Staples recently introduced a new line of office products designed by OXO, a company that’s known for the ergonomic design of its kitchen and household devices. A BusinessWeek article called Staples and OXO: Poor Timing or Strategic Boon? discusses the new product launch.
My take: There’s a lot to learn from Staples’ customer-centric approach to this new product line. Here are some excerpts from the article that highlight practices worth following:
- Staples researched brands that had hugely loyal fans — which uncovered OXO as a key partner.
- The team gathered comments from reviews on staples.com on traditional hole punchers, pens, rulers, and other everyday desk items to see “people’s ‘pain points’ when using office products.
- They then took apart and reassembled the products and constructed foam prototypes to test improvements.
- They observed how people use office supplies. For example, people often took a pair of scissors to slit open the tape on packages by opening the shears and using one blade while holding the other, which might cut their hands.
- Staples set a rigid deadlines for the design team, which included Smart Design, a New York-based shop.
The bottom line: Here’s a success formula: Design products that fulfill customer’s unmet needs through an accelerated process with proven partners.