Office Depot vs Staples: Which one is a better choice?

By Altay Gursel | November 5, 2020

Office Depot vs Staples: Competitors are compared

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Office depot vs staples comparison

Today, I am going to introduce you about two giants of office supplies trading industry.

At present days, I think office stationaries have an efficient role in our official and professional life, like writing materials, adhesives, staples, paperweights and much more.

We probably use school supplies in our childhood and both office supplies and business supplies in our professional life.

Always you may hear about Staples or Office Depot.

Yes, they are top office supplies stores in the world. Over the past ten years, we know the office supplies industry was dominated by these retail giants.

Then why Office depot and Staples and which is better or how we can find the best from them?

Some of questions like this, I think you will find addressed in this article.

That’s why; we are going to compare Office depot and Staples side by side concerning all the basic criteria like pricing, customer service, apple play and etc.



Now, let’s start our journey describing about Staples and Office depot.

Here’s what we are covering

  • What is Office Depot and Staples?
  • How are Office Depot and Staples different?
  • Is Staples better than Office Depot for school supplies?
  • Which website has more safety?

What is Office Depot and Staples?

We know both Office depot and Staples are American office retail companies. They are primarily involved in the sale of office supplies and other related products.

Staples was found by Leo Khan, Thomas. G Stemberg and Myra hart, headquartered in Framingham and Massachusetts in USA.

Checking the history of Office depot, you can see it was found by F Patrick Sher, headquartered in Florida and Boca Raton in USA.

First Established

Do you know which of them was first established?

In 1986 May, Staples was established first with its head offices in Massachusetts, Framingham. When it was 1990, they started expanding to western states.

Do you also know when they opened stores at first time, they delivered paper products and even machines like printers and faxes with office supplies.

Surprisingly, when we check history of Office Depot, we can see it was also founded in 1986 with their first stores in Boca Raton and Florida. They were expanded to the west-cost by merging with Office Club in 1990.

Within few years both companies widely expanded their services to various sub continents of the world.


Before we start to compare these stores, we have to check firstly about the similarities between Staples and Office depot.

Here, I want to explain you only some common similarities between them.

  • We all know that Staples and Office depot are the giants in office supplies industry and also know that this industry was controlled by these retail stores over last ten years.
  • For all of our office supplies, new business supplies and school supplies, we love shopping at friendly neighbourhood Staples and Office depot.

Because of the quality they provided over years, you always prefer them and avoid other stores like Office Max and Wall Mart.

  • Another similarity I have noticed is their good discounts and cheap prices than others. I think this may be occurred due to the competitive and bargain pricings between these giants.
  • Concerning consumer’s choices, we can say Staples and Office Depot are the top office supply stores in the world. Both can also provide thousands of employment opportunities too.

How are Office Depot and Staples different?

Now we are going to discuss about the main topic of our article.

How are Office Depot and Staples different?

I think this is a crucial question.

It is also one which many freelancers and young professionals have.

For taking this step forward, we must first ask ourselves:

How is this difference affecting me and my future purchase?

Both companies might be great for office supplies or stationary shopping, but when we concern on setting up our own business on one of them, you can see there are several things you need to pay attention.

This comparison-I think-will be very useful for your future purchases in like coming ‘Back to school’ seasons.

Here I want to compare Staples and Office Depot on basis of their various services and at last you probably choose which the better.

Let’s take a glance on how these marketplaces differ.

What is the difference between Staples and Office Depot?

From various reviews of consumers I got that both companies have their own advantages and disadvantages. That’s not easy to find the clear difference between them.

The main difference between Staples and Office Depot lies in the fact that Staples had better revenues and profits, while Office Depot prices tend to be cheaper for everyday items compared to Staples.

I can say Office Depot provides more discounts and promotions than Stables.

But, I think there is not a lot to differentiate these companies as a customer. Some customers even think both are the same company.

Do you think that they tried to merge?

Yes, in the past they have tried twice to merge, but US government was blocking them both times.

Last but not least, let’s check another three advantages of Staples compared to Office Depot in my view.

  • Product assortment- Staples carries largest collection of products of Office Depot, Office Max (another office supplies company in US and it was merged with Office Depot in 2013) and Staples.
  • Supply chain- Staples probably has the most expanded supply chain of these major three companies (concerning the fast of getting the products).
  • Market share- If you check the market capitalisation of Staples, you can find that is nearly close to the mixed market of both Office Depot and Office Max. That’s why I told you that Staples has better profits and revenues in the starting.

I think you may be confused about these unapproved facts.

Don’t worry, we will check these differences briefly in coming chapters.

Really I want to describe you about these facts and let’s also compare more about Office Depot and Staples side by side.

Which is best in sales and promotions?

From this title, we start to compare most important services of these companies that a consumer must know.

I suggest you to share this information to your friends or others they want to shop from these marketplaces if you interest.

Firstly let’s check which company is best in sales and promotions.

Does Staples offer sales events?

Answer is ‘unlikely’.

Based on my latest research, it shows that Staples may not offer or feature any kind of sales at the current time.

You will be able to find out additional information about its availability of promotions and sales on Staples’s customer service page. We can also check their homepage to find that Staples has posted any updates about their availability of sales and promotions.

Does Office Depot offers sales events?

Answer is ‘Yes’

Yes, Office Depot offers sales events. We can find addition information about their sales and promotions on Office Depot’s customer service page.

For checking new posts about sales and promotions, you also visit their homepage.

Which has best student discount policies?

From the above section we understood that only Office Depot is offering sales events.

Now let’s check another field, which company has better student discount policies.

Staples offer students discounts?

Based on my recent research, I got that the Staples didn’t offer any kind of student discounts at current time. We can check their customer service page for proving it.

For getting updates on this, you have to visit their homepage too.

Does Office Depot offer student discounts?

Yes, Office Depot does offer student discount offers at this time.

You know they are giving up to 20% discounts on student equipment in few store locations.

Really, you have to know that Office Depot student discount offers are not available for online purchasing and I think individual stores are setting their own discount policies.

Which company makes more revenue?

In this section, we are going to check which marketplace is earning more profits in last year.

When we compare about their annual incomes, we can get which marketplace consumers prefer more.

Now look at Staples profits in the starting of last year.

As the Forbs magazine indicates, I can tell you that Staples has sales of 14 billion dollars till the fiscal year end in Jan 31, 2019.

Then let’s check statics of Office Depot.

At this time in fiscal year of 2018, Office Depot has only sales of 11 billion dollars. It is comparatively less to sales of Staples.

Let’s step into other topic.

Which has best returning policies?

As a customer, you must know about returning policies of the company you want purchase from.

That’s why; we are going to check which has best returning policies.

In short, both Staples and Office Depot offer free returns and exchanges for their customers.

 I think their good services like this helped them to sustain safe in office supply industry for years.

What are the differences in return policies?

Although both companies are offering free returns and exchanges, you can see some difference in their returning policies like the time of return.

If you are not satisfied completely with your purchase from Staples, you can return it within thirty days.

At this time if your purchase was from Office Depot, they offer you 90 days to return (excluding companies brand products).

But, both companies are only allowing 14 days if you purchased products like Laptops, Computers, tablets, smart/cell phones, e Readers and unopened drones.

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

Which is best in international shipping?

Now, let’s check which company is best in international shipping.

Does Staples offer international shipping?

Unfortunately, Staples doesn’t offer any kind of international shipping, because catalogues, websites and US-related businesses of Staples are always operated within neighbouring United States consumers in the US.

That’s why they do not deliver products to international addresses and I think always they ship to street addresses (not FPO/APO or PO boxes) in only contiguous United States.

But, based on my research, I can say that Office depot is offering international shipping services. We can see more about their shipping services at customer service tab.

The difference in Free shipping

You know Office depot is offering 2 days fast free shipping services for VIP members.

If you are not a VIP member, don’t tension, they also offer free shipping within 4-5 business standard days. They also didn’t want any qualifying orders or minimum purchase for these services.

Then what about Staples free shipping?

Staples is not same like Office Depot in free shipping. You can enjoy their free shipping only if you have order of $49 or above.

I think you may know that Staples does not deliver any kind of products directly from their stores.

From the above discussions, you may get an idea about the difference between the services of these giants and you can evaluate one of them for your upcoming purchases.

Is Staples is better than Office Depot for school supplies?

At last chapter, we discussed about how Staples and Office Depot differ in basic features that a customer must know before purchase.

In this chapter we are going to discuss about other topic.

You may always think which company is better for buying school supplies?

Yes, that is I am going to tell you about at this chapter. Especially ‘Back to school’ season is in our waiting list.

Here, I am going to analyse four basic factors in selecting best school supply store.

  • Cost
  • Locations
  • Product Selection
  • Extras

We are checking Both Staples and Office Depot with these four basic factors below. We rate every store at last concerning all services.

Okay now let’s start.

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 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

From these analysed details, I think you may a get a solution for your doubts.

Now let’s check which company’s website is more safe and secure at coming chapter.

Which website has more safety?

In this chapter, we are going to discuss and compare about the security and safety of both companies website. Which website has more safety?

I think this question will be answered with same words, because of the two marketplaces are safer for both consumers and sellers.

Another thing we have to know here is that both are offering website security and privacy services and both are using third party websites.

That’s why we can’t compare about better website security and now I want to suggest you about some things to be avoided on their platforms are:

  • Asking us to click on the link that makes us outside platform
  • Negative reviews writing under other products page
  • Offering high massive discount deals
  • Fake reviews buying.

I think every day these all take place from third party users on both websites of Office Depot and Staples.

Be sure to avoid such tactics.

Finally, the information provided in this post is true to the best of my knowledge and research, always try to find the best discounts and offers before purchasing any type of office or school supplies from both Staples and Office Depot and I think this article will help you for your upcoming purchases.