It doesn’t matter what sized company you work for or how large the clients are that you work with, there is often one simple rule of doing business; people buy people. Knowing that this is the case, being local can also have an impact on the suppliers you use and that’s why we are focusing on the 8 unbelievable benefits of having a local office stationery supplier.
Running a successful company means relying on a network of suppliers that can deliver the products and services you need, at a quality you would expect. What makes this process so challenging is that with so many online suppliers, many businesses offer exactly the same products at a very similar price.
What sets suppliers apart and makes all the difference is customer service, and that is when choosing a local company can deliver additional benefits.
- Building Long-Term Relationships
Good business is all about relationships whether that be with employees, customers or suppliers. When you treat someone the way that you would like to be treated it can have a big difference on the longer-term benefits you receive.
Lots of companies get this wrong, particularly when dealing with suppliers, and don’t recognise the value that can come from being a little more understanding when things go wrong. The simple term ‘manners cost nothing’ can have a very real impact on the bottom line.
- Benefitting from New Products or Services
When you work with local suppliers, it is likely that you have a closer relationship with them. A simple phone call to ask what’s in stock and what is new can give you access to products and services that you didn’t know were available.
You wouldn’t get this from some of the larger brands that bring together a marketplace of disparate retailers. Creating meaningful associations when you are relying on multiple sellers can be difficult but working with local suppliers makes it easier to have a rapport and to be in more regular contact that may otherwise be possible.
- Rewarding Loyalty
In the same way that supermarkets and coffee shops reward loyalty, a number of online retailers also do the same for suppliers that choose them as preferred partners. Take Office Monster as just one example.
The online office supplier has more than 22,000 products available that customers can access. Working with a number of companies that are local to the business, which is based in West Yorkshire, the brand can give loyalty points that can be redeemed against other products that are purchased including treats for the office!
Knowing that it has a very strong brand profile in Yorkshire, Office Monster is able to capitalise on this and to become preferred partner with multiple academies, schools and businesses throughout the region.
- Economies of Scale
When you purchase multiple products from a single source supplier, you should expect that based on volume you will receive certain economies of scale. As an example, if you purchase in bulk you will save money when compared to buying products in singles.
Copier paper, stationery and office refreshments such as coffee and tea are a great example of where money can be saved and, if you have a personal relationship with your local supplier, it is easy to pick the phone up and request a discount if you place a larger order than was intended.
- Products That You Need for Your Business
When you know a business and you understand the way that they work, it is easier to ask questions that to others may seem uncomfortable. For instance, when you work with a local office supplier it may be that they stock a particular coffee, tea or brand of water, whereas you prefer an alternative.
Rather than finding a second supplier, all you need to do is to pick up the phone and ask if it would be possible to add this specific product to those that are offered. There is every chance that you won’t be the only person that wants to do this and it still results in a sale for your preferred supplier.
- Free Delivery
Working with a local office supplier can reduce the costs for them as well as you. Think about delivery, your supplier no longer has to send a courier miles to deliver your products – if convenient, you may even be able to pop by to pick up your order in person.
There is nothing stopping you from building the relationship further and requesting a coffee and a catch up when you drop by to find out what the plans are for the future and how this could benefit your business.
- Managing Returns
From time to time things will go wrong. What will make all the difference is the way that you behave and handle these situations. If you become defensive or aggressive then you can expect that your supplier – local or otherwise – will get a certain impression of what it is like to work with you.
If you work together where possible to correct the problems and to be as understanding as you can be, you can expect that the supplier you rely on will go out of their way in the future to keep you happy and to build on the foundations that you now have.
How many times have you heard someone in the office say ‘What a lovely person’ or ‘I really like working with them’? It’s always better to be that person than the alternative, which will see people avoiding your problems rather than going out of their way to improve the situation for you.
- Referrals from Similar Customers
One of the biggest benefits to choosing to work with a local office supplier is referral business. When people are starting out or are looking for suppliers that they can rely on, they often go to other companies to ask for suggestions and recommendations.
In the same way that you would recommend your customers, they too will recommend you. So, when you are working with suppliers it is worth remembering that they also have a network that rely on their recommendations when it comes to who they will use to support their business.
Working with local suppliers can be the obvious choice for those companies that want to better understand the personality and values of those that they rely on. Not only can this benefit a business in terms of the costs that they are paying or the loyalty rewards that they receive but also in terms of the service that they can expect.
When people buy people it makes sense to ensure that whether you are the supplier or the customer, you think local before making your final choice.