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Updated Apr 13, 2023

The Best Places for Purchasing Office Supplies

Here are some solid purchasing programs for your business.

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Kimberlee Leonard, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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Purchasing office supplies can be an overwhelming task. In addition to buying everything on your checklist, you want to get the best possible prices. For small business owners who are new to purchasing office supplies online or need help sorting through the best options, here are some solid savings programs to investigate.

Look for a program that offers the products that you regularly need at prices you can afford. Don’t be afraid to use multiple programs to get the best deals. Here are some options to consider:

Amazon Business

For many people, shopping at Amazon is a no-brainer. But if you want additional tools that are geared directly to businesses, consider Amazon Business, which aims to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, from a sole proprietor to a large corporation.

Some items have discounts exclusively for business users. These deals can reduce your costs on large purchases of multiple units of the same product. You can add team members to your Amazon account and create a workflow approval process so inventory replenishment and other ordering are streamlined.

To qualify, you’ll need to prove that you’re a real business by submitting verification of IRS filings, a business license or documentation from your state/commonwealth that contains an official insignia. Additionally, you’ll need another document to prove employment for the individual submitting the application. If you’re a sole proprietor, make sure you indicate that you own the business.

The key issue, of course, comes down to cost. Amazon Business costs $69 per year, but if you want Business Prime work docs and guided buying benefits, those features will cost you more. Amazon Business Prime costs $179 annually for up to three users, with plans increasing in cost based on how many team members you want on the plan. It tops out at $10,099 per year for organizations with more than 100 users. Perks include free one- or two-day shipping on all eligible items on Amazon.

TipBottom line
Manage your Business Prime account and save money by limiting the number of users who can access the system.

Walmart

Walmart is another major option to consider. The company offers a corporate gift card program that allows you to do bulk orders.

With online Walmart purchases, you can track your order history, invoices and purchase order numbers. There’s also the Walmart for Business section of the company’s website that focuses on common office essentials. The Walmart Business+ option costs $98 per year (plus tax) and gives companies 2% back on orders of $250 or more, free shipping and store delivery, and more.

Apple Purchase Program

Apple offers a volume purchase program (VPP), which can be used for both hardware and software purchases. With this service, you can purchase apps and books in bulk and manage them on Apple devices. Plus, you can get business-to-business apps built specifically for your business. In the VPP, you can manage how apps and books are distributed and track who has what content. 

Samsung

A Samsung Business account gives small business owners access to exclusive advantages, such as volume pricing, free shipping and returns. Samsung offers a financing program to help ease the pain of major purchases, as well as a trade-in program for new Galaxy devices.  

FYIDid you know
Samsung's online storefront provides discounts on hardware products for employees of participating companies.

Staples

Staples has a small business membership plan that offers discounts and exclusive savings, and the selection of business products is extensive. 

The Premium Membership Program allows you to receive members-only pricing on thousands of products that are part of your overhead costs. You also get an account manager to help you find the solutions that will work best for your business. This program also has an employee incentives platform that offers discounts to more than 400 restaurants and travel destinations. 

Wayfair

Wayfair is more than a place for your favorite home goods; it also has many business products, including office furniture. There are more than 7 million items to choose from. 

The Wayfair Professional program offers free shipping on orders over $35, as well as members-only savings. You get a designated account manager who will help you find the right products and assist with your account. 

Tips for saving money on office supplies

  • Use a corporate card or account. This makes it easy to keep track of your purchases so you can focus on finding the best deal without being tied to one retailer. Many corporate credit cards offer the opportunity to earn points or cash back that can be used to further help the business. If you have to spend money, you might as well make it work for you.
  • Shop locally. Many times, a local store is happy to accommodate the needs of a local business and offer discounts for bulk purchases or a steady stream of orders.
  • Buy items in bulk. The cost per unit is much lower when items are purchased in bulk. Items such as pens, printer paper and ink cartridges should be bought in bulk to cut down on costs. Office supply stores often offer discounts when items are bought in bulk, but it’s essential to buy only the items you will use. Stationery items can be stored for long periods of time. Some of the benefits of buying in bulk include lower costs and a long-term, steady supply of items.
  • Compare prices. Before you choose a retailer, compare prices at different stores. A small price difference could result in significant cost savings when you buy items in bulk.
  • Shop online. There are many benefits of shopping for office supplies online. There’s a wide range of products to choose from, and online retailers can often offer cheaper prices due to lower overhead costs.
  • Track your monthly expenses. Management should use highly rated accounting software to keep track of how much is spent on office supplies. 
author image
Kimberlee Leonard, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Kimberlee Leonard is an insurance expert who guides business owners through the complicated world of business insurance. A former State Farm agency owner herself, Leonard started her decades-long career as a financial consultant advising on investment strategies before switching her focus to insurance and risk mitigation for businesses. Leonard has developed insurance primers on everything from small business insurance costs to specific policies, such as excess liability insurance. She has also reviewed business software tools, analyzed employee retirement plan providers and continues to share insights on financial topics as they relate to business. Leonard's work has been published in Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Fortune, Newsweek and other respected outlets.
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