There is an OfficeMax up the street. Or is it an Office Depot? I can never remember—and here in lies the problem of the office supply stores who stuck so closely to competing with each other they never developed a distinct brand identity. It wasn’t just that their names were similar. It was that their entire concept, and product offerings were indistinguishable from one another. It didn’t really matter if it was an OfficeMax, or an Office Depot. Consumers could buy the same products, get the same experience, and leave with and Office XXX logo on their bag.
Which leads to the question, do we really need BOTH OfficeMax and Office Depot?
The answer is, probably not.
And now, the heads of both of these companies have finally given into that reality, and are very close to merging the two companies into one in a stock-for-stock merger that is on the verge of agreement.
It seems that while the office-supply retailers were trying to compete with each other on the right, competitors from online retailers and the likes of Costco and Walmart have attacked from the left. Finally, it seems, management realized there was no need for both brands in the marketplace (something consumers had known for a long time).
Time will tell whether the sign at the Office Depot (or OfficeMax) that sits up the street will change, but regardless, I know that little will change for me as a consumer. I have an office supply store up the street.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Office Binders Image courtesy of Shutterstock