Amazon seems like a good resource for purchasing affordable office supplies. After all, they offer a wide range of options from a variety of suppliers all presented on a single platform.
Amazon also offers printing supplies that can fit many different office printing needs. The platform has many different sizes and types of paper, ink, and even toner. Some suppliers on Amazon even offer printer replacement parts like ink rollers. In addition to super-fast delivery options, it is hardly surprising that some businesses have become convinced it is one of the best options for much-needed consumables.
But is it really the best option? When we look beyond the supposed advantages, Amazon’s business model has significant flaws that could drain a company’s back-office time, resources, and money.
Unfortunately, many must learn the downsides of purchasing office print and other supplies through this popular online retailer the hard way. Here are three reasons businesses should choose office print partners for their print needs.
Business Purchases Through Amazon are a Nightmare for Accounting
By all appearances, Amazon offers a platform that makes it simple to quickly evaluate ratings, price ranges, and delivery timelines. And purchasing agents naturally lean toward the most affordable options that will arrive the fastest. But few pay any attention to which supplier or suppliers are originating the product.
But the ease of ordering from this large online retailer is not so simple when it comes to tracking and logging the purchase when it gets to finance. Because, when you purchase multiple items from Amazon, each item is typically sold by a different vendor.
Proper business accounting requires purchases from individual vendors to be recorded as separate transactions. So, what seems like a single invoice from one resource must be broken out based on the supplier.
Businesses subject to standard audits may even need W-9 forms and information from each vendor. Unlike the experience businesses receive with dedicated office print partners, tracking down business contacts to obtain those types of answers is time-consuming and difficult. Some of the companies selling on Amazon are nearly impossible to contact as they operate solely under the umbrella of the larger organization.
And the headaches finance experiences with Amazon orders are only the beginning of the problems a company can face.
Finding the Same Product or Product Quality Can be Hard
Finding the same product and supplier over and over is not an issue for most consumers, who usually use online retailers like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon for one-time purchases. Still, any regular Amazon user knows how common it is to find a specific product from a single supplier and have either one or the other disappear from the platform days or weeks later.
The same is true for office and print supplies. In some cases, the item is simply out-of-stock and will be available later. However, the big platform tends to be a revolving door of suppliers as supplier contracts expire or get canceled.
Amazon’s profit-sharing practices play a significant part in the fluctuation of supply quality and availability. Businesses operating on the platform incur costs ranging from six to fifteen percent when opening their business account.
In addition, vendors on Amazon are entrusting the larger business to handle reviews and complaints. Customers who complain are often provided free merchandise without appropriate verification of the issue, and sellers are often not fully compensated for returned goods. These consistent losses, combined with the percentage paid to the platform, can easily drive many vendors out of business.
But finding the same vendors is not the only problem. As any Amazon user can attest, one of the best things about the platform is the ability to find the same product from multiple different vendors and compare pricing.
However, businesses should be careful about this option when ordering printing supplies. Amazon does not regularly monitor the quality or even the truthfulness behind product listings, descriptions, or even reviews.
The reviews, especially, can be misleading as the system lumps all reviews for the same product together, regardless of supplier. Good reviews might be written for a specific item, such as ink, toner, or printer paper, as they were delivered by a specific supplier. However, that review does not reference the supplier and will be included with all other iterations of the same product. So what is ordered may not match what is delivered, and there is no way to know for certain until the ordered items arrive.
Amazon Deliveries Generate Excessive Packaging Waste
Amazon generated four hundred sixty-five million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2019, according to an analysis of e-commerce packaging statistics by Oceana, and is estimated to be well over 500 million this past year. This includes materials like air cushions and bubble wrap used to cushion the transportation of almost 7 billion Amazon shipments.
Analysis shows that the plastic packaging waste from Amazon’s air pillows alone would circle the globe more than five hundred times.
While the corporation has options to ship in “as few packages as possible”, it doesn’t apply to the most common office and print supply orders where items are shipped from multiple vendors. Inevitably each vendor will have to send separate packages.
For busy companies, multiple deliveries are an added hassle. For one, the packages take up space and add to the trash production and costs for the office. Then there is the problem of deliveries coming at different speeds and arriving at different times. In many cases, this can disrupt standard office procedures and make things difficult for the front office or shipping/receiving staff.
Office Print Partners Offer Better Experiences
It’s easy to avoid the problems that come with shopping and purchasing office print and other supplies on platforms like Amazon. Rather than relying on the unreliable, businesses can choose to partner with reputable office print services providers. These tried-and-true businesses provide organized shipping and a single, trusted vendor.
Most importantly, office print partners like managed print service and printer leasing/maintenance providers offer quality, tested office print products combined with dedicated service for their clients. These businesses have thoroughly vetted the printing supplies, accessories, and machines they offer to ensure their business partners receive the most efficient printing available and the appropriate longevity, color, and quality from inks, toners, and papers.
Ordering office print supplies from online retail conglomerates like Amazon can be a tempting prospect for many businesses. But the downsides often outweigh the illusion of convenience and savings. Office print partners offer a better experience, quality print supplies, and, most importantly, the reliability every business needs to run smoothly.