We’re going to take a break from blogging about social networking integration, online sales taxes, back to school shopping and the like and instead focus on a new survey that we received this week that delves into how companies use the web to purchase office supplies.
Admittedly, this isn’t an area that we’ve spent much time covering but the simple fact is that that office supplies are one of the most heavily shopped-for product categories out there. After all, there are millions of offices around this country alone and they all need to be outfitted with paper, writing devices, computers, telephones, and countless other items to keep things running smoothly.
Office supply giant Staples commissioned the survey of 300 small businesses (designated as companies with 20 employees or less) to identify their preferences and experiences when shopping for business supplies online, particularly against the backdrop of a difficult economic climate.
Not surprisingly, the results seem to indicate that small businesses are just as concerned about today’s economic climate as everyone else. Respondents are also being particularly diligent in looking at the details of online retailers’ delivery policies when making decisions that save time and money.
Overall 99 percent of those surveyed say that free shipping is a crucial factor when they’re picking a retailer to buy office supplies from. We’ve seen this sentiment repeated by shoppers of every type time and again and those retailers that still stubbornly stick to full-price shipping without any discount whatsoever are probably losing out on potential customers as a result.
When asked what the greatest benefit to online ordering was, 86 percent of respondents cited that it saves them time. Of those who do order supplies online, nearly half say they wouldn’t be able to operate their business without that option.
For those businesses that don’t shop online for office supplies and the like, exactly half said it’s because of high shipping costs while 51 percent also said it’s simply more convenient to pick up items in a physical storefront.
Survey results also echoed the value of another growing trend across all forms and types of online shopping and retail: mobile commerce. Those small businesses that shop online three or more times a month are usually twice as likely to rely on mobile shopping capabilities than those that only place one or two orders a month. Furthermore, 27 percent of those polled indicated that they already have mobile devices capable of making web purchases.
Leave us your thoughts and comments below!