Choosing the Best Stationery Supplier for Your Office Needs

First Impressions Count

Whether we like it or not, first impressions count and clients form an impression of your business based on the brand they can see, hear and touch. So it’s not only about how you speak to them, how reliable you are and the quality of the job or service you provide, but also the tangible things that they can see and feel. Your business stationery is one such tangible, and it’s important to get it right – choosing a quality stationery supplier is the first step.

How do You Choose a Quality Stationery Supplier?

There are a number of things you should consider when making a decision. Firstly, it’s worth considering what you think you might need from them. Are you quite creative and able to design your own logo, letterhead and direct mail pieces or will you need some design input and help with ideas? Do you know your pantones from your fonts or is that all a mystery to you? What about grammes per square metre and the various printing methods? If you have little or no experience in this area it’s worth considering a ‘full service’ stationery supplier, one who can help with your full printed requirements from concept and design, through to production and delivery, who also has branding experience.

Secondly, what sort of relationship do you want with your stationery supplier? Are you happy with a faceless interaction with a web page to keep costs as low as possible or do you want a more personal touch with a dedicated company representative who will see your order through from start to finish? If something goes wrong with your order do you want to be able to speak directly to someone with the knowledge and expertise to put it right or try to rectify things with a series of emails? How important is it to you that your stationery supplier had taken the time to understand your business and what you’re trying to achieve with your brand and budget?

Finally, what about the company itself? Are you simply looking for the cheapest price or does the heritage and reputation of your stationery supplier matter? Most quality stationery suppliers should be able to provide you with a varied range of samples of their work, from business cards and letterheads to direct mail and promotional items, and also be able to share testimonials from other satisfied customers. Do they understand that things don’t always go smoothly in business and sometimes you need them to have a can do attitude and be able to turn things round quickly for you?

Forming a new relationship with any supplier can be a difficult decision to make and it requires you to take a balanced view of what’s important to you versus what the supplier can provide you with. Choosing from the many quality stationery suppliers is a big decision, and if you get it right you will only have to make it once.

What Qualities Should You Look for in a Stationery Supplier

Budgets are tight and getting tighter in the current climate as businesses up and down the country brace themselves for Brexit uncertainty. Stationery is one area where potentially savings can be made, though be aware not to sacrifice efficiency for the sake of a cheap product.

There are quality stationery suppliers out there, but it’s worth completing some research to find one that can meet all your requirements, quality, price, service and efficiency are all key areas to focus on.

Product Range

Of course, if you’re looking to cut costs by reducing the number of suppliers or by getting a bigger discount through placing larger orders, then the range of products a company can supply will be critical. If you regularly order something very specific, be sure to check the company’s ability to supply that before you commit.


Where cost cutting is the name of the game, price will naturally be a factor. Spend some time looking into value rather than cost alone, because the product with the lowest price tag might not suit your needs and could be a false economy, don’t forget service, this always makes a big difference. Quality stationery suppliers will not tend to sell the very cheapest products because they have to guarantee satisfaction to protect their reputation, but they might be able to offer added value in the way of discounted prices or expedited delivery.


Even the most efficient businesses sometimes find they need something immediately or sooner, so having a reliable supplier that can support those emergencies is invaluable. Check whether your supplier can fulfil next day delivery on orders, and if there is a time cut-off for that. There might be restrictions on days, too.

A supplier might be able to deliver next day, but the cost might be more than your business is willing to pay, so do be sure to check it all out beforehand. What about regular delivery charges? Are they free? Maybe free over a certain amount? It doesn’t help much if a supplier can give you the goods at a good price, but then charges over the odds to get them to you.

After Sales Support

Another area where quality stationery suppliers are able to give added value is through offering free returns. If you’re ordering consumables, you probably won’t want to return them, but if you buy a product that isn’t as expected, you’ll want to be able to send it back and receive a refund cheaply and easily.

The best companies to deal with are those that will be able to offer you advice on the products you are buying and have an understanding of the way your business works. They’ll be able to help you choose the right products first time.

In summary, make a list of all the things you would want from a single stationery supplier, and then look around to see how many boxes each is able to tick. You might prefer to create a ‘points’ system and award more points for being able to meet those requirements. Top score wins the business!