It could be as simple as to suggest that a company just puts a search into Google and sees what comes out top, but how do you really find the best office equipment retailer online, and what should you be looking for?
Cheap Isn’t Always Cheerful
Just like people, every business is different, and that could have an impact on the suppliers that you choose to work with. If you are entirely driven by price, then it will be simple to find your preferred partner as you can simply compare the cost and choose the lowest – but remember, that comes with some risk, cheap isn’t always cheerful.
Having some measurement in place that gives you an idea of the cost and the quality of the items you are purchasing would make more sense, as you know that you are getting best value, not just lowest price.
When you are comparing online organisations, look for those that offer a good range of branded items that you would trust if you were to purchase them from a traditional retailer. Using the same principles as you would when you are clothes shopping could give you a good benchmark. You wouldn’t buy a top, dress or pair of jeans if they were poor quality, so don’t invest in office equipment if it won’t last.
It is becoming increasingly common for companies to share their values and that doesn’t mean uploading a statement to the website, it is a set of rules and principles that govern all that they do including the suppliers they rely on for their products and services.
When you are looking for an office equipment supplier, make sure that they approach and engage with their customers in a manner that would be reflective of your business and values. Not only will this create a consistency in the way you work but is also likely to lead to longer-term relationships.
Products That Will Last the Test of Time
Office equipment such as printers, shredders, desktop computers and monitors are items that you will rely on day in and day out and that is why it is imperative that when you purchase these products you choose those that will last.
Some of these items aren’t cheap and making sure they come with a warranty can give you some peace of mind. Also, checking on review sites will give you an insight into the experience that other people have had so that you can make a more informed decision about the purchases that you are making before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
Use Your Networks to Ask for Recommendations
Rather than spending your time comparing one product to another, with many of them being exactly the same, focus on the things that will differentiate the suppliers you choose, including service and personal recommendation.
LinkedIn and Twitter are great tools to rely on when it comes to supplier referrals and given that they are both public platforms, people will rarely endorse a third party unless they work for them or have a relationship with them.
Also, look at their social media accounts and their website. If the sites are outdated and difficult to use, you need to decide if they are the business for you.
Finding ecommerce businesses that invest in their website in the same way a traditional retailer would their shop window, improving the user experience and offering excellent functionality gives a perceived credibility by association.
Office Monster is a great example of an ecommerce business that has invested heavily in its online infrastructure over the last eighteen months, putting into practice the feedback that it has had from customers, which all improves the experience that they receive.
Working in this way means that the business is serious about its customers but also that it takes feedback seriously and is a company that can be trusted and relied upon.
Test and Measure
When you have found a supplier that you feel you could trust, that has come with a recommendation and offers everything that you need at a good price, but also of a perceived quality, then try them out.
First and foremost, find out if there is someone that you can speak to in person. This is a good indication of what customer experience and service you can expect from them. If a company wants you to rely on email or web chat, then this may be an insight into how difficult they will be to work with when you have a query or problem.
Testing and measuring will give you a good benchmark to work against. Once you have this in place, you can find a supplier that meets with all of your needs and that you can build a relationship with over time to receive even further benefits and added value.