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Because I am in the process of looking for some home business opportunities and have just set up my own website I found I was going through a lot of stationary. Including things like cartridges for my Epson Inkjet printer and envelopes etc. The biggest problem with this was the cost of purchasing these items each time. Especially when you buy them from the high street.
I already had a catalogue from a company called Staples who at the beginning did not seem to badly priced. However, when you add your VAT onto the prices in their catalogue they are not that cheap after all. So it was of to the search engines on the net to find myself a new supplier.
It was at that point I cam across Viking Direct and their website www.viking-direct.co.uk. After searching through their site for various items to check the prices I decided to request a catalogue in order that I could compare prices with other suppliers with ease.
The catalogue could be requested easily from their website and arrive within 48 hours. Not a bad service so far, but I had not ordered from that yet so only time would tell.
After a good look though their catalogue I found that although their prices do not include VAT, by the time you add VAT to them they are still very reasonably priced. My main aim was to find some where I could get genuine Epson cartridges at realistic prices, and finally it looked as though I had found somewhere.
I logged back
onto their internet site and realised that you have two options, the consumer site, and the business site. As this supplier was to be in place for my home business I went into the business site and selected to type of business I was planning. It turns out the prices on the business side of the site are cheaper than those on the consumer side of it.
Once I had registered my details I had the option of choosing how I would pay for my orders. The first option was to open an account with them or to pay by credit card each time. I decided I would pay by card each time for now, and could then choose if I wanted to enter my details each time or to save a card details. As I was not sure how often I would be using them yet, I decided to choose the option of entering my card details each time.
Now every time I log onto their website I am automatically directed to the business site and logged in so I do not have to go through that process again.
When you enter their site you are presented with the homepage, as this now log me in my name appear in the left hand top corner along side a summary of how many items are in my trolley and the cost so far. Also at the top is the link to join their affiliate programme where you can earn commission for people shopping from them by entering through your own link on your website, there is also the link to get delivery information.
Just underneath that you have the link to contact customer services, who has it happens I have had to contact a couple of times. For one reason or another but they have always been very helpful. After contacting them you are sent an auto acknowledgement and I have always received the actual reply within 24 hours even at weekends.
Searching for products on their site could not be easier, you have the option to enter keywords in the search box, have selected tabs at the top to take you into different departments. You also have a list of products down the left hand side you can choose from as well as an A-Z listing button at the very top.
On the right hand side you have various pictures that contain different special offers that they are offering at this point in time. For example if you go onto their site today you can choose Christmas offers, or an offer to get you a free inkjet printer if you buy 20 reams of a selected paper. So as you can see the offers are not bad either.
Delivery from them is great value; free next day delivery providing you order by 7pm, although the cut off time does very depending on your postcode, fortunately their depot is 15 minutes from my address. The free delivery applies for all orders over £30, or a £2.90 charge is applied if under that value. There is also the option of same day delivery if you order by certain times and on certain days.
They have various catalogues that you can request from them including their main catalogue, special offer catalogues, furniture catalogues etc. So you can pretty much obtain anything that you may require for your business. You even order things such as water coolers, drinks machines, signs; you name it they have pretty much got it.
They offer a great range of products be it from genuine branded names or from their own brand range which I suppose if you go through the catalogue it is half branded and half their own. However from my experience their own brand goods appear to be as good as the branded items, the only thing I will stick to branded items for is my ink cartridges.
As well as internet ordering you also have the option to order by phone on a free phone number, or by fax on a free fax number, or if you so desire you can order by post. To top things of they also send you free gifts for certain orders, but you have to check the site for the conditions of the current offer, this can be something such as a free gift for spending over so much money.
Once you have placed orders with them you have the facility to look back through your order history to see exactly what you ordered and when, so for example this saves you looking up the codes of what you are looking for if you ordered them before.
Overall I have to say that I would definitely recommend you visit their website if you are looking for office supplies, cheaper ink cartridges or just for general stationary. I have as yet not found a supplier that is a cheap or delivers as quick as they do.