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For Customer Experience Professionals

Quantitative Research Turns Staples' Personas Into Robust Decision-Making Tools

January 7, 2009

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  • By Vidya L. Drego
  • with Moira Dorsey,
  • Rachel Zinser,
  • Angela Beckers

Why Read This Report

After redesigning its Web site in 2002 with the help of personas, office-supply giant Staples wanted to see whether its personas were still valid, whether the site was meeting the needs of users, and what those users were doing after they left the site. To find out, it created a multipart study consisting of: 1) an entry survey, 2) an identifier for each survey respondent, 3) site analytics to track user paths, 4) an exit survey, 5) a follow-up email survey, and 6) analysis of data from multiple sources. In addition to validating Staples' personas, the data is helping the firm prioritize site investments, design cross-channel interactions, and plan long-term strategy. Companies interested in following the Staples model should make sure they have robust personas, focus the research on a short list of key questions, solicit executive sponsorship, and carefully manage expectations.

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