Walmart has grabbed headlines in recent months for its expansion of B2B eCommerce services in India, having opened new warehouses for the heads of its retail locations to restock inventory through online orders. But as office supply seller Staples strengthens its own presence within the B2B arena, the company seems to want in on the digital retail action in India, too.
Staples’ online B2B store went live Monday (April 13) with a service that allows consumers and businesses alike in India to restock office supplies. Despite the B2C angle of the site, reports say the portal is aimed at small- and medium-sized enterprises in the country. The move signals Staples’ entry into servicing SMEs in a nation after having only serviced major corporations, according to Staples India founder and co-CEO Shailesh Karwa.
Evidence of a B2B focus comes in the form of plans for Staples to nab 10,000 business clients across Mumbai in just three months. Reports say the company will shift to Bangalore and Delhi later on. “We registered more than 100 mid-sized business in the first hour of business today,” Shailesh said following Monday’s launch, adding that Staples plans to attract 1,000 businesses this week.
Looking ahead, Staples’ goals are even larger: the company will look to work with 100,000 businesses across India and plans to expand its B2B product offerings beyond office supplies and into corporate furniture, technology accessories and devices, and corporate gifting.
Staples has introduced new business-focused services in recent months, a trend suggesting the company is looking to stay ahead of the slump in office supply purchasing among consumers. The firm is currently in the process of acquiring Office Depot to further consolidate the industry, and announced plans to enter the small business lending industry in partnership with alternative financer Lendio. Soon after, Staples launched a B2B print–to–store service for business members of its Staples Advantage unit.
Its decision to strengthen B2B services in India is strategic, experts say, as B2B startups in the nation are flourishing, especially in the B2B eCommerce segment.