Office supplies are used by millions of people on a daily basis. Whether for work, school, home, or gifting, writing and paper products are continuously in demand. Pens, notepads, and calendars are a great example of types of product that consumers regularly seek. Obviously, this also brings forward countless opportunity for business, and opens many ways to sell these stationery products.
If you’ve entered or are considering taking over this industry, you can provide your customers with the shopping experience they’re looking for. As Millennials have become the largest living generations, having an online store is the way to reach this and the younger generations. With the right tips for retailing office supplies, you can get your online store to compete with industry bestsellers. Here are the 5 best ways to sell stationery products:
- Target your (marketing) efforts
Before starting a stationery eBusiness, or before adding items to your core offering, start with assessing whether your strategy for selling stationery products is targeted enough, or if there is a way for retargeting your marketing and branding efforts to address a niche. For example, if you’ve been focusing only on individuals, you may consider targeting businesses that regularly use stationery products, such as florists, bakeries and caterers, wedding-related shops, party supply stores, and hotels. In addition, target events where individuals and businesses interested in buying stationery products gather, such as gift and bridal shows. With the advent of new marketing and fulfilment technologies, many eBusinesses are weaponizing these new technologies such as personalization to conquer niche markets.
- Connect with your niche
Many businesses or, actually, the introduction of new product lines new product additions do not take off because they fail to connect and communicate effectively with their target customers. A simple strategy is to maintain a dialogue with your existing and potential customers. Use their feedback to improve future customer experiences. In addition, use social media such as social networks, online chat, webcasts and forums to connect with your niche segment. Research from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) demonstrates how in this social media age, successful online businesses are based on relationships where the business as such focuses on the needs of its customers to develop and market its product. By enabling your customer to become genuine niche brand ambassadors, this gives you an additional channel to sell, and is the beginning of how social media can positively impact your growth strategy.
- Sell more online with an office supplies delivery subscription
Certain products always seem like a challenge to remember to buy, no matter how inconvenient it is to run out of them. Stationery falls into that category of products that are used just enough to use up regularly, but slowly enough that they’re always forgotten until you’ve run out. While the actual use of the item has become routine, the act of replacing it still hasn’t; nonetheless, this represents an opportunity for your business to alleviate this stress for your customers, and also guarantee a recurrent income stream for your business. By offering an office supply refill subscription, you’re also likely to earn more customers when they discover that your website offers subscriptions, as this feature represents the type of convenience eCommerce shoppers are looking for.
- Dropshipping office supplies
Dropshipping is an eCommerce fulfillment process where the retailer doesn’t keep any inventory in stock, but forwards orders to their supplier. The retailer chooses a markup to add to each product and then keeps the difference when an order comes in. The supplier itself then handles the shipping orders directly to the customer. This reduces workload and costs for the online business, as there’s no need to spend on inventory, warehousing maintenance, or packing expenses, and reduces delivery time for the customer. To start office supplies, you can consider selling in a marketplace, or begin by building a relationship with a supplier willing to dropship for you. You might also want to consider working with a partner that has a worldwide network of fulfillers, depending on your ambitions.
- Differentiate your offering with product personalization
When looking at what’s driving consumer demand in stationery, you will find that customers are willing to pay more for product personalization. Indeed, Millennials are looking to pay a 20% premium for the opportunity of personalizing their purchase. Not only does the appeal of uniqueness speak to this largest living generation, but offering product personalization is known to yield higher conversion rates as the majority of Millennials now expect some form of personalization. Thanks to the advent of new marketing and fulfilment technologies, product personalization remains avant-garde in stationery and will certainly help you differentiate your business from the competition.
As English writer and social critic Charles Dickens said, “there is something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery.” Knowing this, what better way is there in this day and age to sell stationery products than to thoroughly tap into each of its niches, and make it easier for your customers to get that “comfort”? Well, the answer is here: by offering stationery product personalization you have the potential to increase your revenue with minimal technological tweaks to your online store, as well as by leveraging the latest technologies and the increased willingness to pay for personalized products. Indeed, this will constitute the major growth driver in the upcoming years.