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InformationWeek 500: 20 Great Ideas To Steal

These InformationWeek 500 innovators are trying unique approaches to solve business problems. Could your company use a few extra bright ideas?
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United Stationers, a wholesale distributor of office products, is transforming itself into a provider of broader, revenue-generating services, such as online marketing and technology, to resellers.

The company provides a range of services to help 25,000 resellers with e-commerce, including cross-media content for print, the Web and e-mail. Its search engine is embedded in hundreds of reseller Web sites.

Increasingly, United Stationers also is selling technology. It offers resellers a wholesale distribution software suite that they can customize. And it recently acquired MBS Dev, a software and services provider to resellers, so it can provide more services, including integration of e-commerce and other business functions, such as customer service, purchasing, finance, credit and collections, and analytics.

Next, United Stationers plans to create a development laboratory for online marketing and merchandising techniques for office products. It's also planning a private cloud that will provide a revenue-generating ERP and e-commerce offering to resellers.

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