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Local office suppliers band together to beat the big boys online

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Ten specialist office product websites selling everything from fire safes to office shredders are to begin trading with an innovative new business model in October.

The sites are being run by a new venture called TheSupermarketOnline.com, set up by the Superstat Group, and aim to take the buying group philosophy of strength in numbers and apply it to the world of online office products retail to produce a modern co-operative for the internet age.

The ten niche websites are being supported by a network of regional dealers, delivering in every area of the country. The aim is to provide the value for money of a large nationwide business with the personal service of a local company. The sites set to roll out out include theprinterinksupermarket.com, the shreddersupermarket.com and thesafesupermarket.com. Holding pages are currently in place on each site, in advance of the full launch in October 2009.

"The niche office supplies sites will provide a valuable new route to market for local office products retailers, which is more important than ever in this competitive marketplace," says The Supermarket Online. The sites will use custom-built web technology, developed by Webigence, and will include rating and reviews, leasing options, variable dispatch dates and free delivery.

The launch will be backed by a cumulative advertising spend of some £1.2m per year combined with a specialist SEO team who will ensure the sites are Google-friendly and "in aggressive competition with major office product retailers on the web".

"We have several retail sites working, but these are just test stores at the moment with the really exciting web development happening in secret ready for go live," says The Supermarket Online's commercial manager Chris Armstrong. "The sites that will launch in October are light years away from the traditional office product sites out there. We have really spent a lot of time creating dynamic, user friendly sites that deliver commercially."
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