Ordering stationery online

Whether you do it daily weekly or monthly, ordering the stationery can be a time consuming task, with trawling through endless pages of catalogues, phoning through orders or even going to pick up bits and pieces from the local stationers. Now there is a faster, more effective way to get the stationery cupboard restocked … by ordering online.

By Suzanne Brown

With hundreds of on-line stationers now springing up, how do you know which ones to trust, which ones suit your needs best and what pitfalls to watch out for?

Look out for delivery charges, especially when only ordering a few items. Any savings made on purchasing the product online can easily be eaten up by delivery costs. I was recently caught out with Ryman, who charge a fee of £5.28 for all deliveries under £35.00.

When using a site for the first time, you should always check if you are required to place a minimum order. Ordering online should be convenient for you, so if you just need a pack of pencils, a pack of pencils is all you should need to order!

Check next-day delivery options - do you have to order before a certain time and what happens around bank holidays and the festive season? Also check delivery locations as many companies still do not deliver to the Scottish Islands, Isle of Mann, Channel Islands or Isle of Scilly.

Look out for deals, especially two for one offers or products of the month. Once registered with a stationer they will often send you discounts or promotional offers usually based on products that you have previously ordered.

Whilst it is often cheaper to purchase on online don’t take it for granted that it always will be. Always keep your eye on alternative suppliers to ensure you get the best deals at all times. Many companies are now offering ‘price match’ services, so if you find something cheaper why not hold them to their word and see if they can match it?

No more diving in to the petty cash tin or spending on the company credit card - the majority of sites allow accounts facilities to be set up free of charge. This process is becoming easier easier with accounts only taking a maximum of a couple of hours process, so you can be ordering the same day.

For those of you who do not wish to set up credit agreements and be invoiced, you can still pay by credit or debit card. Although they do not advertise the option, some will allow you to pay by a bank transfer if you ask the customer service or sales team directly.

Returns policy and guarantees
All companies operate a returns policy as well as your obvious standard statutory rights. All companies normally have a copy of this policy on their websites, so take a look before ordering. Whilst you’re there, check out what guarantees they offer such as 12 month product cover, and quality assurances.

Ready to take the plunge?
Here are just a few online stationers worth trying

www.euroffice.co.ukUK office suppliers, specialising in the needs of small-to-mid sized businesses.
www.lyreco.co.ukOperates throughout Europe, Canada and Asia, with 18 subsidiaries worldwide.
www.ryman.co.ukLong established office product and stationery retailer, specialising in the home office, small office and student market
www.viking-direct.co.ukEstablished in 1960, the UK office supplies company is now present in over 16 countries worldwide.
www.ukofficedirect.co.ukSupplier of high quality, low priced office supplies and stationery - over 25,000 products to choose from.

Suzanne Brown is a freelance secretary, writer and mum. Between nappy changes and sleepless nights she can be found chained to her laptop working on her latest masterpiece...

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