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Office Depot vs Staples: Competitors are compared

Office depot vs staples comparison

Staples and Office Depot are both successful office supply retailers. The two giants in the field offer an enormous variety of products to their customers from school supplies to office materials.

In this post, we will answer the question of which one would be better off working with. We will compare two companies that excel in shipping, customer service, and more to make it easier for you to choose the right one.

But before we start you may be interested in seeing Jeff Lerner’s 7 Figure Business Model.

Here’s what we are going to cover:

  • What are Office Depot and Staples?
  • How are Office Depot and Staples different?
  • Is Staples better than Office Depot for school supplies?
  • Which one is better for online shopping?

What is Office Depot and Staples?

Staples and Office Depot are American office retail companies. They are primarily involved in the sale of office supplies and other related products. Staples was founded by Thomas. G Stemberg, Leo Khan and Myra Hart in Framingham and Massachusetts. Office Depot was found by F Patrick Sher, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida.

First Established

Staples opened its doors in May 1986, in 1990 the company was already serving in most western states.

Surprisingly, Office Depot also in business since 1986 with its first stores in Boca Raton, Florida. They have also expanded their operations to the west-cost by merging with Office Club in 1990.


Before we compare these stores, we have to check first for similarities between Staples and Office Depot.

  • They both dominate the office supplies industry in the US.
  • They have a better product range than Office Max & WallMart.
  • They usually discount on the same items at the same time. (Competitive pricing)
  • Both brands have thousands of stores across the US.

What are the differences between Staples and Office Depot?

I have learned from various consumer reviews that both companies have their own advantages and disadvantages. It's not easy to find a clear difference between them.

The main difference between Staples and Office Depot is that Staples had better revenues and profits, while Office Depot prices tend to be cheaper than Staples for everyday items. Office Depot offers more discounts and promotions than Staples.

That said the difference is not huge. Some customers even think they are almost the equivalent in many ways.

Here are the main advantages of Staples compared to Office Depot.

  • Product assortment: Staples has the largest collection of office supply products. More than Office Depot, Office Max, or any other U.S. office supply company.
  • Supply chain: Staples has a more functional supply chain than Office Depot.
  • Market share: Staples has a bigger market share than Office Depot, and no surprise it has better profit margins.

Which is the best in terms of pricing?

Does Staples offer sales events?

The answer is ‘unlikely’. Staples has no promotional days that apply significant discounts to its products. Visit Staples’s customer service page for more information.

Does Office Depot offers sales events?

The answer is ‘Yes’. Office Depot offers sales events. You can find additional information about their sales and promotions on Office Depot’s customer service page.

Which company offers the best discounts for the students?

Staples doesn't offer student discounts as it is not mentioned on the company's customer service page. However, Office Depot offers a 20% discount for the students at select store locations. Office Depot discounts are not available purchasing from the company's online store. It is also important to note individual stores are setting their own discount policies.

Don't forget to compare the prices you have found on these stores with the Amazon office supplies section.

Available Payment Methods

Office Depot accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, as well as the Office Depot® OfficeMax® Business and Personal credit cards. Orders for delivery must be paid for in advance with a credit card.

The company also incorporated additional secure payment options to better meet the needs of their customers. Working with Office Depot can also pay Office Depot® OfficeMax® Gift Cards and Reward Cards, Cash and Check Payments, and PayPal.

Staples accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmericanExpress, gift cards, and checks in addition to Staples® Credit Cards. You can pay for your transactions online and at the kiosk using single or multiple payment methods. Staples does not accept cards issued outside of the United States. This makes Staples not ideal if you plan to pay with a card issued by a foreign bank.

Orders for Staples delivery can be set at a kiosk and paid for in the stores. At the counter, the company accepts cash, gift card, check, and credit and debit cards for these orders.

Neither Office Depot nor Staples accept Bitcoin or any other type of cryptocurrency payment. Although there are has been many rumors online, both companies website doesn't include crypto as a method of payment.

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Which company does generate more revenue?

According to Forbes magazine, Staples has made 14 billion dollars till the fiscal year-end on Jan 31, 2019. While during the same period Office Depot has earned only 11 billion dollars.

Which company has the best return policy?

In short, both Staples and Office Depot offer free returns and exchanges for their customers. The most recent information about their return policies can be achieved at the customer service pages of these companies.

Even though both companies offer free returns and exchanges, they differ in their policies regarding returns and exchanges.

Staples offer 30 days of no-questions-asked return while Office Depot offers a 90 days return period. Please note return these companies' return policy may not be applicable to the company's brand products.

However, both companies offer 14 days return period if you purchased products like laptops, computers, tablets, smart/cell phones, e-Readers, and unopened drones.

You must return the purchased product in saleable condition with original packaging (including packing slip or your receipt, UPC code, and other parts) for getting a full refund from both companies.

Are these companies offer international shipping?

Staples doesn’t offer any kind of international shipping. However, Office Depot offers international shipping to some extent. You can have more information about shipping locations on the company's service page.

Are these companies offer free shipping?

Office Depot offers 2 days fast free shipping services for VIP members. If you are not a VIP member, there is also a free shipping service within 4-5 business days. Not all purchases may qualify for free shipping. Staples offers free shipping for orders sum of $49 or more.

School supplies

Office Depot for buying School supplies

  • COST: Costs in Office Depot are almost competitive. But, it’s basic school supplies and everyday items have higher discounts and promotions. Concerning all price restrictions we rate 4/5.
  • LOCATIONS: We know Office depot had merged with Office Max in 2013. Due to this merging, they closed many stores. We rate 4/5
  • PRODUCT SELECTION: Large variety collection in stores. It has store brand for comfort delivering of school supplies per the grade in website. We rate 5/5
  • EXTRAS: Office Depot has one-hour store pickup. We know they also have rewards program, credit cards and business template downloadable forms from website. We rate 5/5
  • My total score is=4.5/5

Now let’s check what about Staples

Staples for buying School supplies

  • COST: When we check the prices of Staples, we can see they will defeat all competitors. If there any comparable items found, Staples will plus ten percentages on them. We rate 5/5
  • LOCATIONS: Staples has the most worldwide stores, including Europe, Asia, and South America, regularly located in some outdoor malls. We rate 4/5
  •  PRODUCT SELECTION: About 500,000 products are available online and now they also sell Apple accessories in their stores. We rate 5/5
  • EXTRAS: It has a wide collection of rewards programs, easy rebates, easy reorder, branching out their products in different industries, credit cards, and discounts in various sectors. We rate  5/5