The Runa buy is the third “Staples Innovation Lab” developed to date. Last year, Staples opened what the brand calls Velocity Lab, which is home to 50 employees and 25 “open seats” for developers or partners. Staples’ mobile team is based there and was responsible for launching the brand’s mobile website last fall.
“The speed at which things can get done in these labs is amazing,” Cautela added. “Last year we did a flash sale that began 11 p.m. Thanksgiving night that went until 5 a.m. [that was] online only. And then, from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m., it was available through your mobile phone but the coupon could only be used in-store. So, it was driving traffic to the store with a mobile flash sale.”
Staples, Cautela said, is further developing another innovation facility in Seattle that will tailor its focus on search and ecommerce engineering.