SAN MATEO -- Staples has acquired Silicon Valley software company Runa in the latest move by the office supply retailer to challenge online powerhouse Amazon.
Staples announced the acquisition on Wednesday, saying Runa's software will create a more personalized shopping experience for online customers. The software system sends automated personalized promotions to customers based on their shopping history, real-time delivery estimates and offers for cheaper shipping.
Runa, with headquarters in San Mateo, becomes the latest e-commerce hub for Staples, which also recently opened tech labs in Seattle and Massachusetts. Staples' executive vice resident of Global E-Commerce, Faisal Masud, said the company plans to hire 30 to 40 new employees.
"We want to go where the talent is," Masud said in an interview Wednesday.
Massachusetts-based Staples wants to control in-house -- and not outsource -- all of the basic website functions, and Runa helps with that effort, Masud said. Staples is the second-largest e-commerce company after Amazon, with deals to provide office supplies to about 60 percent of the nation's 1,000 largest companies.
Staples has been working to remake its image as a brick-and-mortar retailer that sells printer paper and envelopes, office supplies that grow increasingly dated with tech innovations and more companies moving their operations to the cloud. Staples has funneled resources into building up its mobile presence and e-commerce offerings, including same-day delivery through Google (GOOG) Shopping Express and next-day delivery with its own fleet. Staples.com launched in 1999, four years after Amazon.com went live.
Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.