Who But W.B. Mason -- A Great Office Supply Resource
Dec 24, 2006 (Updated Dec 24, 2006)
For years I heard of W.B. Mason and have seen their trucks delivering office supplies. Their trucks are very noticeable with their logo. For some reason, they inspired trust (dont ask me why!). So when a W.B. Mason representative visited me at work in my capacity as office supply purchaser, I thought ... why not give them a chance.
A Brief Intro to W.B. Mason
W.B. Mason started in 1898 in Brockton, Massachusetts as a rubberstamp company. A year later, founder William Betts began free delivery of his products using a horse-drawn wagon. The wagon had an image of his face painting on the side. The company changed ownership in 1963. Today the fleet of trucks still displays the image of William Betts on the side of their delivery trucks.
W.B. Mason is a privately held office supply company that serves the Northeast of the United states with distribution centers from Maine to Pennsylvania. They do not have a bricks-and-mortar store. Office supplies can only be purchased through their website or via telephone.
Navigating the Website
Website URL: http://www.wbmason.com
This is a fairly easy website to navigate. Overall, the site is straight forward and ordering is simple.
At the Top
There is a blue Log In button to click for returning customers. Beneath this is a Search box and a My Lists link. The search feature works well. For instance, I typed in paper clips and a new screen appeared. It showed 37 search results and broke them out by category (in this case: paper clips, binder clips, butterfly clamps). Click on a category to view the items.
If you have saved items to a personalized shopping list, then the My Lists link will open your list. Every office item has a link that can be clicked to add that item to My List. The My List feature allows one to save frequently purchased items (saving time looking for them on the site). I have created several lists, broken into categories. For example, General Supplies, Shipping, Engineering, Toner.
To the Left
There are a series of vertical links at the left of the page that appear one very page. The Quick Order button allows one to enter specific item numbers and quantities to speed the order process. The Home button always returns you to the Home Page.
The My Account button leads to a personalized page that includes your account information. The selections under this category include: My Settings (to manage email preferences and whether to show graphics on the site), also view My Lists and My Contract items and prices. You can also change your password from this area.
There is also a button for Order History. As you can imagine, this area shows past orders, listed by date. The page displays the order number, order date, order total and status. Click on the order number to view a detailed list of what was purchased, including pricing.
The Contact button brings one to a page where an email can be sent to W.B. Mason. Their telephone number is also provided: 1-888-WBMASON. The links also include About W.B., which provides a brief history of the company, and a Help button.
Beneath this is a blue checkout button and a brief summary of the current order. The summary includes the total number of items ordered and a sub-total of the dollar amount.
At the Right
There is a box at the right of the page that includes special notices or information, such as rebate specials or holiday shipping hours.
In the Middle
Along the top of the middle section is a series of links to specialized areas: Office Products, Ink & Toner, Paper, Technology, Furniture.
The center of the Home page features all of the above categories except there are links under each category leading to specific areas. For instance, under the Paper category are links to: Card & Cover Stock, Copy Paper, Notebooks, Pads & Filler, Paper Rolls, Stationery and More Paper.
Along the Bottom
Shopping the Site
Each item page features a product photograph. To the right of the photo is a description of the product. Beneath this is an area to fill in the quantity to purchase with an Add to Cart button. There is also a Add to List button in case you want to include this product in your My List area.
Unfortunately, there is no way to enlarge the item photographs. They are one size. Usually the pictures are easy to view; however, sometimes I would like a closeup view (which doesnt exist on this site). W.B. Mason does have a print catalog, so sometimes looking at the catalog helps.
At any time during the ordering process, you can change quantities. You can also remove and add items to the cart. The Shopping Cart can be sorted, too, by: Most Popular, Your Price, Item Number, Item Description, Recycled as well as a few other choices.
First Ill say the website and catalog prices are high. But the good news is that the prices are negotiable. I spoke with a W.B. Mason representative who told me to email her a list of frequently purchased items. I not only did this ... but I also listed the prices I was currently paying (hoping that W.B. Mason would undercut the competition).
Sure enough, the representative came back with very attractive prices. They undercut the competition by quite a bit! The W.B. Mason representative then loaded the special pricing into my account on the website so that whenever I logged in, the pricing lower pricing would be there for me.
Here is a sample of website pricing versus the special pricing given to me:
Papermate Stick Pens, blue
Website Price: 98-cents / My Special Price: 39-cents a dozen
Avery File Folder Labels for the Printer (# AVE5164)
Website Price: $31.95 / My Special Price: $18.39 a box
Avery Top-Loading Sheet Protectors (# AVE74131)
Website Price: $13.58 / My Special Price: $8.09 a box
Tombow Correction Tape, white
Website Price: $3.29 / My Special Price: $2.95 each
Bic Briteliner Highlighter, yellow
Website Price: $6.09 / My Special Price: $2.99 a dozen
Hammermill Color Paper, goldenrod
Website Price: $6.87 / My Special Price: $3.25 a ream
HP Toner Cartridge for Laserjet (# HEW92298A)
Website Price: $97.99 / My Special Price: $74.99
Minolta Toner Cartridge for PagePro 9100
Website Price: $218.99 / My Special Price: $171.99
W.B. Mason also offers their own brand of products, which are quite good. I have tried their photocopy paper (20#, 92 brightness at $19.95 a case!), binder clips, sticky notes, perforated writing tablets, manilla file folders, hanging folders. The prices I negotiated for these items is excellent. Ex: Letter-size manilla file folders $2.95 a box, Sticky Notes (3"x3") $1.49 a dozen, Jumbo paperclips (100 per box) 5-cents a box.
Check out is easy. Just click the blue Checkout button to the left of the page. The next screen that opens allows me to review my order and make any adjustments. I can click the continue button to advance to the page where my shipping information is located. Here I can type in a purchase order number.
I arranged with my W.B. Mason representative to have our account invoiced. They also accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB credit cards.
After submitting the order, a page is displayed that shows my order number. I can print the page out. However, shortly after placing the order, I receive an email that lists the items in my order as well as the order number.
Shipping & Delivery
If I place my order before 11:00 a.m., W.B. Mason will deliver it the same day. Also, everything is returnable within a certain amount of time (some items have to be returned within 14 days), and W.B. Mason will pick up returns the following day if requested. Satisfaction is guaranteed.
Best yet, there is Free Shipping. No matter what the size of the order, I never pay shipping costs.
W.B. Mason delivers my orders via one of their fleet trucks. The driver is always polite and helpful. The website says they also ship via UPS Ground.
I am very pleased with W.B. Mason. My only wish is that the website and catalog offered up-front low prices. Instead, a W.B. Mason representative had to provide my special pricing. The process was simple, though, and I am happy with the prices provided to me. As a matter of fact, I am compiling another list of frequently purchased items that I intend to submit so that I can obtain lower prices than I am currently paying. Shopping with W.B. Mason has been a great experience.
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy the day,
Please read my other reviews:
Staples.com Online Store
StaplesLink.com Online Store lower pricing for business customers
BestBuy Online Store
Buy.com Online Store
Circuit City.com Online Store
BJs Wholesale Club
Copyright 2006 Dawn L. Stewart
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