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Why Is My Online Pricing Different from Prices on and Staples Stores?

Updated on January 17, 2011


I've been a Stapleslink customer for a number of years and have bought thousands of items from their website for the company I work for.  Every so often I've noticed that Staples stores and have prices that differ from the prices I get on

The Differences

Stapleslink is a website for businesses to buy their office supplies. Staples Link offers plans for small businesses and national businesses.

Staples stores are those classic brick and mortar stores located in strip malls nationwide is a consumer-focused website that allows folks like you and I to make on line purchases.

Why Does the Price Sometimes Differ ?

I had noticed that sometimes the prices on and the Staples store are higher than my Stapleslink account prices. Other times, they are lower.

We buy a lot of stationary and business products so I get good attention from our sales representative.  I asked him why the prices differ. More specifically, I asked him how the store and consumer website prices could be lower than my business to business account.  I reasoned that my employer's large volume of purchases justified us getting the lowest price.

First, our account rep assured me that we can get the best pricing and he matched the other sites lower pricing to my account.

Second, he spoke specifically to each business unit:

1.The Staples brick and mortar stores are often carrying close out items.  They are new and in great shape, but often the store is a dumping ground for items that aren't selling on the websites. Office furniture is a good example. They display it to the public at better-than-internet pricing in hopes of getting rid of it.

Of course, not all store items are close out items but if you are finding the store items cheaper than the site the chances are these are items they are trying to get rid of.  If you are a Stapleslink customer, use the knowledge of lower store pricing to your advantage and call your rep for better pricing. The worst he or she can say is 'no'.

2. is a consumer office supply site and, while it is part of the same company as Stapleslink, they DO compete with Stapleslink for business.  That is not to say they want to drive each other out of business, but they certainly want to outsell each other as well as outsell the rest of their competition.

For this reason, you'll certainly see pricing differ from time to time.  Some items consumers buy more often than businesses and vice versa depending on the consumer trends or sales cycle for certain products.

Use Information To Your Advantage

Chances are you already have access to at least the store and the consumer website. Regardless if you are able to purchase from both or all three, use pricing information to your advantage. If you see an item at the physical store, check on line and price compare. Make sure you get the best deal.  If you have a business account and a salesperson is assigned to your account, check with that person anytime you see better pricing elsewhere. Most of the time they are happy to have the information, plus they might be able to get you a cost savings.


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