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In the Box10Smashing the big box16A caring culture22simply statedFEATURESOut of the BoxGet NoticedOne of the findings from thelatest Vision research fromUnited Stationers is that only33 percent of consumerssurveyed knew of an independentreseller in their market.Among other implications thisstatistic might have is the fact that,in all likelihood, two-thirds of yourpotential customers may never haveheard of your company.Becoming known and findingsuccess in today’s marketplace canboth be challenging, yet leadingindependent resellers not onlysucceed, but at the same time, theymanage to out-maneuver and outselltheir big-box competitors (see“Smashing the Big Box” on page 10in this issue). What these resellershave in common are the strong brandsthey’ve built in their markets.Building a strong brandidentity is essentialto any competitivemarketing strategy.3the line on ...28Niche market31e-solutionsFor BusinessDEPARTMENTS36mind yourbusiness42cool Stuff/Hot DEALS44the final wordCompetitive marketing defineshow you differentiate your offering andcreate value for your market. Buildinga strong brand identity is essential toany competitive marketing strategy.Successful resellers build on theirbrand identity to tell a story aboutwho they are, what they do, andhow they do it differently and moreeffectively than their competitors.Have you started telling your brandstory?Michael ChazinUnited Stationers Marketing | mchazin@ussco.comOFF CEL NE1


The Line On...| ... News | ... Office Products | ... Tech | ... JanSan | ... Breakroom | ... Furniture | ... Kudos |SOMETHING’S BREWINGWith more than 400 billion cups consumed every year,coffee is the world’s most popular beverageG... BreakroomCoffee sold into U.S. offices and businessesreached $4 billion in sales last year; $548 millionor close to 14 percent of all coffee consumed in officesand businesses is purchased from theoffice products channel. Roughly 25 percentof office workers drink coffee at work, resultingin $200 or more per person per year in coffeeconsumption in the workplace.To help resellers grow coffee sales, UnitedStationers has unveiled a new program:“Office Coffee—Enriching Breakrooms toBoardrooms.” The Office Coffee programprovides resellers solution-based, office coffeefocusedinformation, sales, and promotionaltools to drive incremental business whilehelping end users enrich their businesses.Selling office coffee can be a great way forresellers to spark sales. Coffee sales lead towinning in the breakroom, and winning in the breakroom can leadto additional profitable sales in creamer, sugar, filters, and stirrers,as well as other products. Winning in the breakroom leads to highercustomer engagement and can open the way to additionalOffice Supply and JanSan business.Our Office Coffee program will explain the top-linebusiness benefits to your customers and outline how arobust coffee program can increase associate productivityfor your customers while creating an associatefriendlywork environment. Along with the sales andpromotional tools, the Office Coffee program includesinformation on end-user coffee needs, overviews ofdifferent brewing equipment and delivery systems,information on coffee roasters, coverage of coffeebasics including elements of brewing, and a wholelot more.DRINK UP For more information, visit the OfficeJan Resource Centerat www.officejan.com or contact your United account manager.OFF CEL NE3


The Line On ...... TechMPS CONVENIENCEA variety of offerings makes HQueuethe ideal MPS program for resellers... Office ProductsSAMPLE SOLUTIONSample kits allow consumers to test the quality andvalue of Universal productsUnited Stationers’ Managed Print Services portfolio includesa variety of solutions to meet the needs of your businesswhile offering the simplicity and convenience that yourcustomers are looking for.HQueue Service Packs: A simple, one-year extended warranty.An HQueue service pack offers next-business-day break/fix serviceon covered printers, including labor and parts. Service is provided bya nationwide network of authorized service professionals.HQueue Basic: A simple print monitoring solution that providesresellers the ability to directly manage and fulfill supplies. Resellersreceive automated toner and service alerts that they can manageand fulfill as they desire.HQueue Lite: A simple toner-only solution. HQueue Lite providesmonitoring and automatic toner fulfillment. It doesn’t include serviceor parts. Lite contracts are available in one-year and three-year terms.HQueue Lite is designed for customers using about three toners permonth or customers that print a minimum of 15,000 pages per month.This solution is billed monthly at a cost-per-page rate and bills foractual pages printed.HQueue Small Business is as simple as managed print can get.Simple to transact, this SKU-based solution includes all components,printer monitoring, supplies, parts and labor into one low cost perprinter. HQueue Small Business is ideal for customers using about10 toners per month or printing less than 50,000 pages.HQueue Enterprise: A complete managed print solution for complexprinting environments. HQueue Enterprise offers a comprehensiveprinter fleet evaluation and rationalization. It also includes monitoringand alerts, automated toner fulfillment, service (including parts andlabor), and robust reporting capabilities. HQueue Enterprise is billedin a blended cost-per-page rate and is ideal for customers using morethan 10 toners per month or printing more than 50,000 pages.EMAIL US For more information about any of the HQueue solutions, please emailhqueuemps@ussco.com.Universal sample kits are available to help you make the bestimpression on customers and prospects. These kits are perfectto offer as a thank-you gift to customers for their business, while showcasingyour Universal products. They can also be used in acquisitioncampaigns as they can help you get a foot in the door with samplesof the most commonly ordered office products.Sample kits are available in two sizes and both feature refreshedlayouts and graphics for heightened impact. The standard kit(UNV-STNDKIT) costs $1 and is a great way to promote the Universalbrand economically while building goodwill and promoting your valueas a supplier. The kit includes a sugarcane-based 5-inch x 8-inch pad,mini binder clip, high-capacity gel pen, sideways correction tape,and liquid pen highlighter. An accompanying brochure makes thisa great tool for educating consumers at trade shows or for penetrationmarketing programs.The premium kit (UNV-PREMKIT) costs $2.50 and is a higherimpact alternative that makes the perfect “welcome” drop-off. Itoffers newly featured items, giving it more value than ever. In additionto what is included in the standard kit, the premium version offersassorted tape flags, ultra-colored fan-fold notes, a comfort-gripmechanical pencil, and ¾-inch office tape. This larger kit is idealfor “welcome to the community” mailings, penetration strategies,and acquisition programs.PICK ONE Either Universal sample kit can be ordered via your normal order process.4 September/October 2011


NEWNOTES FORNEWPLACES!Stick a padStick a note3MADHolds stronger and longer,yet removes cleanly.Now available at United Stationers!MMM-F330-4SSYMMM-F330-4SSAUItem No. Size Plain/Lined Sheets/Pad Pads/Pack UnitAssorted Bright ColorsMMM-F330-12SSAU 3 x 3 Plain 25 12 PKMMM-F330-4SSAU 3 x 3 Plain 25 4 PKElectric YellowMMM-F330-12SSY 3 x 3 Plain 25 12 PKMMM-F330-4SSY 3 x 3 Plain 25 4 PK3M and Post-it are trademarks of 3M. © 3M 2011Post-it ® Notes are made in U.S.A.OFF CEL NE5


The Line On ...... Office Products... FurnitureFuture FurnitureAlera is introducing some terrific newfurniture products for 2012RESPONSIBLERECYCLINGThe industry is workingon acceptable standardsfor recycling householdbatteriesAt a stakeholder summit last April, Energizer and other batterymanufacturers, recyclers, resellers, NGOs, consumers,and industry experts gathered to create an environmentallyand economically sustainable national program for recyclinghousehold batteries at the end of their useful life.Today, consumer knowledge of batteries is limited and many are notaware of different battery chemistries, particularly if they are of the sameform or shape, such as rechargeable AA batteries versus single-use AAbatteries. Many consumers perceive batteries to contain heavy metals,to require special handling at end‐of‐life, and to have content of highvalue when recycled.Participants at the Battery Recycling Summit determined that educatingconsumers and shaping their behavior to increase their participationis critical to the success of any nationwide recycling solution. Anda carefully designed system for the collection and recycling of batterieswould have the potential to be more environmentally favorable thandisposal in landfills.Components of such a recycling system would include consumer,industry, and market needs; stakeholder collaboration; and environmentaland social impacts. Participants concluded that an effective recyclingsystem would need to be industry-led, market-driven, and convenientfor consumers to use.“We plan to work with stakeholders across the value chain, includingresearchers, recyclers, and everyone in the industry, to establish a solutionthat is environmentally beneficial and economically sustainable,”said Michelle Atkinson, director of Energizer global marketing.When you already have a full line of office suites, seating,tables, storage, and conference and reception furniture thatis Greenguard Certified, about all you can do to improve on itis to expand the line even further. Alera is proposing to do just thatfor 2012 with the addition of new seating lines and a new laminate suite.Modern silver metalwork and contemporary design are highlightsof the new SedinaAG office suite from Alera. SedinaAG offers the abilityto create a myriad of desking solutions to meet the needs of mostoffices. Surfaces are durable, thermally fused wood-grain laminatethat are scratch-, dent-, and water-resistant and feature protective 3mmbanding. A full-width punched metal modesty panel makes SedinaAGa standout offering for any office. Two finishes are offered: maple andespresso.Soft-touch leather is the covering of choice for Neratoli, a newcontemporary chair line from Alera. Offered in both high-back andmid-back versions, Neratoli offers a slim profile with a swivel/tilt base,padded arm caps, chrome accents, and a waterfall seat edge. It’savailable in black, red, or white.All Alera products have been certified by The Greenguard EnvironmentalInstitute. They have been screened for more than 10,000 volatileorganic compounds, emit the fewest possible chemicals into indoorenvironments, and contribute to the creation of healthier interiors.“Alera is the perfect solution for the transaction convenience andfunctional buyer who expects consistency in quality, performance, andvalue,” said Geneva Savage, Alera brand manager for United StationersFurniture Division. “With Greenguard Certification, all Alera productsare suitable for use in environments where children and others work,play, or reside.”ADD VALUE Talk to your United Supply or Furniture Division account manager to add thesegreat new products to your furniture portfolio.LEARN MORE Additional information can be found at www.batterysummit.com.6 September/October 2011


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The Line On ...... KudosHome RunSeattle Mariners select Keeney’s for diversity honorKeeney’s Office Supply and Office Interiors, Seattle’s leading independentoffice products dealer, has been selected for the 2011 Jackie Robinson “MostValuable Diverse Business Partner” Award by the Seattle Mariners and MajorLeague Baseball.The award recognizes proactive leadership, commitment to sound business practices,quality product, efficiency, reliability, and accountability and is presented to companiesthat Major League Baseball says reflect the character and commitment to excellenceof baseball legend Jackie Robinson.Keeney’s, a woman-owned business that has served the Seattle market since 1947,has a record of service as a primary vendor with the Seattle Mariners that goes back morethan a decade.“It’s a great honor to have Keeney’s name linked with someone of the stature of JackieRobinson,” commented Lisa Keeney McCarthy, president of Keeney’s.“As a locally owned and operated independent business with deep roots in Seattle,we are proud to support the home team with our unique blend of personal service,attention to detail, and outstanding quality and value,” she added.... TechMemory MuscleNext generation flash drives fromInnovera offer expanded memory insmaller packagesIn almost every aspect of daily life, the needfor smaller, lighter electronics has becomea mandatory driving force in new productdesign. Digital memory is the latest category to getdownsized, and in response, Innovera has launchedthe new generation of portable data storage—theInnovera ultra-compact 4GB and 8GB chip-on-board(COB) flash drives.This new COB technology and design allowsInnovera to stay competitive in the ever-changingtechnology accessory market. The Innovera COBflash drive features a slider case that retracts the chipwhen not in use to protect the board. The lanyard andclip offer flexible portability options and avoid loss.This new flash drive can be used in USB 2.0ports just like the flash drives you use today. Evenbetter, the ultra compact design is plug-and-play, sono drivers are required. Stay up-to-date on the latesttechnology accessories with the complete line ofInnovera products.MEMORY FLASH See the full line of Innovera technologyaccessories on biggestbook.com.Lisa Keeney McCarthy, president of Keeney’s, and Chuck Armstrong, Seattle Mariners president.8 September/October 2011


smashing theIndependents comeout ahead whentheir brands gaina solid reputation forservice, value, anda confirmed localsensitivity10 September/October 2011


Making a profit in today’s market is a tough job. The general economicmalaise and a sharper focus on controlling expenses bycorporate purchasing departments are affecting all sorts ofbusinesses. In addition, independent business products resellersface growing competitive threats on a variety of fronts. The rise ofe-commerce marked a significant change in the retailing paradigm,and now retailers ranging from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to Staples arebeginning to question if bigger really is better?Before the age of e-commerce, retailing was a game of scale,according to the blog post “Results Count” on the IntegratedMarketing Solutions website. The June 3, 2011, blog explains thatbig-box retailers gained an advantage throughbroad assortments and efficient supply chainsmoving products to the masses. It poses the question,“In the expanding age of online retailing, willbig-box stores need to shrink to survive?”Wal-Mart, Office Depot, and Staples are reducingtraditional store sizes by as much as 38 percent,and opening stores as small as 5,000 squarefeet to cut costs and enter urban markets. Whilethese changes appear to indicate a new competitivethreat to local independent business productsprofessionals, many independents are developingstrategies to capitalize on their own advantages.The independents’ determined branding efforts,buy-local push, growing online presence, andunequalled customer relations have strengthenedtheir position in the business products marketplace.By continuing to be fiercely competitivein these areas, they’ll be ready to face head-onany re-grouping the big boxes are scramblingto achieve.Brand Awareness Is Critical“Competition is literally coming at us from all angles,” says JoshKunkle, vice president, AMO Office Supply, Ft. Wayne, Ind. “We’re seeingSam’s Club pitch itself to small businesses in our area. Owned byWal-Mart, they know that they can run retail better than Staples, OfficeMax, and Office Depot, and they have the traffic volume,” he says. Thismakes us more aware of pushing our brand because this competitionis not going away, Kunkle states. AMO takes a bold approach to itsbranding initiatives. According to Kunkle, “The first thing that I wantpeople to think about when they hear our name or see our logo isprice. I know that is a very scary proposition. It’s dangerous becauseWith the Internet,social media, anddifferent avenuesour prospectiveclients have formaking decisionsand choices, ifyou don’t havea consistentbrand and brandmessage, you’llbe left by thewayside.—Mike Helou,Office Xpress, Inc.I’m leading with loss leaders. But what that does is make the acquisitionprocess much quicker. We’re at a point now where we get neworders every single day and that’s very exciting,” he says.Brand awareness is probably one of the most important factors ingrowing your business, according to Mike Helou, general manager,Office Xpress, Inc., San Fernando Valley, Calif. “With the Internet,social media, and different avenues our prospective clients have formaking decisions and choices, if you don’t have a consistent brandand brand message, you’ll be left by the wayside,” he says. OfficeXpress creates an image that they are capable of playing with the‘big boys.’ “Our prospective clients don’t look at us and feel we’retoo small to service them or unable to competewith Staples or Depot. From the moment that westart that courtship, we court them as if we werea Staples or Depot,” says Helou. He continues tosay that just exuding that aura puts clients at easebecause they sense that the company has donethis before. “That opens up the forum to dobusiness without having to spend time provingyourself,” Helou says.Tell Your StoryBased on United’s own research, only 33 percentof people surveyed knew of an independentreseller in their market, according to MeganOgden, United’s senior manager of marketingdevelopment and ideation. “It is critical for ourresellers to get the word out about who they areand what differentiates them, because if they won’t,no one else will,” she says. “Every independentreseller has an awesome story, but they oftentake their great stories for granted. They givegreat service every day, they provide value everyday—it’s just what they do,” says Ogden. They cancompete with the big boxes day in and day out, but to be given thatopportunity, they need to organize a consistent, compelling story.Independents need to create a story that says this is who they are,what they do, and how they do it differently than their competitors.Then they need to tell that story so people know independents area good choice. In the end, it definitely will lead to sales, she states.Compelling statistics abound when evaluating and promoting the“buy local” concept. For the fourth year in a row, a national surveyof independent businesses by the Institute for Local Self-Reliancehas found that independent businesses in communities with anOFF CEL NE11


active “buy local” campaign have experiencedmarkedly stronger revenue growth compared tothose located in areas without such a campaign.Independent businesses in places with a “buylocal” initiative reported revenue growth of5.6 percent on average in 2010, compared to2.1 percent growth where there were no “buylocal” campaigns.All Sales Are LocalPublic awareness of the benefits of supportinglocally-owned businesses has also increased inthe last year, the survey indicates. But why thisoccurs is equally as fascinating. “There is a sayingthat all politics is local. To some degree, all retailis still local,” explains Clarke Caywood, professorof integrated marketing, Northwestern University,Evanston, Ill. “There’s a connection made somewherebetween the buyer and the seller based onlocality—the understanding of the way things aredone in different parts of the country or state. Itmay have something to do with weather, temperature,humidity, and the resulting methods of packingand shipping,” he says. The local aspect maybe influenced by gentility or the lack of refinement,Caywood continues. “It has to do with the perceivedconfidence of understanding my situation,of putting a real human value to it, and of knowingthat my problem will be fixed because myproducts will be delivered,” he says.Businesses in a local market also know whichcharities, events, and activities are appropriate forlocal involvement, according to Caywood. “It’s difficultfor someone sitting in a city 1,500 miles awayto say which of those events in that town are theones that would be best to co-brand with. However,local business owners in contact with local customersknow their values and what they are looking forin terms of endorsing their affinity to each other,”says Caywood. At the same time, national brandcompanies realize the power of the local relationshipso much that they are training their people tomeet the expectations of the more local markets,he reports. However, the success of this trainingremains to be seen.The Engaging Online StoreWith technology driving the buyer’s purchasingpreferences, resellers must learn what theircustomers are expecting from their e-commercewebsites. “They definitely want purchasing to bequick,” says Ken Larson, president, Source OfficeProducts, Golden, Colo. “As a result, we’ve builtour website by using input from a panel of customersand we refresh it using customer feedback,”he says. Our users can access their favorites listand administer their site very easily, says Larson.“They can order, create returns, pull down reports,We’ve built our website byusing input from a panel ofcustomers and we refresh itusing customer feedback.—Ken LarsonSource Office Products12 September/October 2011


Independent businessesin places with a“buy local” initiativereported revenue growthof 5.6 percent onaverage in 2010, comparedto 2.1 percent growthwhere there were no“buy local” campaigns.or do almost anything else with regard to theiraccounts,” he continues. “We know that ourcustomers are trying to run their own businessesand we want them to get answers to their questionsquickly through our website.”Buyers today are comparing our websites tothose of the big-box stores, says Ian Wist, owner,Wist Office Products, Tempe, Ariz. “Therefore, wemust provide a good online experience. The sitehas to look professional and the user must feelsecure before they feel comfortable enough to buy,”he says.Make Web Buying EasyThere is no more B2B or B2C. It’s about B2U—business to user, says United’s Ogden. “I expectthe same e-commerce experience regardless ifI’m interacting online for business or not for business.If I can’t get something in three clicks, I’mbailing,” she says. United’s Vision research showedthat one-third of people interviewed stopped usinga vendor because of a poor website experience.Such an experience will have a negative impacton your brand and ultimately on your bottom line,states Ogden.There are two types of users who visit Webstores, according to Philip Wood, president,Evolution Software, Chicago, Ill. “There are existingcustomers and there are what we would callsurfers,” he says. “They are customers who foundthe Web store through one of the search enginesby typing in ‘office supplies,’” according to Wood.The account customers are completely different, hesays. “Resellers will need a load of tools to provideto customers who buy regularly. Your e-commercestore has to look like Amazon.com or customerswon’t go to it. Secondly, your store has to be visibleto the search engines,” says Wood. “My advicewould be that independent resellers try to movetheir stores up the rankings in their area rather thannationwide,” he says.Now that Evolution has partnered with United,the company will be able to give resellers e-commerceproducts that enable them to offer rewards,discount vouchers, and similar incentives on theirWeb stores to encourage buyers to come back,according to Wood. In another nod to consumerpreferences, Evolution is also creating an app toallow people to order using their mobile phones.Buttoning Up All BuyersThe “empowered user” factor is a constant sourceof supply-spend leakage for independent resellers.“People will say, ‘I can easily run down to thesuperstore and pick up file folders,’ for example,‘because I had an emergency,’” says Wist. Toovercome this, the company continually advisescustomers about their total annual spend onOFF CEL NE13


National brand companies realize the power of the localrelationship so much that they are training their people tomeet the expectations of the more local markets.—Clarke CaywoodNorthwestern Universitysupplies. If they want to receive an annual rebate or discount, customersneed to reach certain spend thresholds, Wist points out. “Havingeverybody buying office supplies isn’t an efficient model and partof our value proposition is making the customer aware of that fact,”he says. Customers are not maximizing their buying power by allowingempowered users to waste time on office supplies. “They (officesupplies) are very high on our priority list, of course, which is whywe are willing to do most of the work for our buyers,” he says. Oneway to stop this type of leakage is to identify these frequent buyersand treat them with the same importance with which you treat themain order person, suggests Kunkle.Following the same strategy, Larson at Source Office Productsattempts to learn who all the buyers within a prospective companymight be in up-front interviews. “We need to know where all theauthority in the organization is—who is the central figure that controlsthe spending on all of our lines of business,” he reports. Afterthat, Larson tries to determine their service levels,needs, and purchasing motivations. Empoweredusers get too caught up in cost of the goods,and not the details and the service, saysHelou. “They often receive the product only tofind that it is not what they wanted, resulting incostly return efforts,” he says. Larson believes that the independentis finally in the position to handily compete with the big boxes.“In part, through the wholesale distributionnetworks that have shrunk the worldbecause we don’t need a warehousein Sacramento or Peoria—we now havethem,” he continues.Technology has leveled the playingfield, allowing independent resellers tocompete with the super stores. As thepower channels attempt to gain acceptancein local communities by reducingstore size, independent office productsresellers have the advantage of providingbetter value and already being an establishedpart of the community. Linking thosebenefits to awesome branding, the latest in e-commercetechnology, and strong relationships with all levelsof buyers within a single company add to theindependent’s competitive strength. With so manyadvantages, all that’s left to say to the arriving bigboxes is “Bring it on!” O|Lbetter Value14 September/October 2011


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Trade SecretsPhotos: RIKUOur internal cultureinfluences what thecustomer experiences.Our focus ison great customerservice, and thatfocus creates anamazing work environmentwhereeveryone is workingtoward a commongoal: taking greatcare of customers.—Mike EvertPerimeter Office Productsa caringculturePerimeter Office Productsbuilds lasting relationshipsby making unbreakableconnections its No. 1 priorityBuild the brand. Grow the business. Have a goodtime. For some entrepreneurs, the enjoyment factormight be a nonstarter. After all, what does enjoymenthave to do with growing a business?Consider Perimeter Office Products of Norcross,Ga., where employees come to work every dayexpecting to have fun. “I work hard to make surethe people we hire fit into our culture,” explainsMike Evert, Perimeter’s president. “Our internal16 September/October 2011


Mike Evert, president, PerimeterOffice Products, has created awork environment where allemployees are working towardthe same goal—exceptionalcustomer service.Building the BrandThe Perimeter brand is the foundation and highly valuable assetthat drives every activity, and every employee serves as a brandambassador. Employees use each customer contact to express theprimary narratives that support Perimeter’s brand position: exceptionalservice, easy ordering, best value, locally owned, and fanaticallycustomer focused. “Our No. 1 goal is to develop strong emotionalconnections, which is the basis of our mission statement,” says Evert.That statement reads, “Build unbreakable connections by providingunparalleled service, savings, and selection, and by being thecompany that cares.”culture influences what the customer experiences. Our focus ison great customer service, and that focus creates an amazing workenvironment where everyone is working toward a common goal:taking great care of customers.”Salespeople man the phones at the beginning of each week,working the market to make appointments. “They’re required to makea number of presentations each week and add a specific number ofnew accounts each month,” says Evert. Developing new customerrelationships is a necessity, he explains, in order to continue to grow.In the work area, the décor is both simple and inspiring. Officewalls are decorated with complimentary emails received fromcustomers. While salespeople make outbound calls, customer-serviceemployees are also on the phone taking care of customers. Wheneversomething good happens—a new account gets added, greatcustomer feedback comes in, a big sale closes—a gong is rung. Thatgong typically sounds several times each day.OFF CEL NE17


Trade SecretsMike Evert and the Perimeter teamfocus on great customer service,which has led to double-digitgrowth, even during the recession.Salespeople, drivers, and customer-care personnelare the primary ways customers experienceand feel the Perimeter brand. “Our brand isnot our logo. It is the feeling we want customersto experience when they interact with us or thinkabout those interactions,” Evert says. “There areseveral ways we remind customers of our brand.They ‘feel’ it repeatedly when they’re reminded ofus through visual cues such as our logo.” The logois displayed on all Perimeter boxes, and driversare instructed to always position orders with thelogo facing out to remind customers that Perimeteris their primary supplier.Salespeople communicate the Perimeter brandin face-to-face customer meetings. When theypresent, they talk about people instead of products.They tell stories involving customer service and deliverypersonnel. “People relate to stories about people,” says Evert,“and we have an amazing service story to tell.”Local ownership occupies a prominent position in Perimeter’sbrand strategy. “Local companies want to do business with otherlocal companies,” says Evert. “We’re real people who care. We’ll takewhatever steps are needed to guarantee customer satisfaction. Needa toner cartridge delivered today? We can do that because we’renimble and flexible.”Local positioning puts big-box chains directly in the cross hairs.They’re formidable competitors that Evert and his team confront headon. “Our account executives work to combat the perception that theOur brand is notour logo. It is thefeeling we wantcustomers toexperience whenthey interact withus or think aboutthose interactions.—Mike EvertPerimeter Office Productsbig-box stores offer better value,” he explains.“In reality, we have better overall pricing, betterselection, and better service.” Still, Perimeter hasto overcome the perceived advantage big-boxstores have with customers.The Competitive ChallengeWhen customers invariably ask how Perimetercan compete with these companies that are so bigand must have the advantage, Perimeter personnelare able to turn their question around. “We try todefine what ‘big’ should mean in terms of customerbenefits,” Evert explains. “If ‘big’ means fasterdelivery, lower overall cost, and more productsto choose from, then we are bigger than the bigboxstores.”Technology is another area where customers might seePerimeter’s big-box competitors as having the advantage. “Wecombat this with programs that advance our customers’ perceptiontoward us in regard to technology,” says Evert. Perimeter uses UnitedStationers’ eDeals digital newsletter and the EasyFlip digital, Webbasedcatalog to help level the playing field. The Web-based digitalcatalog enables the dealership to stay competitive with big-boxretailers that already use similar technology, and Perimeter accountexecutives drive home this capability as often as possible.The Perimeter website serves as an additional brand reminder.“We work hard to familiarize customers with our website when theyfirst begin ordering,” says Evert. He explains that it is essential for18 September/October 2011


© 2011 ACCO Brands CorporationKapture and share your ideas thesecond you put pen to paper!Take back time spent typing up notes andstruggling to scan large flipchart pages.Digitally capture, save and email yournotes in seconds.Graphs, drawings and notes written onthe digital flipchart pad are instantlytransmitted to your PC.It’s technology that truly makeslife easier.DigitalFlipchart PadsBluetooth Enabled PensWrite it! Record it! Email it!USB ReceiverOFF CEL NE19


Your business. Elevated.It’s the future of your business.Invest for the long-run.Whether you are a small shop and need aplatform for growth, or a large reseller withcomplex operations and supply chain challenges,we have proven, scalable solutions to support allof your products.MBS Dev helps you elevate your business withproven ERP and eCommerce solutions that rivalthe Power Channel.Our software supports your company from backendto front-end and everywhere in between.What do you want to accomplish?• Win against the power channel?• Grow online business?• Improve the customer experience?• Connect sales to real time customer data?• Punch out to your customer’s ERP systems?• Reduce operation costs?• Market more effectively?It’s all possible.We have the industry experience, the expertiseand the team to support all of your needs fromend-to-end. And now with the backing andbuying power of our parent company, UnitedStationers, we are able to do this more effectivelyand affordably than ever before.SM303.469.2346 | MOUNTAIN BUSINESS SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT | www.MBSDEV.cOMOFF CEL NE21


Going, Going GreenPhotos: RIKUBruce Eaton (L), president, Eaton Office Supply, and BobMacDonald (R), Eaton’s product manager, feel that thecompany has a responsibility to be green and to sell green.I simply talk up the factthat we have green productalternatives and then I ask,‘Is that something that’simportant to you?’—Bob MacDonaldEaton Office Supply22 September/October 2011


Eaton Office Supply, headquartered in Amherst, N.Y., takes an organicapproach to green product sales. For instance, they won’t ask if you’reinterested in seeing a selection of recycled copy paper or biodegradablepens because that opens the door to, “Nope. Not interested.Happy with what I have.”Instead, they lead with a question that goes right to the heartof the matter … and is just plain hard to ignore.According to Bob MacDonald, Eaton’s product manager, thescenario goes something like this. “I simply talk up the fact that wehave green product alternatives and then I ask, ‘Is that somethingthat’s important to you?’ From there, I let the customer set thedirection of the discussion.”There aren’t many peoplewho are going to openlyadmit that protecting theenvironment is unimportant.And once MacDonald gets a“Sure, it’s important,” he has,in essence, full permission tointroduce United Stationer’sGreen catalog and then tosegue right into valuable incentivesto buy green, such aspromotional rewards, as well ason-site product seminars. “Withmost customers, green conversionis a gradual process,”MacDonald adds. “But once youopen the door, it can happen.It does happen!”Bob MacDonald, EatonOffice Supply, usesincentives to sell a broadarray of green products.Reinforcing the MessageEaton’s approach to greenproduct sales goes beyondone-on-one questions and answers. An oversized, bright greenstatement on all their delivery trucks and vans also helps driveeco-friendly sales. Right next to the company name and phonenumber, passers-by read: “Greener supplies for your office.”And with an expanding Facebook community, Eaton posts ecofriendlystatus updates. One recent post invited fans to “Treat theEarth, Then Treat Yourself!” By clicking the adjacent link, fans wentright to an offer for a $10 Starbucks gift card after purchasing twoboxes of Smead 100 percent recycled filing products.“Our on-hold telephone message even talks up green products,”MacDonald says. “We go through a variety of ways to get themessage out because so often it’s about the amount of touchesyou can generate with the customer.”Irresistible MotivationAfter establishing that Eaton offers a broad selection of greenproducts, the sales team routinely seals the deal by introducing anincentive to buy, which ultimately proves that Eaton’s green messageis far more than lip service: Eaton is willing to chip into its own profitmargin to help save the planet. And it doesn’t have to be a dramaticincentive, MacDonald stresses.“A $10 gift card or a rebateincentive on their next greenorder gets the job done. Andthat includes a cash incentive tohave our drivers pick up emptytoner cartridges.”In fact, Eaton has offeredcustomer incentives to gopaperless by ordering throughits website, which now includesUnited’s online green catalog,and Eaton is currently runninga promotion to encourage itscustomers to sign up for electronicinvoicing. “Customerswho agree to electronic(paperless) invoicing get a $25account credit,” MacDonaldexplains. “The results are good.At this point, we have about50 percent of our businessordering through our website,which means a transition away from people faxing us their ordersand wasting a lot of paper. We also have more than 50 of our largercustomers signed up for electronic invoicing.”MacDonald adds one caveat: “We make sure to remind customersthat, yes, they’ll be receiving an invoice via email, but please do notprint it out. Simply note the invoice number with your payment. Itsounds funny, but it happens. Our customers now routinely set upan electronic folder on their computers to store invoices, which trulymakes it a paperless process.”Clever ways to strengthen yourgreen message and win customersOFF CEL NE23


Going, Going Greenthere aren’t manypeople who willsay that protectingthe environmentis unimportant.Our customers now routinely set upan electronic folder on their computersto store invoices, which truly makesit a paperless process.—Bob MacDonaldEaton Office SupplyAnother Incentive to BuyIn addition to incentives, Eaton also offers on-site seminars thatpresent economical and realistic ways to go green. SometimesEaton employees conduct the seminars and other times a greenproduct manufacturer is asked to lead the presentation. Samples arealmost always part of the seminar, as well as a discussion about easyand inexpensive ways for the customer to reduce its carbon footprint.For example, MacDonald often explains how power strips andcompact fluorescent lights conserve energy. And concentrated cleanersare a popular hand-out. “Those premixed bottled cleaners are 80 or90 percent water,” MacDonald explains. “We can conserve fuel forour delivery vehicles by encouraging the use of concentrated cleaners;customers simply add their own tap water to the cleaner. But somecustomers don’t know about concentrated cleaners. Or they’re notsure if these products work as well. That’s why we talk it up and handout samples.24 July/August 2011


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Going, Going Greena power strip enables a person to flip a switchat the end of the day to power down computersand monitors, which saves money and energy.“These are all simple solutions, and you don’t have to spend muchfor them. For example, a power strip enables a person to simply flipa switch at the end of the day to power down computers and monitors,which results in saving money and energy!”Bringing the Message HomeTo underscore its commitment to a greener lifestyle, Eaton kicked offan in-house initiative four years ago—soon after attending a Unitedseminar. “For two days, United talked about its own green philosophyand plans, and we jumped on board,” MacDonald recalls. Over thenext few years, Eaton started shipping products in recycled-contentpadded mailers and re-used boxes. The company also moved torecycled toners and converted to compact fluorescent lighting.“We actually took a look at the quality of our building’s air, whichwasn’t great,” MacDonald says. “So we installed an air exchanger toimprove air quality. Now our heating and cooling unit pulls in outdoorair about seven times a day, as opposed to heating and cooling thesame stale air.”Clearly, somewhere along the line, Eaton answered its ownquestion with a resounding, “Yes, going green is important.” Andhelping customers go green is equally important, MacDonald says.“Our business involves a lot of products that typically end up inlandfills. So we have a responsibility to both be green and sell green.It has to become part of our daily experience.” O|LLess Is MoreFor several years now, Eaton Office Supply hasbeen encouraging customers to go with paperlessonline ordering. The company even offers rebateincentives to pull customers over to the paperlessside. While the Eaton team began this initiativeto save trees and reduce waste, it turns out thatthere’s an extra benefit.“We’ve seen a noticeable drop in credits anderrors when we compare online ordering to faxand phone ordering,” says Bob MacDonald, EatonOffice Supply product manager. “People seethe product content online, including a detaileddescription and the correct unit of measure, andthey have a good understanding of what theywill be receiving. So, for example, we get fewerinstances where customers want one box of pens,but they end up ordering 12 boxes because of amisunderstanding on an outdated fax order form.”With these efficiencies noted, Eaton has everyintention of continuing its paperless push … bothfor the planet as well as its invoicing department.26 September/October 2011


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Niche Marketpaper routeThe path to acquisition startswith smart paper strategies28 September/October 2011


Andrew Atkinson, owner of Dallas-based Preferred Office Products,and Jon Beck, owner and president of LB Office Products in MadisonHeights, Mich., don’t know each other. Yet both gentlemen begina conversation about paper sales with the same catchphrase: It’sa necessary evil.Why an evil? Because paper—copy paper in particular—represents little to no profit margin, it fills up delivery trucks,and it’s just not a lot of fun to talk about.Why a necessity? Because businesses continue to order a lotof it, and it often gets you in the door with a new customer.Here are four tips to help you use paper to get into even moredoors.A Competitive Lead1 “For many customers, paper is their most importantpurchase, even though it’s only about 20 percent of theirspend. They’re constantly shopping around for the best price andthey know exactly what your competition is doing,” says Atkinson.“So we’ll give a one-time introductory price that beats anyone. Thatgets us in the door.” And it works, he adds. In a two-month period,Preferred Office Products has been known to need an entire truckloadof paper for new customers alone—an acquisition rate thatjustifies the paper’s low to no margin.Beck agrees and adds a word of caution. “If you’re not competitive,everyone assumes you’re high in everything else, too. So thatcopy paper carries a message beyond just paper pricing.”After getting in the door, it’s important to ensure that customersremember exactly where that great paper price came from. To thatend, Atkinson recently implemented a strong private label program,which means that his brand is right in front of the customer—everytime the customer grabs a ream of paper and reloads the printer.“Our brand message is clear and consistent,” Atkinson says. “It’son our deliveryman’s uniform, the side of our trucks, and our copypaper boxes. The customer sees a consistent message.”The Inside Scoop2 Although a sweet deal on copy paper may get you in thedoor, it’s exemplary service that keeps the door open, whichmeans that paper gets the same first-class attention as anything else.“Our goal is to show every new customer that there’s a differencewhen they buy from us,” Atkinson says. “Paper is delivered in ourprofessional, branded truck by a uniformed driver who puts thepaper boxes wherever the customer wants.” Follow-up phone calls,he adds, ensure complete customer satisfaction, define the reseller’shigh level of service after a sale, and create a perfect opportunity todiscuss additional purchases, which is, of course, the point of sellingpaper at the most competitive price possible.Honest Reporting3 There is only one situation when LB Office Products refusesto beat the competition’s paper price, and that’s when thecompetition’s cheap price is for a cheap quality. In just such a situation,Beck and his sales team find that honesty pays off. “There are alot of sheets we could buy at a better price, but it’s inferior quality. Thepaper starts messing up the customers’ printers, jamming machines,and you have many more problems than it’s worth. We won’t sell thatinferior paper. That’s what we tell our customers.” Because almosteveryone has purchased the “cheap stuff” at one time or another andClick Fold Name Badgesintroduce yourself with a clickThese flattering, elegantly curved, convexstylebadge holders open and snap closedlike a clam shell for easy insertion ofa business cardor the availablemicroperforatedprintable insertsheets. ClickFold is made ofenvironmentallysafe,clear polypropyleneand comes in five attachmentstyles—slip-on clip, combi-clip, strapclip, safety lanyard and new magnet clip.Please call us for samples at 800-273-3118.NEW!OFF CEL NEDBL292-2011LN29


.nICHE MarketUnited’s Universal brand says‘made in America’ right on thepackaging. That’s important to usand it’s important to our customers.—Jon BeckLB Office Productsknows the frustration of a jammed printer, Beck’s honesty is typicallywell received and much appreciated.In addition, Atkinson stresses, honesty is also the best policy whenpaper prices must go up because the manufacturer raised its prices.“We give our customers documentation when this happens. A lot ofour competitors don’t do that. They’ll tell a customer, ‘No! There’s noprice increase coming.’ And I’ll tell a customer if you can get someoneto put in writing that you’ll get the same low price for a year, gowith it! That’s when the customer finds out that we’re telling the truth.And the account stays with us.”Extra! Extra! Read All About It4 While competitive paper pricing may get you in the customer’sdoor, special benefits or added value help prevent thosecustomers from any further shopping around. For example, PreferredOffice Products offers its own rewards program as well as HP’sPurchaseEdge program. And Atkinson’s sales team stresses that everypaper reorder means more points. The Preferred Office Productsprogram pertains to online purchases only, and for every $3 spent,the customer earns one point. Points can be used for office productsor home goods, such as a flat-screen TV. “I’ve heard customers sayingthey give all their business to us because of the rewards program,”Atkinson explains.LB Office Products talks up an added value for its competitivelypriced copy paper: It’s made in America. “United’s Universal brandsays ‘made in America’ right on the packaging,” Beck says.“That’s important to us and it’s important to ourcustomers. As long as I’m selling the paperat a competitive price, customers are oftenwilling to spend an extra couple of bucks for‘made in America.’”When it comes to selling paper, the realstory is never going to be about profit or innovativefeatures. But well-priced paper that includes allthe customer service generally associated withfar more profitable products can open doors andpositively impact your acquisition numbers—and that’sheadline-making news! O|LNews BriefCustomers often base their paper purchase solely on price, whichmeans that the reseller has to—first and foremost—stay competitive.But setting an attractive paper price is only part of the story.1. Make sure that every copy paper delivery comes with exemplarycustomer service. It says a lot about your company whenservice is independent of dollars spent.2. Be honest and steer clear of paper pricing games. If there’san industrywide price hike, be up front about it. If the competition’scheaper price is for inferior quality, explain the facts.3. Use every extra sales tool to your favor, such as detailing howevery paper reorder earns valuable reward points, or that yourproduct is made in America.30 September/October 2011


. E-SOLUTIONS for BusinessAn EngagingPropositionSimple tips to improvecustomer engagementwith your emailsAn email campaign comes with mighty impressive benefits. Itsreturn on investment is very high; deliverability is lightning fast;content is easily tweaked; and unlike direct mail, you can measurecustomer engagement to see who’s opening your email and who’sclicking through to your website.When email marketing first evolved, the goal was to amass an enormous customerlist. And you sent the exact same broad-based message to every customer, with noregard for segmentation or relevance. The driving philosophy was that a certainpercentage of customers would always click through to your website, and a biggerlist meant more click-throughs, which in turn strengthened response rates andconversion rates.Experience proved this philosophy to be severely flawed. The “bigger is better”viewpoint appeared to do little more than annoy a large percentage of customers,and the lack of relevance in the message prompted them to eventually disengagecompletely. They opted out of further email communications, automatically deletedemails, or tagged emails as spam. And just like that, hoped-for response ratesplummeted and email ROI took a nosedive.OFF CEL NE31


. E-Solutions for Businessyou need to measure overall customer engagementwith your emails and segment your customers intotwo base lists: the engaged and the unengaged.Today, best practices for a strong emailcampaign focus on the “less is more” approach,with a narrower, targeted email sent to a smallerbut genuinely interested customer list. In otherwords, relevant messaging is vital to keepcustomers engaged and routinely interactingwith your emails.Divide and ConquerIdentifying what’s relevant to your customers willeventually produce highly targeted, segmentedemail lists, such as those wanting straight promotionand price information versus those looking fornew product alerts. However, before you cancapture such definitive—and very valuable—information, you need to measure overallcustomer engagement with your emails andsegment your customer database into two baselists: the engaged and the unengaged.Next, you need to find out what you can do to reconnect with yourunengaged customers. “These unengaged customers opted into youremail program at some point. But now they’re doing nothing,” saysKeith Ruehl, United Stationer’s channel marketing manager. “So thereis a base relationship there. That’s good. Now you need to find outwhat these customers want. When they originally opted in, what didthey expect from your emails? What will get them to start openingyour emails again?”These are questions that should feel familiar to resellers becausean email re-engagement campaign is similar to a win-back campaign,with a few electronic twists.A re-engagement campaign begins with a recency, frequency,and monetary (RFM) value analysis. “Identify your top echelon—yourbest customers—and compare this list to your unengaged list,” RuehlFair TreatmentWhen conducting a re-engagement campaign,remember to give your engagedcustomers a little extra attention, too. Thisgroup routinely opens your emails, butwhat if you could increase their open andclick-through rates even more? To this end,experiment with A/B tests. For example,create subject line A that goes to 10 percentof your engaged list and subject lineB that goes to another 10 percent. Afterdetermining which subject line has thestronger open rate, send the winner to theremaining 80 percent on your engaged list.explains. “Pull out overlapping names andpersonally phone these customers. Findout why they’re not opening your emails.Do they want to talk to a sales rep insteadof read emails? Would they prefer directmail? These people are important to youand your business, and a one-on-oneconversation is the only way to go.”Make It RelevantAnd those conversations will most oftenfocus on relevance, says Matt Hanson,director, digital marketing, V as in Victormarketing services agency, and professorat Purdue University—Calumet. “Let’ssay your weekly emails are all pricingalerts—maybe 10 percent off your nextpurchase. But some of your best customershave a very long buying cycle. So, for example, if you’re emailing thefurniture buyer who just bought 10 desks last week, and this week’semail talks about a percent savings off your next desk purchase, themessage won’t make sense. It’s not relevant. Do this enough and youremails become white noise.”In this instance, emails focused on new furniture products or newslettersabout products that complement past purchases are morerelevant. When appropriate, depending on the customer’s buyingcycle, send that percent-off email and it should be well received.On the other hand, Hanson adds, relevance may mean a quick,simple way to reorder, and a steady stream of newsletters or newproduct updates will likely trigger disengagement. “Relevancehere means a regularly scheduled email with a reorder button thatautomatically goes to your website, and all the customer has to dois check out,” Hanson explains. “Pretty soon, these customers count32 September/October 2011


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. E-Solutions for Businessand always will be—a valuable customer, and wecertainly don’t want to fill your inbox with messagesthat don’t interest you. If you want to remain on ouremail list, please click here. If you take no action, wewill remove you from our email list.”A click, as instructed, might take the customer to a default pagewithin the reseller’s website, where a simple message says, “We lookforward to serving all your office product needs.”on your email; they click a button and they’re good to go. And with afully engaged customer, it’s a great opportunity to say, ‘Here are threeother products you may want to check out.’ It’s all about identifyingyour best customers’ needs and responding. We all get emails galoreevery day. Your message has to be relevant if you want to increaseyour open rate.”Hitting the TargetAnother discovery during your one-on-one conversation with a goodcustomer could focus on frequency, as in you’re sending every emailto every customer, but only 4 out of 10 emails are relevant. “You mayfind out that this customer never wanted to opt out of your emails, butthey only want the relevant ones,” Ruehl stresses. “Maybe you’re talkingto the furniture buyer who’s looking for green furniture solutions.This is a great reason to segment your email list and remove thatcustomer from irrelevant lists. Sure, you’re sending this person feweremails each month, but they’re all relevant, they’re all being opened,and you’ve got a re-engaged customer.”The simplest of all re-engagement strategies comes down to correctinga flawed customer profile, but scoring the right informationdoes require a personal phone conversation. “Maybe we’re talkingabout something as simple as a new email address. Or maybe thecustomer changed positions and he’s no longer the JanSan buyer.Now he’s the tech buyer. So all your JanSan emails lost their relevance,”Ruehl says. “Guess what? This is an opportunity to put thiscustomer on the right email list and to also ask, ‘Who is the newJanSan buyer?’ ‘Would you be willing to share the buyer’s contactinformation with me?’ Now you’ve got two customers who shouldbe engaged because they’re receiving relevant emails.”As for re-engaging those who aren’t A-list customers, a tactic thatoften works is, ironically enough, an email. Create a subject line withan alert, such as “We’re taking you off our list.” This often promptsa click to read, Ruehl says. The email itself could include a messagelike, “We noticed that you haven’t opened or clicked through anyof our emails lately. Do you still want to receive our emails? You are—The Rest of the StoryEven if a customer responds to this email by officially opting out,Hanson suggests that all is not lost. “Try sending these people a postcardwith an incentive to opt back in—like a special promotion or acontest. I’ve seen this strategy get great results. Maybe the customeropted out because he received 100 emails from various companiesall within two hours, and instead of thinking things through, he justopted out of every message.”In the book Best Practices in Customer Service, authors Ron Zemkeand John A. Woods make an interesting statement: Studies show thatif a problem is resolved quickly, 98 percent of your customers will buyagain and even tell colleagues that they had a positive experience!The same holds true for an email re-engagement campaign, Ruehlsays. “There’s no such thing as negative customer feedback. Call thecustomer and find out why your emails aren’t relevant—why they’renot being opened—and fix the problem. I submit that you’re goingto see engagement with this customer skyrocket.” O|LNo Question About It!After segmenting out the customers who no longer open youremails, you want to identify every name that also falls in yourtop-tier customer list. The next step is to personally phonethese overlapping customers and find out why they’ve becomeunengaged. Here are a few questions to get the conversationheaded toward re-engagement.1. What originally prompted you to sign up for my emails? Isthere something you expected that isn’t arriving? I’d be happyto fix that and make sure you receive the correct emails.2. What sort of emails interest you most? Special sales andpromotions? Contests? New product introductions? Anyother topics?3. Do you want to continue receiving emails, or would yourather I mail you printed flyers and catalogs? Or, wouldyou rather deal strictly one-on-one with your sales rep?4. What do you think about the frequency of my emails?Too many? Too few?5. To update your profile and needs, what products are youcurrently in charge of buying?34 September/October 2011


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. Mind Your BusinessConductingExcitementMeaningful distributionhelps turn your catalogsinto a lightning rodfor salesBenjamin Franklin may be best known for inventing the lightningrod as a conductor of electricity, but he’s also creditedwith the first direct mail catalog.His simple black-and-white publication, printed in 1744 and filled witha long list of books, proclaimed a limited-time offer—three weeks, and no longer—andalso presented what’s considered the first mail-order guarantee: “Those persons wholive remote, by sending their orders and money to B. Franklin, may depend on the samejustice as if present.”While today’s catalogs have certainly evolved, the basic premise remains the same.What has changed, and dramatically so, is catalog distribution. In Mr. Franklin’s day,citizens retrieved a catalog on their own “at the Place of Sale.” United Stationersresellers have distribution options that guarantee timely delivery, increased excitement,and stronger sales.Take It from the TopCatalogs represent an integral part of your total marketing plan, so it’s imperative thatyou approach distribution with a scrubbed and segmented customer list. Pertainingto United’s general line catalog, Everything for the Workplace, the 80/20 rule drives36 September/October 2011


segmentation, with the top 20 percent of your business segmentedinto one list and all remaining customers comprising a second list.This is a vital step, as the recommended catalog distribution strategydiffers for each segment.“You want to look at the customers drivingthe bulk of your revenue—that top 20 percentsegment—and develop a plan to hand deliverTIP: United’s List Assistant, a free, secure hostingwebsite, keeps up-to-date, segmented liststhese customers’ catalogs and make every deliveryimportant,” says Mike Buchman, United’s seniorwithin easy reach. Lists are conveniently storedmanager, reseller development. “This gives youin one central location, so resellers can log onan opportunity to get in front of the customer and24/7 to review or print.strengthen your connection by personally reviewingthe catalog’s features and benefits. You’ll always see asales lift during catalog distribution time, but when you makedelivery important, you will, in many cases, boost that sales lifteven higher.”To accomplish hand deliveries efficiently, step one is assigningspecific customers to each salesperson. “It’s all hands on deck forface-to-face distribution,” Buchman advises. “That includes thepresident, who should take this opportunity to get out into the fieldand deliver catalogs to at least the top 5 percent of the customer list.This is a great time to personally thank these very importantcustomers for their business.”In addition to making valuable customers feel important, handdelivery also presents a golden opportunity for a mini-businessA promise worththe paper it’sprinted on.Earn money for your school throughthe purchase of any of these BOISE ® papers.For more details, downloada QR reader & snap withyour smart phone.www.BoiseInc.com/btfe1Now, specially marked reams of BOISE ® X-9 ® , BOISE ® FIREWORX ® , andBOISE ® HD: P branded papers will help your school raise money throughthe Box Tops for Education ® program.123Just clip the Box Top coupons.Turn them in to your local K-8 school.Your school gets a check.Boise is proud that our quality products can do so much to promotequality education.FIREWORX, HD: P, paper for their future, and X-9 are trademarks of Boise Paper Holdings,L.L.C., or its affiliates. BOISE is a trademark of Boise Cascade, L.L.C., or its affiliates.Box Tops for Education is a registered trademark of General Mills, used with permission.OFF CEL NE37


.MIND Your BusinessTIP: The 80/20 rule for hand delivery alsoapplies to niche market catalog releases. This isthe reseller’s opportunity to personally acknowledgeevolving customer needs, such as a newgreen initiative or the need for additional officefurniture due to expansion.review. Have the customer’s needs changed or expanded? Is thereany way you can better serve them? “This is the perfect time toreinforce your continued commitment to providing the best possibleservice, talk about new categories or services that you now offer,and hopefully grow the account organically,” Buchman says.Contain YourselfAugmenting the personal touch of a hand-delivered catalog,Buchman urges every reseller to package each top-tier catalogdelivery in a United Distribution Kit, which creates a professional andpolished image. These heavyweight cardboard boxes include customprintedlabels that promote a reseller’s unique brand image andcreate marketing consistency. Labels include a range of messages,such as “Thank you for your business” and “Welcome back.”In addition to nicely holding United’s Everything for the Workplacecatalog, Distribution Kits have ample space to hold a sample kit,as well as current promotional flyers, pertinent niche catalogs, andcapabilities brochures. “Maybe you now provide managed printservices (MPS) or a document shredding service,” Buchman says.“This is a great time to talk up what you offer—right in front of thedecision-maker.”Another packaging suggestion involves randomly insertingcoupons into new catalogs. “Don’t discuss the coupons during yourface-to-face delivery,” Buchman says. “Wait for the customer to findthem. That way you can track customer involvement with your catalog.If someone doesn’t redeem the coupons, call the customer and say,‘We slipped a few coupons into your catalog. Did you find them?’See if you can figure out why the customer isn’t reading your catalog.”If you play the coupon game with consistency, Buchman adds,you’re going to teach the customer to study every new United catalog,page by page, and before long you’ve created positive behavior patterns.The Rest of the StoryEnrolling in United’s Mail Direct program is the hands-down bestpractice for distributing catalogs to your second segmented list,which represents roughly 80 percent of your customers. This guaranteesproper market timing, ensures direct mail consistency, and,as Buchman quickly points out, “takes a significant burden off thereseller’s plate.”Follow-up for this segment typically includes a quick but personalphone call. “Treat the process like an inside sales campaign,”Buchman says. “It can be as simple as calling customers after thecatalog lands, asking if they have any questions or want to takeadvantage of any new promotions, and then closing by thankingthem for their business.”Be sure to seed yourself in your Mail Direct list. When you receiveyour catalog, so did your customers, and that tells you it’s time tobegin the follow-up phone calls.Resellers who aren’t using Mail Direct candistribute catalogs to this second segmented listin a couple of simple ways. You can tuck new catalogsinto all delivery boxes, so customers immediatelysee them when they open a shipment.Another option is to have your salespeople treatthe catalog as a leave-behind, closing all salescalls with a personal delivery.Although these distribution techniques do puta catalog into the customer’s hands, Buchmanbrings up a few red flags, beginning with the delivery-boxapproach. “Who’s going to open that box?If it’s not the purchasing agent, then your catalogdidn’t go to the decision-maker and it will probablybe tossed in the recycling bin. You have to makesure that your marketing is delivered to the rightperson at the right time—otherwise you’re wasting time and money.”When relying on salespeople to leave behind a catalog, you couldbe looking at a serious time lag between catalog release and delivery.“Remember, we’re not talking about your top-tier customers here,”Buchman says. “That means that sales calls to these people aren’t38 September/October 2011


A Handy PlanWhen it comes to distributing catalogs toyour top-tier customers, in-person is the wayto go. The obvious reason is that it createsan opportunity to personally say, “Thanks foryour business.” A less obvious but nonethelesshugely valuable reason is that it allows the reseller to getlast season’s catalog off the customer’s desk. “Prices in thatold book may be out of date, or some products may nolonger be offered,” says Michael Buchman, United’s seniormanager, reseller development. “And if your best customerorders from that old catalog, you could be facing a veryfrustrating situation.”The fix is simple: Hand over the new catalog and simultaneouslyoffer to properly recycle last year’s catalog. In one fellswoop, you’ve done the environmentally conscious thing, provideda nice service, and gotten rid of the outdated catalog.TIP: United understands the challengeswhen it comes to mailing marketingcollateral. For this reason, Unitedcreated Mail Direct, a program thathandles database management and thedistribution of all marketing materials,ensuring timely and efficient delivery.weekly. Sometimes they’re not even monthly. And that meansa lot of time lost to promote the new catalog.”A carefully executed distribution plan is crucial when it comes toa catalog’s ultimate impact. When delivered properly and in a timelymanner, a catalog generates excitement, interest, and demand—allreactions that can positively affect a customer’s perceived valuefor subsequent marketing communications. “Everyone likes to gothrough a catalog and see what’s new, Buchman says. “The excitementfactor is almost a given. What the reseller has to do is get thatcatalog into market and in the right hands. Do that, and the sales liftshould come.” O|LiView®Privacy and glare protectionfor your Apple iPad®NEW!4-Way PrivacyProtection!Works in both portraitand landscape modesTIP: A prospect shouldn’t receive a general line orniche catalog, as communication with this particularcustomer is driven by an acquisition campaign.Acquisition touch points typically include a postcard,a follow-up phone call, a four-page flyer withhigh commodity items at the lowest possible pricingto catch the purchasing agent’s eye, and finallyanother personal phone call. Once the customerplaces at least three purchases, the acquisitioncampaign ends and a retention campaign begins,which does include a catalog. However, the relationshipis still new, and a hand-delivered catalogis considered best practice.Screen is Clear when viewed head on,and blaCked out when viewed from an angleKeeps data secureExtra thin construction— does not impedetouch screen responseProtects the displayAnti-fingerprint coatingEasily removediPad® and iPad 2® CompatibleWorks with Smart CoversModel No. SVT4723Secure-View®Privacy Filterswww.kantek.comOFF CE 39L NE


make a differenceTODAY!Since 1983, the office products industry has served as a keyfundraiser for City of Hope, one of the country's leadingresearch and treatment centers for cancer, diabetes andother life-threatening diseases.Now, there's a new and innovative way for independentoffice products dealers and their business partners to givetheir support to the cause through INDEPENDENTDEALER's logos for Hope campaign.You can show your support for City of Hope by buying alogo that will appear on a special logos for Hope page inINDEPENDENT DEALER.Each logo is just $250 each with 100% of your contributiongoing to the City of Hope.Diseases like cancer hit all of us, regardless of what kind ofbusiness we run. Your support of logos for Hope will helpbring us all closer to a cure and show that when it comes tosupporting worthy causes, no one does it better thantoday's independents!https://secure3.convio.net/coh/site/Donation2?df_id=2040&2040.donation=form1Visit: http://idealercentral.com/Pages/logos_for_HopeRESEARCH | TREATMENT | EDUCATION40 September/October 2011


Shredding was never this easy......till therewas .Introducing theNEW 2011Universal ShreddersGet high-performance andease-of-use in these 3new models.UNV-48025 UNV-48020 UNV-48010Strip-cut Cross-cut Micro-cut25 sheets 20 sheets 10 sheetsLow securityHigh securityHowever you slice it no one knows howto protect and secure sensitive documentsbetter than Universal.And whether it’s a single sheet of proprietaryinformation, or an entire financial report,safeguarding is more important now thanever before. So deliver the peace of mindeveryone is looking for with these highperformancemachines.All of our models include:• Large shred bin viewing window• Easy bin access handle• Push-button operation• Sleek, contemporary design• Auto-cool down indicators• Jam-proof technologyOFF CEL NE41


Cool Stuff / hot dealscharitable contributionoffersOfficemate Low-Profile Storage ClipboardWRITE ONCOOLEST FEATURE | The slim design of this handystorage clipboard fits into most briefcases, yetprovides storage space for papers, forms, andnotepads.AND MORE | The clipboard includes a separate storagecompartment for pens and pencils. It sports a lowprofileclip, and a strong hinge-and-clasp system.Half-inch capacity, holds 9-inch (W) x 12-inch (H)paper, charcoal color.SKU | OIC83303List Price | $13.54/EAGOING STRONGLooking for something a little stronger and better for theplanet? Wilson Jones is going PVC-free! Its core lines ofview binders are now manufactured from polypropylene,which is 100 percent recyclable, instead of vinyl. Yourcustomers can receive a free container of M&M’simprinted with their company’s name when theypurchase $200 in qualifying products.FREE M&M’S IMPRINTEDWITH COMPANY NAMEENDS 12/31/2011Pioneer Premium Copy PaperSHOW YOUR TRUECOLORSCOOLEST FEATURE | This premium paper delivers the highestprinting resolution in all office environments. The printcontrast allows the reproduction of vivid colors in all printers.AND MORE | This copy paper is engineered to meet both your20-lb. and 24-lb. office paper requirements. It has a 171CIE Whiteness Rating. An annual donation of a minimum of$25,000 will be made to the City of Hope for the fight againstbreast cancer. 8 1 ⁄2 x 11, 22 lb., bright white, 2,500 sheets/carton.SKU | SNAP11225RFList Price | $35/CTBaumgartens Conserve Glass CleanerCLEAN UP YOUR ACTCOOLEST FEATURE | This highly effective glass cleanerquickly cleans and shines windows, mirrors, and glasssurfaces.AND MORE | This cleaner is safer for the environment,yet as powerful as the leading brands. Simply drop oneeffervescent tablet in the reusable bottle, fill with water,and start using. The kit contains a 32-oz. trigger spraybottle and four tablets, which makes a total of onegallon of cleaner. Vanilla lavender, 4-oz. kit.SKU | BAU10530List Price | $9.99/EAPrepaid Recycling Container Kitfor BatteriesPOWER TRIPCOOLEST FEATURE | The recycling kit includes everythingyou need to recycle—simply order, fill, seal, and ship.AND MORE | The kit contains a UN-rated, DOT-approved3.5-gallon pail for dry cell batteries, inner poly-liner andtie, instructions, terms and conditions, and a prepaidshipping label. It also includes a Proof of PurchaseSerial Number and access to online certificates ofrecycling. 3- 1 ⁄2 gal., round pail, white.SKU | SPDSUPPLY041List Price | $174.95/KT42 September/October 2011


jansan–breakroomenvironmentally friendlyfurnituretechnologysuppliesMaxell myGEN External Hard DriveSTOP LOSING SLEEPCOOLEST FEATURE | Gain peace of mind with the preinstalledsoftware bundled with the Maxell hard drivethat automatically copies all of your modified files.AND MORE | This powerful external hard drive makesit easy to preserve and store your photos, documents,and other important data. Keep your data private withpassword protection. 1TB, USB connection,7200 rpm.SKU | MAX665302List Price | $159.99/EA1TB storagecapacitySpotlightAutomatic backupWRITE NOW—ON THEDOUBLEYour customers can double their note-taking capacity withDouble Docket ® 100-sheet writing pads, and the extra-rigidback provides optimal stability when writing. With a minimum$60 purchase of qualifying products, your customers canreceive a free leather-look premium pad holder.FREE PREMIUM PAD HOLDERENDS 12/31/2011Coffee Pro Two-BurnerInstitutional Coffee MakerTURN UP THE HEATCOOLEST FEATURE | This coffee maker featuresindependent warmers and quick brew cycles.AND MORE | The coffee maker has a highenergy efficiency and is designed for freshwater pour-over. It includes a grounded cordwith three-prong plug and decanters.Stainless steel.SKU | OGFCP2BList Price | $523.21/EAOFF CEL NE43


thewordby Urban GillisSales Vice President, GN Netcom/JabraCan You Hear Me Now?Photo: Dave WhiteGIVE US YOURFINAL WORD!Share your valuable experienceswith readers of “The Final Word.”If you could give a new dealer justone piece of advice, what wouldit be? Can you describe yourmost challenging sales call andhow you responded? Send yoursubmission to:OfficeLinec/o United StationersOne Parkway North Blvd.Suite 100Deerfield, IL 60015-2259or via email to:officeline@ussco.comsubject line “The Final Word”Unified communications (UC) is having a profound impact on the waybusinesses, from small to large, interact, opening a host of opportunitiesfor independent resellers. In the past, we all pretty much reliedon the telephone for our communication needs. Then voicemail camealong and was viewed as a tremendous improvement. Today, we haveinstant messaging, VoIP (Skype), video, Web and audio conferencing,and more.Until fairly recently, these different communications vehicles wereindependent of one another. UC bridges them seamlessly into a singlecommunications platform. As unified communications roll out, a lotof companies have begun using PC-based soft phones, requiring thepurchase of what the industry refers to as an end-point device, i.e.,a headset. We have a number of different products that enable usersto connect to a desk phone, mobile phone, or soft phone with just oneheadset. These are plug-and-play solutions so they integrate easily intoany office. Marketplace dynamics are certain to accelerate acceptanceof these products as we move to a more mobile workforce withmultiple workers operating in different locations at different times.In fact, growth rates within the small-business community aretremendous and are fueled, in part, by office workers looking toimprove efficiency and effectiveness by adopting different waysto communicate. Research tells us that there’s something like35 million to 40 million office workers who currently use some formof unified communications, and there’s a large attachment rate forour products. This represents a terrific opportunity for resellers,and the market is expected to at least triple by the end of 2014.Resellers need to recognize the opportunity and embrace thistechnology. Right now, this category is tremendously visible becauseof changes that are happening in the communications market, includingthe mobile hands-free legislation sweeping the country. The categoryis growing, and the small-business customer that independent resellerstypically serve is adopting this technology at a rapid pace. We’reseeing resellers who actively pursue this business increase theirrevenue, margins, and profitability. You could, too. O|LDIRECTORY OF ADVERTISERSacco. page 19durable. page 29greencycle. page 33mbs dev. page 21avery-dennison. page 2eci. page 27hp .inside front cover3M. page 5boise . page 37esselte .back coverinternational paper. page 15universal. page 25burnes of boston. page 9evolution. page 35kantek . page 39universal. page 41c-line . page 24fellowes . page 7logos for hope . page 40xerox.inside back coverOfficeLine is published bi-monthly by United Stationers Supply for the benefit of its independent resellers and suppliers in the office products industry. To obtain a complimentary subscription, please visit ussco.com/resellers/gi_officeline.shtmlor contact your local account manager. The publisher reserves the right to deny subscriptions based solely on its discretion. Advertisers may contact the publisher at officeline@ussco.com for rates and schedules.44 September/October 2011


Xerox ® Color Xpressions Elite and Color XpressionsSelect Color Printing PerfectionIsn’t it time for perfect color printing? You can expect uniform, solid coverage and a job well done from these industry leading papers.Both Color Xpressions Elite and Select deliver perfection with a super smooth surface and a bright white sheet. Take your color printingup a notch with these exceptional papers.©2011 Xerox Corporation. All Rights Reserved. XEROX® and XEROX and Design® are trademarks of Xerox Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. 04/11OFF CEL NE45


We bring green to your officeIt’s as simple as that. Our new ECO rangeof staplers are designed with both functionand the environment in mind.The shells are madewith 100% post-consumerrecycled plastic, whichexceeds many other greenproducts in your office.The packaging is printed with soy basedink on recycled cardboard.The ECO desktop staplers are designedfor easy disassembly.We believe being green doesn’t meanyou have to compromise on style, functionand performance.Rapid ECO Products − Engineered forthe Environment.Packaging for theECO boxesPackaging for theECO boxesBody material forthe ECO staplersRapid ECO Upright and Desktop aredesigned for easy disassemblyECO UprightESS73279ECO DesktopESS73164ECO PliersESS73280ECO HD80ESS73159Rapid is a registered trademark of Esselte Corporation.©2010 Esselte Corporation.We make yourday efficientwww.pendaflex.com/rapidUSS-04746 September/October 2011

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