Staples Upgrades Easy Button Pilot

The Staples Easy System pilot program has reached a new stage with the introduction of a new cognitive-enabled Easy Button office supply reordering system that integrates IBM’s Watson technology to simplify office supply management.

The system, available to Staples Business Advantage Customers, brings an on-demand function to businesses, allowing customers to order anytime and anywhere from any device they prefer, company officials said.

Staples said that by tapping into IBM’s Watson Conversation service, customers now can enter into a seamless ordering interface across the Easy System ecosystem, whether it’s via Staples’ proprietary next-generation Easy Button, through the app, text, email, over Facebook Messenger or with a Slackbot. The Watson-enabled interface enables customers to quickly reorder supplies, track shipments or chat about customer service needs, the retailer stated.

In addition to facilitating simpler interactions with customers, built-in cognitive capabilities, as powered by a combination of Watson Knowledge Studio and Staples’ own internal personalization APIs, will help the Easy System learn more about each businesses’ preferences over time, including their preferred products and quantities. Over time, the system will learn to make product and services recommendations based on customer’s current needs.

“Staples and IBM have combined the power of Watson technology with Staples’ expertise in helping small and medium businesses to transform how companies shop for everything they need for their office,” Faisal Masud, evp/e-commerce and customer experience, Staples, said in announcing the Easy System upgrades. “With the Easy System, administrators will have greater overall management of their organizations’ procurement processes, ultimately saving them time they can instead spend on running their office. It’s the assistant’s assistant.”