Office supplies is a product category that people can easily sell online and bring better profit than other products.
While large companies have seemingly insatiable demands for stationery and office supplies and really can deal only with large vendors, there is a growing group of small business people and those working from home who need to make small, infrequent orders. They might enjoy dealing with small vendors and the personalised customer service which comes with that.
Here are some reasons why opening a small online stationery online or at home can generate good profit - and fill a useful service for people who are keen to buy local in these unusual times.
- Everyone working in an office or at home needs office supplies: People cannot work without them. From basic products such as pens, papers, notebooks, notes, calendars, etc. to gadgets such as shelf speakers, desk lamps, USBs, printers, routers, etc. They are all tools of the trade.
- People use stationery every day so they need replacements, often at short notice. It’s not surprising then that they will repeat their orders often - and stay loyal to a good supplier. Such customers are easy to upsell to - not just for more supplies but for gifts for family, friends and clients as well.
- Low shipping costs means low overheads: Most office supplies are small and lightweight. Besides that, they are easy to move and rarely fragile. Offering low shipping costs and fast turnaround is a key to attract customers and keep them loyal.
- Save costs: One of the advantages to selling office supplies online is that the owner can manage the store by themself and do not need to rent a retail space to display the products. All the owner needs is a social media account or their own website to introduce the products.
- Starting with a small store needs little capital and the inventory can be scaled as demand builds and turnover grows.
- Last but not least: A small stationery business allows specialisation, so beyond essential ‘daily supplies’ there’s an opportunity to build a customer base who want a particular style of product: vintage, in a certain colour group, or from a specific brand, for example.
Successful online stationery sellers will need to diversify the product range on their virtual shelves and be creative with the ‘story’ of the business and what makes it special.
Those planning to open a niche online stationery store will need to source stock from a wholesale stationery supplier. The best place to find them in Australia is TradeSquare, which offers a vast range of stationery supplies from multiple vendors, all purchasable in a single order and all supplied and shipped by local Australian businesses.