What stores come to your mind when thinking about buying a new printer?
A few stores might pop into your mind. But if it’s based on retail sales from last year, then Office Depot was likely the first one you thought of.
According to the National Retail Federation, Office Depot was ranked 75th out of the top 100 (and the first office supplier) in 2021 U.S. retail sales, just behind Petco and just ahead of Victoria’s Secret.
But how does buying a printer from a retail giant like Office Depot compare to buying from a local print vendor that specifically sells printers and printer services?
That’s the question we will tackle in this blog. Here at STPT, we’ve been a print vendor for almost 40 years, and we want to use that expertise to help you choose where you should buy your next office machine.
Every workgroup or individual has different printing needs, so not everybody will be a fit to buy from a local company like ours, or a well-known retail store like Office Depot.
But if you have a fair and honest comparison listing the pros and cons of both options to use as a resource, you should be able to decide for yourself which option would be the better one to fit your specific requirements.
We’ll start by briefly describing some background information about STPT and Office Depot before going into the pros and cons of buying from each company.
Note: We mainly service the Dallas-Fort Worth and the greater North Texas area.
Who Is STPT?
Formed in 1986, Strategic Technology Partners of Texas (STPT) is an authorized Xerox Platinum Solutions Partner that has sold Xerox-branded printers/copiers for almost 40 years now.
Starting as a local office supply store in Gainesville, TX, STPT has now expanded to three locations, all in Texas: Gainesville, Plano and Weatherford. We also include a staff that, collectively, has over 200 years of experience in the industry.
In addition to selling office printing equipment, we also do printer repair services, managed print services and sell document management software like Y-Soft and PaperCut.
We have served thousands of clients of varying kinds, from schools, hospitals, law firms and local small businesses.
Watch the video below for more information about our business and values:
Who Is Office Depot?
Office Depot, now under the ODP Corporation, is a retail office supplier headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida.
Founded by F. Patrick Sher, they are currently led by CEO Gerry P. Smith and generate around $8.4 billion in revenue, according to CompaniesMarketCap.
They are noted for their comprehensive selection of office supplies, including printers, PCs and Monitors, office furniture and tech accessories, among other things.
According to ScrapeHero, there are over 1,000 Office Depot locations in the United States, operating in 45 states and territories and 690 cities.
Check out Office Depot’s “About Us” page to learn more about their company.
An Office Depot store, courtesy of their website:
2 Pros to Buying From STPT
Now, let’s shift to the pros and cons section, starting with the pros of buying from us at STPT:
Dedicated Fully to the Printer Industry
One of the main pros you get when buying a printer from STPT is we have professionally trained employees that specifically specialize in the printer industry and Xerox products.
Our experience and expertise are where we differentiate ourselves from retail giants: We have a training program that staff members must master to ensure that they are knowledgeable enough to help customers with whatever issue they are having related to their print environment.
This means we can offer expert-led advice on which machine to buy, what additional services or accessories you might need, how to save on printing costs and how to make sure your office printing equipment is as efficient as possible.
Quick Support and Customer Service
The next advantage to working with a local company like us is you have access to direct support and customer service that you will have a hard time getting when purchasing from a retail office supply store.
Whenever an issue arises with your machine, you can simply pick up the phone and call us and we can either resolve it on the phone or send one of our team of trained technicians to your site within 24-48 hours.
At some point, your printer will incur a paper jam, have Wi-Fi problems or malfunction in a way that renders the machine temporarily inoperable.
Because printer service can be difficult to find and cost upwards of $100 an hour without a service agreement, it’s one of the key areas where consumers experience frustration and financial consequences with their office machines.
Working with us allows you to have the machine properly installed and offers a direct line of communication whenever you experience an issue with your machine.
2 Cons to Buying From STPT
We’re not just going to cover the positives when it comes to buying with us. We operate as an honest and transparent company, and as such, here are two cons to buying from STPT:
Only Sell Xerox Products
Since we are accredited partners with Xerox, we only sell Xerox-branded machines and will not be able to sell you printers from other brands like Canon, Ricoh or Brother.
If you would like to see how Xerox printers compare to other brands, read the blogs below:
Won’t Be Able to Get Traditional Office Supplies
Another con to buying from us is we are not an office supply store where you can walk in and buy traditional supplies like staples, paper, pens, etc.
We primarily sell office printing equipment and services like maintenance plans, managed print and document management software.
3 Pros to Buying From Office Depot
So, you’ve now seen our side of things. Let’s shift to Office Depot’s pros and cons section, starting with the three pros of buying from the retail office supplier:
Sells Multiple Printer Brands
One of the main pros you get when buying from Office Depot is they sell multiple printer brands, with a variety of machines and supplies available.
Some of the brands they sell on their website include Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark Xerox, and many smaller ones comprising several categories of printers.
The number of options you can choose from is one of the chief advantages of purchasing from a retail store like Office Depot.
Accessible and Located Throughout the Country
We mentioned earlier that Office Depot has over 1,000 physical locations across the United States and operates in 45 of the 50 states.
This means that in most states, you can physically go to the store and look at the items you’re interested in, which is a plus if you want to see what you’re buying beforehand. You can also choose to shop on their website if desired.
Can Find Traditional Office Supplies and Printing Services
Office Depot is very versatile in terms of the products they sell. Not only do they sell the bigger office necessities like furniture, printers and computers, but they also sell the smaller office supplies that you typically use in the business setting on a daily basis.
These include desk accessories, paper, folders, pens, calendars, staplers, tape, etc. If you’re looking to buy traditional office supplies, you will likely find what you’re looking for at Office Depot.
Another major pro to using Office Depot is that they offer a long list of print and copy services that will allow you to essentially pay to have printing done at the store.
You can have almost anything printed at Office Depot, including regular document printing, photo printing, marketing materials and large-format printing, to name a few.
2 Cons to Buying From Office Depot
To close out this section, let’s go over a couple of cons to purchasing a printer from Office Depot:
Difficult to Obtain Direct Service and Support
While Office Depot is a solid option for buying a printer, they are designed to sell you the equipment and are not the best resource for support in the future.
We’ve gone over this point previously, but if you’re buying a printer, especially a larger all-in-one or multifunction machine, you will likely need support at some point to fix an issue.
Office Depot, and most other retail office suppliers, aren’t built to answer questions or fix issues you may have with your printer. The best they can do a lot of times is give you a phone number for support to call.
Specialize in Multiple Areas and Not Just Printers
Perhaps the most fundamental drawback to buying a printer from a retail store like Office Depot is that their expertise lies in their ability to sell all kinds of office equipment, technology and supplies.
If you’re buying a printer, most Office Depot locations will not have employees that focus specifically on the printer industry.
The con to this point is that if you need help finding the printer that nets you the greatest return on investment and saves you money in the long run, it will be difficult to find that kind of expertise at Office Depot.
They are trained to sell multiple areas in the office space and have had a lot of success doing so. But if you’re looking for a long-term partnership with expert-led guidance on your office printing equipment, Office Depot will likely not be the answer.
Which Company Should You Buy From?
Now that you have a full overview of the two companies and the pros and cons of buying a printer from each, which one would be best for you?
Here is a broad summation of who would be a good candidate for STPT and who would be a good candidate for Office Depot:
If you are a business that needs a printer and doesn’t want to independently manage all aspects of owning a printer, like buying supplies, getting support and outsourcing maintenance, then you would be a good candidate to buy from STPT or a local company in your area.
If you just want to buy the printer and worry about support, supplies and service as it comes, then Office Depot would be your best option because the short-term cost won’t be as big and obtaining the machine will be easy due to the accessibility of the franchise.
It’s not always going to be transparent in terms of who to go with when buying a printer. But our advice as a long-time print vendor in the industry is to make sure to think your decision through before buying.
We’ve seen customers go the cheap printer route and be bombarded with costly service issues later on. Conversely, we’ve also seen customers spend good money on machines that were too much for their workgroup.
Assess your situation, and when in doubt, lean on experts in the field to help guide you toward your ideal solution.
If you would like to consult one of our experts about your current situation, reach out to us and one of our team members will get back to you shortly.