Research: The Spider Report

Office products are increasingly bought online. Why is that and what are the must-haves for OP buyers? The answers are simple and complex in equal measure, as The Spider Report shows...


OPI and Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) have published their latest research study –  The Spider Report – which is focused on discovering the needs and attitudes of online office products buyers in the US and the UK. 

The results from the UK volume of this new study show that while online OP buyers hold a wide variety of positions in their companies, virtually all of them spend only a small proportion of their time purchasing office products. As a result, the reason they choose to buy them online is mainly because of convenience, speed and – most of all – a perception of being offered a low price.

Indeed, the The Spider Report clearly shows that what online OP purchasers need above all is reliable functionality from their online sources – at a competitive price. 

Primarily, this requires any online supplier to reliably and consistently fulfil the fundamental basics that any successful OP reseller should offer. It is only once these have been met that the supplier’s website itself becomes important, and once again the customer’s focus here is chiefly on the supplier getting the basics right, rather than necessarily offering a dazzling web solution. 

Of course, to achieve this kind of apparent simplicity requires a great deal of complex and detailed preparation. The OPI/MWA research offers guidance on the functions and services that any online resellers must focus their efforts on delivering in order to meet the expectations of online OP purchasers.

The Spider Report comprises two separate reports of approximately 100 pages each – one on the US and one on the UK – each featuring the results of in-depth interviews with 400 online B2B end-user OP buyers in each country. 

Quotas were applied to the research sample to ensure that a range of all business sizes and activities was covered, and answers to the following and other questions could be analysed in depth:

  • Which OP items are the most likely to be purchased online?
  • What share of core OP items is currently being purchased online? What is this share expected to be throughout 2016?
  • Which online suppliers are used to purchase each OP category?
  • What are the key factors that drive the selection of an online supplier?
  • Why are online purchases abandoned or online suppliers discarded?
  • How do buyers search for products?
  • What are the main problems encountered when searching for products online?
  • What spend or credit limits are imposed on online purchases?
  • Are manufacturer brands more important to online buyers?
  • How important is free delivery and what minimum spend is acceptable in order to get free delivery?

The Spider Report is designed to give vendors and distributors the tools they need to review, assess and update their online strategy to meet the needs of today’s online office products B2B purchaser.