Staples, the $24 billion office-supply retailer, is relying on its new Velocity Lab to develop omnichannel technologies that will help it retain a competitive edge.
For example, in August, the lab rolled out Staples' new mobile website, with an improved design and integration with the Staples rewards program.
Velocity Lab, which opened in December, acts like a startup and draws on expertise from organizations such as MIT and Oracle, says Prat Vemana, director of the lab.
The Staples lab also developed an in-store kiosk so customers can get help from an associate or start a video chat with a call center. The customer can enter their rewards card number to see past purchases, for example, or look up the type of printer ink they need. Purchases can be paid for at the kiosk or at the checkout counter.
Developers are now working on software that lets customers with Android phones connect to the in-store kiosk through the cloud so they can view and shop from the list of favorite products they've tagged in the Staples mobile app.