Staples Inc. is putting a heavy focus on in-store marketing in 2009 via a multiyear deal with consumer marketing company News America Marketing, according to Brandweek.com. Through the partnership, News America will design coupon machines, shelf messaging, floor ads and sampling programs in more than 1,500 Staples stores nationwide. The in-store media will launch this month. News America Marketing had traditionally focused on the supermarket, drug and mass merchandise segment, but already has an existing partnership with many of Staples' manufacturers, said Chris Mixson, president of News America. Later this month, Staples stores will carry electronic coupon dispensers and at-shelf video units. Other innovations in the works include a SmartSource Xpress program, which is a "clipless solution to the FSI," Mixson said.Our take:
Staples has been an innovator in the office supply category for some time, and has had notable success with its in-store product line extension kiosks (which some believe is because of their unique approach to employee training with the devices). But while the recession continues, it will be important to watch whether their enthusiasm for spending on in-store marketing and merchandising remains high, or if they decide that the safer bet is to sit on their cash (or not raise more debt, depending on their cash situation).