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Who is your stationery supplier?

Know your supplier
What are the tricks of the trade?
Why are most catalogue prices so high?
How are such huge discounts possible?
Why do Viking limit the amount of cheap copier I can buy?
How can some suppliers afford to give away such expensive freebies?
Do eco products cost more?

 



Know your supplier

 

 

Stationer

Turnover

Origin

Comments

Our view

Staples

$25 billion 2011 American

World's biggest

For those who like dealing with big global suppliers or need a pan european deal.

 

They can only offer the same type of products & prices as your local UK stationer or us.

Office Depot

who own Viking

$11.5 billion 2011 American Biggest in the UK Same as above
Lyreco ? French French French
Viking Up to £400 million Owned by Office Depot Good at appearing cheap For those that like freebies. Don't we all? ...but can the quality be that good?.. & who's paying for it?...& where did it get made?....& by whom?
Staples Direct ? Owned by Staples Absorbed Neat Ideas As above

 

 

There are thousands of local stationers who provide the type of service only a local supplier can. There’s one or more near you.

 

Why not Keep it Local & move from the big boys. What about giving 4R Office a go?


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What are the tricks of the trade?


Any of the following ring a bell?


Mail order tactics include trying to hook in new customers with cheap prices on core products like paper. Once you've been seduced with one of those low priced "hook 'em & reel them in" mini catalogues from Viking & Staples you're then part of a process. The next mini catalogue you receive will have higher average prices in the hope that subsequent orders are placed habitually. Many never notice as prices edge up, never review and never change. Those that do stop buying will get sent the "hook 'em" prices again & if you bite the whole process starts again.

 

Giveaways are another successful way to attract initial interest. As we say above we all like to feel we're getting something for nothing but is that possible? Anything free is likely to be made to a low standard & at the lowest cost with little consideration for the environment or disadvantaged workers who have to accept low wages & sub standard working/living conditions. Are children involved? As we've seen in the meat & clothing industry the supply chain can become confused, fragmented and out of control with unauthorised sub contracting making it impoossible to manage. 

 

Contract stationers work with something called matrix pricing which again is designed to attract end users with low priced core items. Allegedly the non-core product prices may then be inflated and non-contract items can be charged at list prices which are very high.

 

A shady practice that has been uncovered is the switching of contract products at contract prices to non contract items at list price. This works on big end users with complex buying patterns making it difficult to cross reference orders item by item with invoices. There have been law suits in America to do with this activity. 


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Why are some catalogue prices so high?


Manufacturers RRP’s are used which build in enough flex for huge discounts.


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How are such huge discounts possible?


The RRP’s are used as a basis for these discounts & we're not sure where some of them come from.

 

Consumers do like a deal or special offer but do business buyers really base their buying decison on the fact they get a freebie of unknown quality, value or country of origin? The size of Viking suggests yes.' We would prefer to use only nett pricing because we believe that many business people see through discounts and simply want value for money and a partnership based on mutual trust. However for the moment our ecommerce platform data management loads and displays the RRP automatically but we're working on it.


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Why do Viking sometimes limit the amount of cheap copier I can buy?


Simple. They're selling it so cheaply that they need to limit the damage & gamble on you buying other profitable stuff at the same time or later. You'd save your time and money by ignoring their offers & sticking with a consistently good deal on everything you use.

 

Did we mention that we sell the same products as Viking? You'll find a Banner branded equivalent to all Viking or Office Depot branded products.


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Who pays for all the freebies?


These giveaways are mainly funded by brand owners but like all marketing budgets it has to come from somewhere. At some point it has to be recovered by building it into pricing structures or taken out of profit.....but whose? Just be careful its not yours.


We all like freebies but we believe it only makes sense if 1) the recipient needs it 2) it works properly 3) is of a high enough quality so that it doesn't get thrown away within days 4) its safe 5) children were not used in its manufacture 6) whoever made it is paid a decent wage & treated fairly.


4R Office wants to challenge the concept of giving something away without due consideration.


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Do eco products cost more?


Over the years two things have distorted the relative price of eco products.


Firstly, when these products were first introduced there simply wasn’t the critical mass that allowed manufacturers to take advantage of economies of scale. In other words, making smaller volumes costs more.


Secondly distributors regarded these new products as a way of enhancing margins so there has been a lot of profiteering.


This created the illusion that eco products were more expensive.


Now that eco stationery is more mainstream the pricing is based on the same as everything else; strength of the brand, quality, competition, economy, cost of manufacture which includes workers pay and conditions.


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Together we can make a difference

 

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