Supply & Expand

Scott D’Cunha is challenging traditional perceptions of what office-retail giant Staples can offer, getting the company noticed as it pushes into new markets

Staples Advantage
Scott D’Cunha, director of marketing, e-commerce, and communications.

At Staples Advantage Canada, there’s no big red “easy” button that’s going to instantly catapult its newest message, “Make More Happen,” into the public consciousness. However, what the office-supply retailer’s business-to-business arm has instead is Scott D’Cunha, director of marketing, e-commerce, and communications. Though he’s not transforming the company overnight, he and his team are assuredly turning heads with their newest campaign, their prioritization of their company’s online presence, and a commitment to giving back to the community, evidenced by Staples Advantage’s work with Tree Canada and Evergreen.

According to D’Cunha, Staples Advantage has found ways to serve more customers through a fairly straightforward approach: it has expanded its offerings to become more than a mere office-supply company. “What we really want to be is the destination for anybody looking for anything they need for their business,” D’Cunha says.

This has meant loading up hundreds of thousands of stock-keeping units throughout North America while aggressively repositioning the company with new products such as stethoscopes and scalpels for medical offices, furniture and coffee supplies for break rooms, and even body bags for police departments. Because of this shift, Staples Advantage has already seen solid gains this year.

Career Milestones
Scott D’Cunha

Earns a BA with honours in economics from Lancaster University and begins a management program with Marks & Spencer

Graduates with an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and joins Bata International as an international management associate

Joins Capgemini, specializing in strategy and transformation projects across multiple industries, including retail, government, and energy

Attains chartered marketer status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK

Joins Staples Advantage Canada as its national director of marketing, e-commerce, and communications

Is awarded a CIM Diploma in digital marketing

A chartered marketer and a master of business administration, D’Cunha brings more than 20 years of combined retail and business-to-business marketing work—at global organizations such as Marks & Spencer, Bata International, and Capgemini—to his current role. At Staples Advantage, he’s obviously employing the standard marketing tools such as brochures, e-mail updates, and promotional flyers, but what he’s hoping will set the company apart is how it’s able to leverage its e-commerce platform and sales organization, which employs specialists able to speak on all the products that the company has introduced. Because of D’Cunha’s efforts, since 2008, Staples Advantage has gone from having a purely transactional site to having Canada’s number one e-commerce business.

Additionally, it’s spreading its new marketing message through the continued use of effective, integrated campaigns that tie online and off-line media together with sales initiatives to drive dramatic results with stellar ROI. With all these efforts in place, D’Cunha feels confident that Staples Advantage is poised to deliver a potent punch in its marketplace.

Since joining the company in 2008, D’Cunha has also enacted numerous initiatives, including the Fifty Green program, that have enhanced Staples Advantage’s position as a business-to-business solutions provider. A “triple win,” Fifty Green has been saving the company money, providing time savings for customers, and simultaneously saving the environment. The program combats small orders, which used to make up more than 30 percent of the company’s total orders. They adversely impact delivery costs and result in multiple deliveries and invoices for customers and excess use of fuel, packaging, and shipping materials, so, to reduce their frequency, Staples Advantage added a $5 fee to orders less than $50.

However, instead of making the fee merely a surcharge that pads Staples Advantage’s pocketbook, the company partnered with nonprofit Tree Canada so that half of each fee goes toward the planting of trees. Within a year of the Fifty Green program’s implementation in 2008, small orders were reduced by a third, and over the next four years after that, they went down by another third. The company has not lost a single customer in that time, and it has actually seen its average order size increase by 15 percent. Additionally, it has helped plant more than 150,000 trees to date.

D’Cunha continues to prove the value of marketing with an ROI in excess of 25:1, and by becoming more strategic and collaborative, he’s getting the “Make More Happen” message out while embracing the ethos himself. “The challenge with marketing in a business-to-business environment is it was always seen as a secondary function,” he says. “But over the last six years, we’ve secured so many wins that the function is finally seen as one that can strategically allow the business to grow quickly.”