Creating partnerships that benefit business

Contributed by the Office Monster team

With an increasing number of office suppliers launching online stores, as well as having a presence on the high street, it has never been more important for businesses within the sector to create relationships that will deliver a return for all involved.

The challenge starts when you consider how the products, service and benefits offered by suppliers differ. In most instances, the approach taken is very similar – and, in some cases, it will be exactly the same.

With retailers recognising that customers expect more, they add free delivery, 30-day terms and free gifts as standard. As such, companies need to find new ways of working if they are to scale their sales and secure further market share.

Director of Office Monster, Steve Hanley, comments: “Like most industries, office supplies is a competitive marketplace but what makes it interesting is the willingness from companies to work together.

“We have great relationships with our suppliers that have evolved over the years but that doesn’t stop us from looking at how we can work with others. This could be by extending a range that is doing particularly well or adding a completely new product to our site that could potentially take us in a new direction.”

Office Monster has seen first-hand how keeping an open mind can benefit business both in terms of its bottom line and that of its suppliers.

Steve continues: “The overlap is often quite apparent when we speak with suppliers and it would be fair to suggest that in some instances they are competitors but that doesn’t put us off. More often than not, we can find ways in which we can work together.”

Looking at unique ways that relationships can work, such as by providing a specific range that is exclusive to a supplier with a return based on sales, in the same way that commission would work for a traditional retailer, is just one example of how networks can start to build a business, rather than hinder it.

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With more than 22,000 products online, including stationery, office furniture, catering supplies and janitorial items, Office Monster is always looking to extend its network within the sector and meet with new contacts, as well as those it is already aware of.

Steve continues: “Part of our strategy is to extend what we do to include new products and services that will be relevant for our growing number of customers. We also look at how we are able to complement what we offer. Taking the approach that everyone in the market is a competitor and never should our paths cross simply limits what we are able to achieve.

“We are not egotistical enough to think that we know everything, but we do have a good website with great functionality and a massive range of products. Creating partnerships with other businesses and encouraging more collaboration in the sector allows us to build on our success and that can never be a bad thing.”

Office Monster is encouraging others to take the same approach and to extend the network of businesses from the office supplies market that trade between each other, sharing the advantages that this can bring.

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