INTERVIEW: Office supplies etailer Viking on growing tech offering

PCR speaks to head of ecommerce David Coleman
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PCR speaks to head of ecommerce David Coleman

PCR speaks to Viking head of ecommerce David Coleman about the office supplies and tech etailer's plans and how independents can get involved.

PCR: What sets you apart from other online retailers?

David Coleman: Whether it's everyday office supplies such as pens and paper or warehouse and cleaning items, we deliver great value products to almost anywhere in the UK. Selling everything from ink cartridges to entertainment systems, we’re a one stop shop for every small business out there.

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, we offer the convenience of retailing thousands of products all in one place – we’ve got an item to meet any specific need.

With experience spanning more than 20 years, we’ve seen some of our customers with businesses grow alongside us and continue to shop with Viking. We value their loyalty and as a result we always strive for the best customer service possible.

What are your most popular tech products? Have you seen an increase in demand for these?

Now more than ever, time is an increasingly valuable currency and SME owners and employees are always trying to maximise their productivity, so items that help to make the office more efficient are generally the most popular.

From USB flash drives, label makers and shredders to laminators and Apple iPads, all of these items keep the day-to-day running of an office in order which ultimately allows our customers to concentrate on growing their business.

How can independent retailers get involved with you?

Businesses know Viking and trust us, we’ve got wide brand recognition and we’re one of the leading online office supplier retailers, so there is great potential for traffic and revenue for any affiliate working with us.

Our programme offers fantastic EPC (earnings per click) opportunities with highly competitive commission rates. Visit our affiliate information page for further details.

Do you have any Christmas promotions lined up?

We’ve just launched our Christmas shop which includes promotions on food hampers, cards and gifts and as we look towards the change in season, we’ll also be unveiling our winter shop which includes essential items to tackle the colder weather.

How competitive will the tech market be this Q4 compared to recent years?

The way in which businesses operate is constantly shifting; we now live in a fast paced environment whereby advances in technology and increased competition set a pace. As new technology develops so do the needs of our customers, so it’s up to us to stay one step ahead to make sure that we remain consistent in our offering of quality products that meet the expectations of our customers.

How do you expect the tech/stationery markets to change as we approach 2014?

We’ve found that customers want to deal with fewer suppliers and want to buy everything from one retailer. Customers are now very considered when it comes to purchasing; the focus is on value and how much that extends long term.

In terms of technology, people are looking for items to make their life easier which is why the Apple iPad is so popular, more and more people are viewing the iPad as a business tool, the huge range of apps available mean that it is being given to delivery drivers, shelf stackers and even wine waiters as an integral device for some businesses.

What are the benefits of being owned by Office Depot?

Office Depot is a global player and is often used as a benchmark for best practice, so one of the biggest benefits to being owned by them is that we are part of a world class supply chain which allows us to give more competitive offers to our customers.