From the case study, determine Staples’ competitive advantage and its current business model. Next, use a brief SWOT analysis to analyze the primary way in which the company executes a strategy for growth based on its SWOT analysis.
The competitive advantage of Staples is that the company is one of the biggest and competent players in the office products industry. Plus, the acquisition of Corporate Express, an equally well-established firm and a competitor, in late 2008, definitely makes it a world leader now.
Staples offers diverse and wide product/service range that makes it a "one-stop shop" for small, medium and big businesses as well as individual consumers alike. It has developed four major channels, namely, contracts/associates. retail, catalogue and e-commerce via which is able to satisfactorily reach various market segments. (e.g.: corporate, institutions, SME's and individuals.)
Staples has instituted a wholesome program for corporate citizenship, also known as Staples Soul. Staples Soul is holistic approach to business that recognizes the close connection between financial success and the desire to make an impact on associates, communities, and the planet. The key components of Staples Soul are Ethics, Environment, Diversity and Community.
Staples management is one of its biggest strengths. Ronald Sargent, the company's Chairman and CEO has been responsible for the turnaround in the company's fortunes. When Sargent, became CEO of the company, the company's profits and stock prices were stagnant and were predicting a bleak future. Sargent instituted several programs that helped the company gain steam again. Other strengths are stores worldwide in 26 countries, diverse and wide product/service range, and creative advertising and branding which has enhanced the brand visibility. The weaknesses are that Staples has not made penetration into the emerging economies and strong competition which means market share is less compared to global leaders. The opportunities include global penetration into emerging economies, incorporation of recycled content which gives an edge over and above its competitor in a society, and better customer relationship which will help to achieve more market share. Finally, the threats are expansion planning in offering by Staples may dilute focus on core competency, intense competition, and changing government policies and regulations on Foreign Direct Investment.
For insuring growth in the market, Staples is increasing investment in o