Owning an office product store requires more than just staying on top of the needs of companies that require supplies. You also need a solid marketing plan to keep moving office products off of your shelves and into your customer’s hands. Part of your plan needs to include tracking of the external factors that affect sales of office products. This helps you identify ways to market your merchandise so customers remember who to call when they need anything from copier paper and legal pads to desks and light bulbs.
So, we sat down with the folks at Office Crave, and discussed all the factors that can impact promoting an office product or firm via marketing channels, social or otherwise.
Not only do you face competition from local office supply products but you also face stiff competition from chain megastores. E-commerce office supply businesses make the industry even more competitive, since they make shopping and price comparison easier than ever. To combat competition, you must find ways to stand out from the competition while building relationships with buyers so they want to call you first when they need to place a supply order.
Changing Office Place
The use of cubicles is in decline, according to a March 2010 article in “U.S. News & World Report,” making work spaces more open and affecting the pockets of office product companies that sell interlocking wall systems. Some companies use long worktables with built-in plug-ins for laptops and chargers. Plus, more workers are logging in from their home or the nearest coffee shop, making shared offices more common and the need for office supplies for two separate offices less likely. Representing new lines of furniture or partnering with companies that offer forward-thinking space solutions is key to marketing to keep up with the way office space is used nowadays.
The continued trend to go green at work means companies want office products that are recyclable and environmentally friendly. This includes looking for Energy Star equipment that powers down when no one is using it and using refillable ink and toner cartridges rather than throwing the old cartridges into the trash. As of publication, at least one of the larger chain office product stores offers a special catalog focused on products that are environmentally friendly, making it more difficult for mom and pop office product supply stores to compete when it comes to going green. Use fliers, store banners, advertising and your website to express how your supply store offers green office supplies to help companies become more environmentally correct.
Rather than buying brand new furniture, companies are pulling old furniture out of storage facilities and updating items to fit in with their new office layout. Businesses can also buy used or refurbished copy machines at half the price of new ones. While bringing back old furnishings is a money saver and helps keep items out of the landfill, it means your store loses out on furniture and copier sales. The key to marketing new items versus recycled goods is to point out the benefits, such as that buying a new copier means accessing the latest copy speed technology, fast repair service and full warranties if something breaks down.