Staples.com -- Has Everything for the Office
Apr 22, 2005 (Updated Dec 14, 2006)
|Ease of Ordering:
I have been shopping from Staples for years. At first I frequented their brick-and-mortar stores ... but then I needed printer ink and couldnt easily get to a store. So I thought of Staples.com. A good move on my part!
Navigating the Site
The Home page is presented well and is easy to maneuver through. For finding specific products, it is fastest to use the Search feature near the top of the page. For example, I typed in RSVP pen. A screen opens asking for your zip code (this is important since the zip code provides information to calculate a delivery time). After the zip code is entered, a screen of search results is displayed. In answer to my RSVP pen search, the results showed two categories: Pen Refills with 6 matches, and Ballpoint Stick Pens with 5 matches. When I clicked on the Ballpoint Stick Pens, a window opened displaying the RSVP pens available for purchase. There is also the option of choosing whether to view product images next to the descriptions. I like this feature since some computers are slow at loading graphics.
At the Top
The very top of the page offers text links to: Order Status, Staples Rewards, Apply for Business Credit, Jobs, Find a Store, Help.
Beneath this are links set up like file folder tabs offering these choices: Home, Office Supplies, Furniture, Technology, Custom Printing, Business Services, My Account.
There are also options that allow one to Shop By Catalog (enter catalog order numbers, or request a catalog) ... or to Shop By Store (view a circular for your local store, or find a nearby Staples store).
To the Left
The left side of the Home page features text and photo links to areas of the Staples website. The first link is for Weekly Specials. The next several photo links feature some of the weekly specials, and beneath this is a text link for the sites Ink & Toner Finder. This handy link allows one to search for printer ink by brand name and then model number. There is also a link for Furniture Deals. At the bottom on the left side of the page is an area where you can enter your e-mail address to receive e-mail notices from Staples.
In the Middle
The center of the Home page is filled with text links to various areas of the website. These links are broken into these categories: Office Supplies, Furniture, Technology, and Custom Printing.
For example, under Office Supplies, some of the links include: Art Supplies, Batteries, Calendars & Planners, Envelopes, Filing Supplies, Labels, Storage & Organization, Writing & Correction Supplies.
To the Right
The right of the Home page offers an area to keep track of your order and account information. If you are a member, there are windows to fill in your user name and password. You can also register for an account. You can also check your Order Status or view your Order History. There is a Reorder button that allows you to reorder items you purchased in the past.
The Shopping Cart is also located on the right side of the screen. There is a summary window that shows how many items are currently in the cart, and an item summary with total dollars purchased. There is also a small reminder stating that most orders over $50 qualify for free shipping. A Checkout button and View Cart Details button are also located here.
If desired, you can create a list of Favorite Items. This feature even allows one to create multiple lists. For instance, you can create a list of items that are purchased once a month and a list of items that are purchased sporadically throughout the year.
At the Bottom
Each product page features a large photo of the product and to the left of the photo a description of the product. Beneath the photo and description is listed the item number, expected delivery date and how many units are included in the package. For example, using the RSVP pen example, there are 12 units (pens) in the cardboard box. A list of Product Specifications is also featured.
The price is listed in large red letters. If you are interested in purchasing the item in a quantity of usually three or more, information is displayed with a lower price for bulk ordering. There is a box to the right of the price where the quantity can be changed. Then click the Add to Cart button. Or select the button that says Add to Favorites, which will add the item to your Favorite Items list.
At the left of each product page another related product photo is often displayed with a link to go to that product. Beneath this is a link to obtain the Manufacturers Product Warranty Information. As far as Im concerned, this Warranty Information link is useless. Whenever I have clicked it, a new window opens with the address of a Staples location where I can write to obtain the information.
The right of the product screen always shows the My Account information, which includes how many items are currently in the shopping cart, item summaries and a dollar total of what is in the cart.
I was low on inkjet printer cartridges, but at the time, I wasnt in a position to go to a store. Thats when I discovered how easy it is to order from Staples.com. Their Ink & Toner Finder feature took me step-by-step through selecting the correct inkjet cartridge for my printer. In a matter of minutes I had the items in my shopping cart. Best yet, I qualified for free shipping. In a few days, the inkjet cartridges arrived. I was delighted!
One time I had a dollars-off coupon code for additional savings on my order. The only catch was that I had to spend a certain amount of money. I was a dollar short of that set amount. So I added a box of paperclips to the order, which was enough to let me use the coupon. When the packages arrived, I received two large boxes. My order should have fit into one box. When I opened the boxes, I discovered my one box of paperclips had a huge box all its own. I didnt realize the paperclips were so special! Actually, Staples.com has done this over packaging quite a few times on my orders. Its a waste of packing material.
Staples.com has a huge variety of merchandise, which makes one-stop office supply shopping easy. The website is simple to navigate. The products are well displayed with a photo. Sometimes the descriptions need more detail, particularly if the product is technical or computer oriented. Pricing is always easy to locate on the page, and I can easily adjust the quantity I wish to purchase.
There is one thing the website could do better. Many times I have wanted to buy a product with related accessories, and the product page often does not show a list of those related accessories. Staples is missing out on a good way to sell more merchandise! For example, I visited the product page for a Logitech cordless mouse. The page showed me the product and a smaller photo of a mousepad (one photo / one style) that I might like to purchase, but the page did not offer the AA batteries that I would need to operate the mouse.
Checkout & Payment
Staples makes it easy to checkout. Just click the Checkout button on any of the pages. If you are a member and have not logged in, just enter your user name and password. If you are not registered at Staples.com, then you will need to provide your name, address, e-mail address and phone number as well as create a username and select a password to proceed with ordering.
A screen appears with the shipping and billing address as well as a summary of the order. On this screen is the opportunity to enter a coupon code if you have one. You can also edit the order. Or if you forgot something, click the Continue Shopping button.
Scroll down the screen to enter payment information. Staples accepts their Staples credit card, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. They also require the 3-digit security ID Number on the back of the credit card. If you choose, there is a checkbox that gives Staples.com approval to save your credit card information. However, they will not save the 3-digit ID Number.
If you are ordering from a company, there is a box to enter a Purchase Order number. There is also a way to qualify for tax-exemption if you have a tax-exempt ID number.
Click the Submit Order button to finish. Staples will send an e-mail to confirm the order. Once the order ships, another e-mail is sent with order tracking information.
If you wish to check the progress of your order, just go to the Staples.com website and click Order Status. A screen appears where you enter the order number and shipping zip code. Then click Go to obtain the latest information regarding your order.
Note that Staples.com says they do not rent or sell e-mail addresses.
Staples Rebate Center
A nice feature of the website is the Rebate Center. When I purchased a label maker, it had a $20 Staples rebate. Click the Rebate Center link on the Home page and a new screen opens. Here you can choose whether the rebate item was purchased in a Staples store, through the catalog, or at Staples.com. The site has step-by-step instructions for filling out and submitting rebates online.
You can also track rebates from the Rebate Center. Click on either Track an Easy Rebate (a rebate submitted online), or Track a Mail-in Rebate. As a test, I submitted the rebate number for a rebate I submitted six months ago and long ago received. The information was still online. It shows that I submitted a mail-in rebate for $20, the date the rebate check was issued, the check number, and when the check cleared the bank.
In case you are looking for rebates, there is also a link to Find Rebate Offers. Click on this link and a screen appears asking for information regarding the type of rebate you are searching for. Search by manufacturer, SKU or UPC number, a product keyword, or a rebate number if you know it. When I typed in the keyword computer, three rebate offers for printers appeared.
A great feature of Staples.com is that delivery is free on most orders over $50. They do not offer a typical chart of shipping charges. Instead, if you do not spend the minimum $50 amount, you have to go through the Checkout process to learn what the shipping fee will total. I hate it when online stores make one go through the Checkout procedure to discover the total shipping charges. Staples also charges a $75.00 fee for customizable computers.
All my packages have arrived via UPS on time and in good condition. Most of the items I have ordered arrived within a few days. Staples recommends having someone available to sign for the package(s) between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. If you wish the UPS driver to deliver the packages without obtaining a signature, there is a Driver Release Agreement that you can print from the Staples website, fill out and sign, and post where the driver will see it. The link to this release form can be found by clicking the Help button on the Staples website and then clicking on Shipping & Returns and then Delivery Rates & Policy.
One time I realized that I had ordered an item I did not need. Returning the item was simple. The item had to be in its original packaging. I went to my local Staples store with the item and receipt. They happily accepted the return and refunded my money. If I had not had a receipt, I would only have been able to obtain an in-store credit.
The Staples Rewards card is free. Use the card when buying from Staples.com or their brick-and-mortar stores. Provided you spend $200 a quarter, you can earn 2% back in rewards (up to $15 each quarter). You will also receive free delivery on all catalog or online purchases. If you frequent the Copy & Print Center, the rewards increase to 20% (up to $200 per quarter when $50 or more is spent during each quarter). There are also special bonus products that earn extra rewards when purchased. You can also tie the Staples Reward Card to a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) for greater rewards.
Shopping the Brick-and-Mortar Stores
I also enjoy shopping in the Staples brick-and-mortar stores. For years I have visited at least four of the Staples stores in my region. Every one of those stores is easy to navigate with large signs pointing the way to products. The stores are clean with friendly store personnel on hand to answer questions.
During one of my visits, I bought a new inkjet printer for my parents. A polite man, wearing the Staples red shirt, asked if he could help me. He showed me where the printers were located, and helped me find the printer I needed. He also pointed out the various inkjet cartridges that went with the printer and told me information I would not have otherwise known if he had not offered to help me.
I will definitely buy from Staples.com again. It is convenient, and I have never had a problem with the quality of merchandise or delivery. Now about those oversize cartons they keep stuffing with pens and paperclips ... Im sure the environment would thank them for using cartons better suited in size to the merchandise being shipped.
If you own a business (or purchase supplies for one), you may want to check out StaplesLink.com online store. StaplesLink.com offers lower prices on most items than Staples.com.
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
Toll-free Phone: 800-3STAPLE
Please read my other reviews:
Buy.com Online Store
BestBuy.com Online Store
Harry and David Online and at the Mall
Betty Crocker Online Catalog
Cooking.com Online Store
The Republic of Tea Online Store
Burpee Seeds Online Store
Johnnys Selected Seeds Online Store
Parks Seed Online Store
Dutch Gardens Online Store
Keepsake Quilting Online Store
Joann.com Online Store
Copyright 2005 Dawn L. Stewart
What product did you purchase or try to purchase? office supplies