Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) is apparently preparing to take on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) head-to-head with a price-matching program, eCommerceBytes reported on Tuesday (Sept. 3).
The largest U.S. office-supplies chain has been testing several ads with customers for their effectiveness. All the ads reportedly include the tagline "Pay the lowest price every time you shop: We'll match any competitor with an online and retail store—plus Amazon." The testing appears to be to determine how prominently Amazon's name will be featured in the ads, not whether the price-match program will be rolled out for the holiday season.
Staples has had a relatively good relationship with Amazon in the past. In 2011, when Amazon offered shoppers a 5 percent discount for using its Price Check mobile app, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) pulled Amazon Kindles off their shelves, but Staples didn't. Staples has also participated in Amazon's program that put pick-up lockers for Amazon orders in brick-and-mortar stores.
But under increasing pressure from competitors on and offline—including the soon-to-be-completed merger of Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) and OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX)—Staples is now testing its own delivery lockers in its new, small-footprint "omnichannel" stores, which it launched in June.
Staples has also acquired Lonesource, a North Carolina online supplier of business supplies that go beyond conventional office supplies. That deal, which reportedly was finalized on Aug. 26, gives Staples both Lonesource's customer base and the smaller company's online procurement platform.
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