Office Club managing director Mark Austen talks to OPI+ about his dealer club’s recent roadshow, which launched a number of new services in six cities around the UK and Northern Ireland
More than 40 per cent of Office Club’s membership attended the dealer group’s recent roadshow, which launched a series of new initiatives that have been developed or are in the process of being developed at the group.
"We were nervous about what members would think about us spending money on investments but they are very happy," Mark Austen, managing director of Office Club, told OPI+. "The shows were unbelievably well-received by members and I’m sure that the investments will help boost the profitability of our members."
News services launched included a large format printing service that will allow members to sell posters; a new parcel delivery service; the EOS buyer software, which allows dealers to compare price and stock from EOS suppliers to calculate the best supplier for the order; and a web store programme, a "sexy" virtual catalogue where the consumer is able to physically turn the pages online like a paper catalogue.
Software like EOS buyer and the virtual catalogue is free for Office Club dealers if they are compliant.
There are also expected to be a number of changes in Office Club’s purchasing strategy, OPI+ can reveal, but no details have been released at present.
The roadshows also featured one-to-one meetings between dealers and suppliers, which were a great success. "One major international manufacturer has also agreed to give Office Club one month’s exclusive run on some new products, so we will have them before the likes of Staples and Viking," said an excited Austen.
The new developments at the dealer group come at a time when a number of structural changes are underway within its membership categories, which aim to make dealer categories clearer for suppliers. The 14 "platinum" members are now known as "premium"; the 60 "full" members are now known as "corporate" as they are primarily commercial; and the 220 "retail" members are now known as "diamond" members, to reflect the number of dealers that operate retail outlets as well as commercial businesses.
As well as further developments, the dealer group’s next conference in March will also feature a number of specialised speakers, OPI+ can reveal.