period is low in groundswell.
R 1: Staples should bring the following new deals forward more, give the customers enough time to keep talking "Back to School" and "New Deals" in the same time period.

C 2: Most of the blogs and videos are created by Staple. Customers would like to share the good deals with others, but have low passion to create the original talks about Staples.
R 2: Staples should try to encourage customers talk more about their thinking about Staples. For example, Staples can organize its interesting activities, and the participants would mention Staples more in their social medias.

C 3: Now, Staples sales many different kinds of products about back to school, like notebook, pencil and school bag. In this period, the major target audiences are student parents or students themselves. But Staples' public image - office supplies, it makes a small gap between the young people and its brand.
R 3: Before the time period of back to school is coming, Staples should keep to mention "back to school" in sometimes, don not let people forget this topic in the whole following year. Let the young people know, they are always the customers of Staples, but not only in the late summer.

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