There was a shift or should we say there was a major shake-up when people started transitioning from working in the office to working from home, valuable items like stationery are no longer flying off the shelves like they used to simply because many buildings are closing down their shops and have their employees work from home.
And apart from embracing the green conservation concept where companies are asked to refrain from cutting trees used in the making of paper and instead recycle materials, the influx of digital technology has also played a big part in the ever-dwindling stationery sales. We are, however, not saying that the industry is no longer lucrative rather that people should prepare for the new incoming trends more especially the manufacturers and suppliers.
The market is however still ripe as we still have the learning institutions that are dependent on stationery both for the staff and the learners. Clerical works in businesses cannot be done without the office supplies, so there is still no cause for alarm.
1. An influx of the eco- friendly products –well seems we have finally gotten the wake-up call and man is hell-bent on conserving their environment which is also their source of livelihood. Advocates championing for the use of recycled office materials are making an impact as the demand for paper-based office supplies has greatly reduced.
Suppliers are, therefore, slowly transitioning from selling products made from traditional paper to eco-friendly recycled material; manufacturers have, therefore, been put on notice that is if they wish to continue with business then they have no option other than to transition to manufacturing the eco-friendly office supplies.
2. Suppliers additionally need to watch out for the evolving customer needs so for as much as quality is the determining factor offering the best after-sales services will keep your business afloat. The competition in this industry is cut-throat in that if you don’t offer certain services then other companies are offering and they are willing to go on overtime, for example, an online IT shop that can handle both B2B and B2C.
3. The use of technology-
With advancements in technology it remains debatable whether the innovations are a good thing for certain industries or whether it is sending more people home thus render them jobless. Well, we can’t fail to notice how offices are now using cloud services in the management of their office activities and the storage of information.
Sharing of information has also made it easy rendering the fax machine jobless, the use of bulk tablets, smartphones, and laptops has made touching pencil and paper quite hard as some of these gadgets come with pens where people can append their signature on a document that is in digital format. The above trend, therefore, affects the demand and supply of traditional office supplies.
4. There is however a silver lining in the transitions, as office equipment suppliers will be able to sell their merchandise through the various digital platforms more especially in the social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and even Whatsapp where groups are created for the purchase of various office equipment some that are made locally while others are imported.
5.Increased competition-Now that the world has gone digital the physical office space is slowly becoming redundant and business enthusiasts are now opening online shops. Suppliers have agreed to have their products advertised and only get paid when a buyer pays for the products more like drop shipping.
Well, this line of business is a challenge for entrepreneurs who are running the brick and mortar stores but then again not everyone goes online to shop and some people would prefer interacting with the product before paying. So basically, it is a win-win situation the only problem being the number of online stores cropping up and the competitive prices and offers that they are running.
Change is inevitable and the best thing for suppliers, retailers, and entrepreneurs is to embrace it, and tweak their business to reflect these new trends if they still have hope of remaining in business. While having the brick and mortar store is way better than just depending on the virtual store, suppliers can run both online and the physical stores because the market is considerably ripe on both ends.