Get Your Green On

Filed Under (The Competition) by Don on 05-12-2007

As predicted Office Depot announced yesterday they are rolling out their new 3,000+item green products catalog.  In their announcement they stated “Year-over-year we are seeing a significant increase in the number of customers wanting to ‘green’ their purchasing practices…”  They also say they want to provide “a unique solution” to customers wanting to make their offices more earth friendly.  All this being said from a company that is in hot water in several states for massive contract violations and overcharging the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.  I continue to hope that the buying public will learn about the pricing and contracting games that these big box stores practice.  I’ve written several times about those issues here. 

I have loaded our new Green Office Project page on my company website.  All this information is available on the web from dozens of different sites.  I still have over 50 pages of information that I haven’t used at this time so there is obviously a lot of info out there if you just look for it.  I also created a PowerPoint presentation to help our reps introduce this to customers/prospects which has been well received by our sales team.  I encourage you to do the same for yourself or your sales team if this applies to you.

United Stationers is rolling out their 3,800+ Recycled Products Catalog sometime around April.  Sadly this means that Depot has a 4 month headstart on the independents.  I wish I could light a fire under United and get them to make this catalog available in January.  However, I do praise them for at least having the foresight to get this catalog in the hands of dealers.  Now if I could just convince them of the importance of having supporting flyers and html pages for e-mailing available to coincide with this rollout.  (But I’m not shy to create my own marketing materials either!) I really believe that United tries hard, and works hard to support their independent dealers.  I know from personal experiences that their internal staff and sales reps have always been very responsive and supportive for anything and everything I have ever asked.  But let’s be realistic, they are a sales company whose business is to move products.  They have shareholders that expect to make earnings from their investment and I understand that too.  However, sometimes I think the bureaucracy of being such a large company keeps them from pushing out new products, catalogs and marketing materials fast enough for dealers to get them positioned firmly ahead of the competition.   That ability is very important. 

If you haven’t considered offering your customers a green catalog and support for their green goals then I strongly urge you to get up to speed as this is an increasing desire among many businesses.  Although buyers of green products must understand up front that green products are typically more expensive than those traditional non-recycled products.  They are spending a little more to support our planet and feel good about doing it.  Remember to offer unique services in your green office push.  Recycling toners using services such as Link360  or consider partnering with local recyclers to help companies with recycling things such as batteries, flourescent bulbs, paper, etc.  Postioning yourself as a consultant allows you to be in a better position to help your customer acheive their business goals which is what the relationship is all about.

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