About a decade ago, Staples started carrying select cleaning products in its stores to help offset declining sales and low margins on some office supplies being sold. These products were largely targeted at small- to mid-sized commercial end users in office and professional settings, such as office managers. Therefore, the product mix was mainly surface wipes and restroom cleaning products.
In 2017, however, Staples was acquired by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which took the company private. With this change in ownership, the company’s approach to cleaning products changed dramatically. Staples has vastly expanded its product assortment and now includes dilution control systems and dispensers aimed at much larger end users, such as contract cleaners. Staples has also trained its sales force about the various cleaning products it sells and provides a more consultative sales approach for larger accounts. The office supply retailer has changed its approach to be more akin to a traditional jan/san distributor, helping customers choose the right cleaning products for their facility, control costs, and keep employees and visitors safe.
In 2019, Staples acquired Essendant—a distributor of office supplies—and it is thought that this relationship has further helped Staples leverage its jan/san initiatives. Besides its strength in online selling and product delivery, in the last two years, Staples has aggressively built its direct sales force for janitorial products and offers consultative selling of products and dispensers. Staples plans to augment and focus on its “Coastwide” private-label cleaning products and its dispensers, which help lock in customers. The Coastwide line includes cleaning products, dispensers, paper products, hand soaps, janitorial carts, and trash bags. The company plans to install a total of 500,000 devices, such as water filters and dispensers, in 2020.
Today, Staples now offers a full line of cleaning products including air care and odor-control products, hand care, surface cleaning, floor and carpet care, wipes, cleaning supplies and tools, laundry products, warewash products, and dilution control systems and dispensers. Its brick-and-mortar stores and the company’s popular website Staples.com have increased sales of janitorial cleaning products and widened its reach with commercial end users.
Insights and data on many other suppliers and brands of professional cleaning products will be provided in Kline’s flagship Janitorial and Housekeeping Cleaning Products USA, to be published in June 2020. This study provides a complete analysis of the jan/san market by product, end use, supplier, and distribution channels in the United States. It features a written report and an interactive online database. The study covers floor-care, hand–care, hard-surface, odor–control, carpet–care, and air– and fabric–refresher products. This report is based on detailed, structured research with more than 1,000 end-use decision makers at building service contractors and in the healthcare, hospitality, foodservice, education, government, commercial office buildings, industrial, retail, and transportation industries. Additionally, the research includes in-depth discussions with chemical suppliers, private-label companies, distributors, trade groups, and others knowledgeable about the market. Subscribers to this report will receive a complimentary copy of Kline’s Janitorial Cleaning Products: Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Market report.