Office Supplies In Demand
Offering office supplies adds up to quality customer service and a bigger bottom line.
As distributors continue to evolve from forms-based enterprises to suppliers of printed products and related services, the office supplies and consumables market has emerged as a solid profit center with room to grow.
Totaling more than $30 million in sales in 2001, office supplies accounted for more than 7 percent of BFL&S's Top 100 Distributors' sales, continuing the overall trend toward diversification and demonstrating the market's sustained capacity for growth.
With such remarkable figures to boast about, BFL&S set out to find the story behind this profitable market's burgeoning potential.
Jeff Green, president and CEO of Print Data, Hopelawn, N.J., said his company's initial entry into the business products arena was purely market driven. "A few of our customers asked if we knew where they could buy office supply items because of our forms business," he said. "Then we discovered that as forms distributors, we could purchase myriad other products wholesale in addition to forms."
As the company began to research the market, it realized its other customers could benefit from this service as well. Further research indicated that business products could be as lucrative as forms, and possibly even more so if sold and marketed properly. This is due to the diversity of the product line and its relatively higher profit margins.
With that in mind, the company began vigorously promoting its new services and looking for new clients. It wasn't long before they found success.
"In the past year we've sold 25 percent more business products than in the prior year," noted Green. "And sales have increased 500 percent over the past five years."
Green said he also anticipates substantial increases in this product line's sales for many years to come. However, as rosy as the market's future may appear right now, some companies have been in it for awhile.