Buying office supplies online saves you the trouble of time spent on trips to the store and carrying heavy boxes. Shopping online for office supplies makes the process easier, whether you are looking for home office supplies or keeping a large company stocked with paper, ink and equipment. As a bonus, online office supply sites offer free or cheap shipping and discounts on the products you use most.
Make a List
It is a good idea to make a shopping list (as you would when making an actual trip to the store) to make your shopping process simpler and to be sure you don t forget any essential items. On your list, note specific details like paper size/weight or printer model (for ink purchases). This way, you ll be able to fill your shopping cart in a few minutes when you sit down to place your order.
Buy Larger Quantities
You ll get a better deal on shipping by ordering in larger quantities with many online office supply sites, so it is a good idea to order as much as you can each time. Some sites also offer quantity discounts, so if there are supplies you know you ll need again in a month, it may save you money to order more now and get a cheaper unit price.
Consider Recycled/Eco-Friendly Products
Many of the sites surveyed in this review offer a range of recycled or eco-friendly office supply products. Eco-friendly products are equal in quality to their standard counterparts, but their production has a lower environmental impact. Eco-friendly products may be made of post-consumer or pre-consumer recycled materials, or they may be produced using earth-friendly methods, chemicals or facilities.
This is a great area to explore eco-friendly alternatives because most office supplies are disposable and it is such a high-volume industry. Although the prices are sometimes higher, you and your business can take pride in having done your part to help the environment.
Setting up a New Office
If you re setting up a new office, you ll need a lot of equipment in addition to renewable supplies. Most of the sites surveyed in this review carry a range of electronics and office machines. When you select a new electronics product, be sure you pick out all the peripherals/accessories/supplies you ll need to keep it up and running. For example, when you buy a new printer, it s a good idea to buy a few ink cartridges and a lot of paper.
Many of the surveyed sites also carry lines of office furniture. Before you pick out a desk or workstation, be sure you measure your available space and find matching chairs that are the appropriate height. Some sites do not accept furniture returns, especially after the furniture has been assembled, so it is important to select the right products the first time.
Keep Track of Orders and Make a Schedule
One of the downfalls of buying supplies online is the shipping delay. Start keeping track of your supply usage to avoid being caught without paper or ink while waiting for your order to arrive. Over time you ll be able to establish an average supply usage rate and plan ahead for when to place your next order. Many office supply sites allow shoppers to create an account to keep track of order history. This can be a great tool for keeping track of how often you need to re-order.
Many small and mid-sized businesses buy office supplies online. Many office supply websites offer business accounts to support these higher-volume customers. Once you ve set up a commercial account, you may have access to wholesale pricing/quantity discounts, tax exemption and/or credit terms.
If your supplier offers credit for business accounts, you may be able to order as often as needed and receive a monthly bill. This is a great option for companies that prefer not to shop online using a credit card. Once you ve found a supplier you like, call or email them to find out about business account offerings. You can still shop online for your office supplies even after you ve set up your special account.
See our Office Supplies Online for a comparison of several office supply websites.