Staples starts online catalog for its contract customers

Office supplies cataloger Staples is giving its contract customers an option: paper or online. In an effort to eventually cut down on the number of catalogs it mails, the Framingham, MA-based merchant has launched a Web version of its 2008 full-line catalog.

The online catalog offers Staples Contract customers (typically mid-size companies) the same content as the print version in a flip-book-style format that can be passed along to employees via the Internet. Users can browse nearly 8,000 products, including office supplies, furniture, technology accessories, and cleaning and break room supplies.

Staples Contract customers can opt out of receiving the paper catalogs by asking their account managers, says Marci Grebstein, vice president of marketing for Staples Contract. The company will then use e-mail marketing to alert customers to new offerings. Customers who do not opt-out will still receive the paper catalogs with each delivery.

Grebstein expects that customers will increasingly prefer the online catalog to the paper version “because of the added convenience and environmental benefits.” Staples estimates a 10% reduction in its annual catalog print run, a decrease of about 200,000 books, she notes.

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