Monday, February 23, 2009

Who Has The Best Prices?

Who has the best prices on all office supplies in Vancouver? Is it Costless Express, the big American giants like Staples or Grand & Toy, or other local independent stationers?
(Drum roll)... None of the above!
Let me explain.
There are over 25,000 items in our catalogue, and I would be hard pressed to tell you Costless Express has the best price on every single item every single day. The same is true for all our competition. No one company has the best price on EVERYTHING all the time (although some competitors' marketing would seem to differ). How do I know? We check.
Each quarter at Costless Express, we research each competitor and look at their sell prices on the top few hundred items (sometimes up to 500 items). That's all most offices ever buy; the top few hundred items, like file folders, sticky notes, pens, staples, copy paper and the like. These are the items where a customer wants to know their office supply company is saving them money. After the top items are out of the way, a customer wants to know pricing is competitive on the remaining 24,800ish items and if they happen to find it at a lower price somewhere else - that their supplier will beat the price. Costless Express and most other competitors offer a "we will beat anyone's price" policy, but the customer may need to do a bit of leg work first to find the lower "delivered" price. Possibly they saw it on special somewhere else.
So I bet you want to know how we stacked up to the mighty STAPLES on price. How about 42.9% cheaper on the top 130 items!
How about against a small company from Vancouver Island called E. Madill Office Supply? 39.7% cheaper on the top 130 items!
If you would like to see the side by side comparison in an excel file, please call your Fantastic Account Manager and they will email you a copy.
On a side note about Grand and Toy - I recently won a nice sized account away from them by doing a cost analysis of their purchases and comparing the prices to our own. What I found was this customer received a 58% discount on the catalogue items not marked NET (if it is a NET item, the G&T discount does not apply). The customer had given me his web user name and password so I could collect the data in real time.
When I met with him, I said I could save him 10% in three words. DON'T LOG IN!
If he were to just use the street prices online from G&T, he would have been farther ahead than with his discount. Don't ask me why G&T did this, but I want to offer a big THANKS to them for a nice new customer.
To wrap this up, I guess what I'm saying is I try to offer our customers a sharp price on the items that matter most and fair prices on everything else. No games or bait and switch like some other competitors seem to try. Costless Express customers save the most and get the best prices everyday.