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May 4, 2023

Save smarter by creating a buying plan

Woman reviewing materials on group buying programs

If you're looking to save money on office supplies, joining a group purchasing organization (GPO) can be a great option. Also known as a group buying program, these organizations combine the buying power of multiple people and/or businesses to negotiate better prices on everything from pens and paper to furniture and computers. Here's how to take advantage of a group purchasing organization for your office supply needs and create a buying plan to maximize your savings.

⁠Choosing the right group purchasing organization

The first step to taking advantage of a group purchasing organization is to choose the right one for your business. Look for a GPO that specializes in office supplies and has contracts with reputable vendors. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Membership fee - Check if the group purchasing organization has a membership fee or if there are any other costs related to the program.
  • Track record - Make sure that the GPO has a good track record of delivering savings to its members. See how long they’ve been in business and find out if they have any historical figures related to the amount of savings they pass on to members.
  • Discounts - Review the discounts and savings the program offers and compare those to other related programs.
  • Vendors - Check if the group purchasing organization's contracts include any of your regular vendors.
  • Quality of Products - In addition to the GPO’s vendors, explore the quality of the specific products included in the program.
  • Features - Look for additional features the group purchasing organization may offer, such as vendor specials, exclusive offers, customer service and more.

⁠Save smarter with a buying plan

Once you've chosen a group purchasing organization, it's time to create a buying plan to maximize your savings. Here's how:

  • Assess your office supply needs - Start by assessing your office supply needs and determining which items you purchase frequently. This will help you focus your buying plan on the items that can provide the greatest savings.
  • Compare prices across different suppliers - Compare the prices of the items you purchase frequently across different suppliers in the GPO's contracts. This will help you find the best deals and identify the vendors you should use for each item.
  • Take advantage of seasonal sales and promotions - Another way to maximize your savings is to take advantage of the group purchasing organization's seasonal sales and promotions. These events can offer significant discounts on popular items, so keep an eye out for them and plan your purchases accordingly.
  • Use the designated supplier - When you're ready to make a purchase, be sure to use the GPO's designated supplier. This is important because they’ve negotiated the best possible price with that supplier, so using a different supplier could result in higher prices.
  • Set up recurring orders - Consider setting up a recurring order for items you use frequently. This can help ensure that you never run out of essential supplies and can take advantage of any volume discounts.

⁠More tips for group purchasing

In addition to the strategies above for your buying plan, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • While a group purchasing organization may not always have the lowest price on every product, the overall savings can still be substantial.
  • Many GPOs offer contests and incentives for a chance to win items from the designated supplier. Stay connected with your GPO and participate in these contests. 
  • In addition to saving on items you need, use your GPO’s offerings to reduce waste and increase efficiency in your office.
  • Don't forget about customer service. A good group purchasing organization should provide excellent customer service to its members.

Is Excelerate America’s Collective right for you?

Joining a group purchasing organization is a smart way to save money on office supplies. At Excelerate America we focus on helping small and medium-sized businesses save smarter on office supplies (and much more) through our partnership with ODP Business Solutions – this is Office Depot’s business division. 

We secure core list pricing on over 1,800 of their top products and services, including office supplies, furniture, technology products, and printing services, so our members can save every time they need to make a purchase. We also work with specific brand vendors to offer limited-time specials exclusively designed for our Collective, so you can save even more on the products you need the most.

Here are some key things that make Excelerate America’s GPO unique:

  • 40,000+ members together saved $21 million on office supplies in 2022
  • Stable pricing: Up to 55% off essential offices supplies
  • Copy & Print discounts: Up to 40% off black and white and up to 25% off color

If you're ready to join the Collective, you can sign up for free.

Learn more about our group buying program.

Want to learn more about how to save money with a GPO?
⁠Download The Power of Many: Guide to Group Purchasing for Office Supplies.
Get Free Guide


Michelle Keller

UX writer, content editor, small business storyteller.