I Have the Buying Advantage! -- Shopping with Staples Advantage
Written: Jan 30, 2012
Always looking for ways to save money, I found a way using Staples Advantage … Staples newest take on online shopping.
What is Staples Advantage?
Staples Advantage is the branch of Staples.com that reaches out to businesses and organizations that have more than twenty employees. Initially, a sales rep called me and came to visit to discuss a targeted buying program for our company. Once we had ironed out the details, they set up a portal for me to their website with a user ID and password. Joining Staples Advantage cost nothing. Even though they would like a company to purchase all their supplies through them, there are no written commitments.
The website sells pretty much what you would expect to find on Staples.com in the way of office supplies, technology, furniture, and break-room supplies. The Staples Advantage website also replaces the StaplesLink website. (StaplesLink used to be the place where businesses could make purchases. Staples revamped the site and buying process, repackaging it as Staples Advantage.)
Let’s Go Shopping Online!
So, I’ll cut to the chase … is it worth shopping at Staples Advantage online? Yes. The deal extended to our company is that shipping is free with next-day delivery on most items. An order minimum is $50.00 (easy for us to meet). Plus, if an order totals $150.00 or more … we receive an additional 7-percent discount. This 7-percent is taken off the entire order, whether the items are on sale, special pricing is extended to us, or at regular price. I do my best to consolidate orders to take advantage of the additional 7-percent savings.
The website is easy to navigate. A large Search Box is at the top of the screen. Enter a search term or the Staples item number if you know it. I prefer to shop this way so that I narrow the products I am searching for. For instance, I typed in “highlighter”, and the results included 185 items. I can narrow those results by product brand, category or type (desk or pocket highlighter, Post-It Flags, Erasable highlighters to name a few) … or by tip type (chisel, micro chisel, wide), or barrel type or even highlighter color (yellow, blue, green). There are a lot of options available to refine the search results. I can also place a checkmark in front of products that I want to compare.
Along the left of the page is a navigation menu with the usual choices (here are a few): Ink/Toner, Print Services, Promotional Products, Calendars, Coffee, Envelopes, Filing Supplies, Furniture, Paper, Pens, Printers, School Supplies. If you are a returning customer, some previously purchased items are displayed in the center of the home page along with featured products.
I like it that I can create custom Shopping Lists of frequently purchased items. This saves me time. My lists are organized by supply type (ex: Batteries, Binders, Break Room, Computer, Filing, Labels, Writing Instruments, Ink and Toner).
Shopping at Staples Advantage online is easy. Each product page displays a photograph with the option of enlarging it. There is a detailed description as well as a tab for product specifications. The Staples and manufacturer’s item numbers are both displayed in addition to the price and how many of the item come in a package. Simply enter a quantity and click the “Add to Cart” button. At the top of each page is a shopping cart image that displays how many products are in the cart along with a running order total. You can view the order by clicking on the cart icon, or checkout by clicking the nearby “Checkout” button.
Viewing the cart allows one to remove items or change quantities. If the list is long, you can sort it a variety of ways (ex: price, quantity, manufacturer item number). You can also print the list.
Checkout is simple, too. Since the Staples representative registered me, all my information was entered into their system. Whenever I click the “Checkout” button, the screen displays my name, the company name and address, my phone number and email. There are areas to fill in additional information including a Purchase Order number.
We have it set up so that our account is automatically invoiced. However, Staples Advantage also accepts credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express. Credit card information can be saved to a profile if desired. Once an order is placed, I shortly receive an email order confirmation and later an email notifying me of shipment.
Another great feature is that an account representative was assigned to us. If I need an item that is not on the Staples Advantage website, or that I see cheaper than is listed on Staples Advantage … I can contact the Staples representative. So far, and many special pricing requests later, he has lowered the prices on every item I have submitted. In addition, they will match Amazon.com pricing (and give the additional 7-percent saving for orders totaling $150.00 or more). For instance, I have special ordered computer software, computer supplies, and even office heaters by contacting the Staples representative for better pricing. He lowered the prices on the computer supplies and heaters by about 50-percent and matched the low software price from Amazon.com. However, some items he could not add to my Staples Advantage online account for repeat purchasing, so for a few customized priced items I have to contact Staples Advantage by phone or email to order them.
Delivery and Satisfaction
In most instances, I receive my Staples Advantage shipment the next business day after I place the order. The only time I haven’t is for special orders, or in the rare instance an item is backordered. The orders are delivered straight to my desk by a courteous Staples driver. For some special orders, they came via a shipper such as UPS. The packages arrive in good condition and contain the items we ordered. Once we received a package destined for someone else on the delivery route. I phoned the toll-free number for StaplesCustomer Service, explained the situation, left the package at our front desk, and Staples picked it up a day later.
Shopping online through Staples Advantage has proven cost effective. Being able to request lower prices and the added 7-percent discount for orders over $150.00 is helping our bottom line. For us, this experience has only benefits.
I hope you found this review useful.
Enjoy the day,
Please read my other reviews:
Staples (online store)
W.B. Mason (online store)
Reliable Office Supplies (online store)
SoftwareMedia.com (online Store)
Copyright 2012 Dawn L. Stewart