A pinch and a punch: how to sell staplers and punches

Boost sales by using our quick and simple guide to punches and staplers 

The first known stapler was made in the 1700sforKing Louis XV. Each staple was inscribed with the insignia of the royal court. As paper use increased, so too did the need for the stapler. These days a stapler is an essential piece of office equipment. Helping your customers choose the right one involves looking at the key aspects of size, capacity and use.

Hand-held staplers are an essential retail and office supply item and come in compact sizes and shapes for everyday use. 
Staple guns, suited to packaging tasks and DIY projects in and around the office or home, feature a high tension spring which enables tacking to a range of base materials and is an ideal tool for decoration and repairs. Long reach staplers should be considered if you need to make up booklets, since they allow the teeth to reach the centre fold.

On average, a standard desktop stapler can fasten up to 20 sheets at a time, while a heavy-duty stapler is suitable for stapling 100-sheet office documents comfortably. Small, pocketsize staplers can fit into a student bag or backpack and some feature a handy, built-in staple remover too. They can staple up to 12 sheets of paper.

Electric staplers feature an automatic arm that triggers when paper is inserted. For security purposes, always ensure you purchase a model with a safety switch to prevent accidental operationFor customers in busy environs, buying a stapler with a security loop is advisable. This ensures that the stapler won’t be stolen or misplaced.

Portable staplers offer a keyring attachment allowing them to be clipped to a work bag or mobile work station. The larger sizes have higher stapling capabilities and an integrated staple storage compartment in order to keep extra staples handy. 
Portable electric staplers operate on battery power or AC adapters and come with an display to indicate when to add new staples. 

Staples are supplied or available to purchase with the stapler model of choice. Remember that the higher capacity staplers also need larger or high-capacity staples to reach through the larger stacks of paper. Heavy-duty staples come in a variety of leg lengths, and usually feature sharper teeth. The thicker the stack of papers to be stapled, the longer the vertical legs of the staple must be to ensure it is correctly clinched. They also come in staple cartridges for easier loading. For the office professional, colour co-ordinated staples ensure aesthetic continuity in printed reports. 

When loading staples, there are many options to consider: a bottom loader, where the base of the stapler is removed and staples are inserted; a top-load stapler which allows you to open the top of the stapler; front-load staplers that have a staple magazine that pops open from the front; and back-load models which have a staple tray that extends from the rear of the stapler. To avoid jams, advise your customers to use only the recommended staple type and size for the model in question. They should not staple above the stated sheet capacity. If the stapler will be used by multiple users, customers should consider purchasing one with a jam-free mechanism. 

Staplers come in many shapes, sizes and colours. Customers can further personalise their choices by buying a stapler with a name plate on which to engrave their details. Customers who are environmentally conscious might be interested in purchasing a staple manufactured from 100% post-industrial recycled plastic. They often come in recycled cardboard packaging printed with petroleum-free, soy-based inks.

As with any purchase, advise your customers to look for a product guarantee that suits their needs.

Aside from the stapler itself and additional staples, another point on which to upsell is a staple removerIn claw, scissor, pen and easy-glide remover shapes, they quickly and effortlessly remove staples without damaging the documentation. 

Selling points of staplers

Stapler size
Half strip staplers are smaller and compact and hold a half strip of staples (approximately 105 staples). Half-strip staplers are sold to students or to home office users where desk or briefcase space is a consideration. 
Fullstrip staplers can be loaded with a full strip of staples (approximately 210 staples), which is better for the customer as they will have to refill or reload less often. Full-strip staplers are more popular for high-volume office use. 

Stapler type
In South Africa we tend to categorise staplers as being plastic or metal. This categorisation refers to the outer cladding of the stapler, as the working parts in both cases are made of metal. It is generally accepted that metal staplers are more durable and therefore better suited to highvolume office use. 

Stapler usage
Light-use staplers are typically simple machines made of lightweight materials. They have basic features and are intended for occasional use, such as for home usestudy and infrequent filing.
Regular-use staplers are reliable machines made from more durable materials, mostly metal. Added value features include: flat clinch staple finishlow force mechanisms which reduce effort by up to 50%; an ergonomic design; and soft-feel touch points for comfort. 
Heavy-duty staplers are designed to be strong and sturdy, and are built to work with highcapacity paper documents. These staplers are made from hard-wearing, durable materials and are designed to staple more than 60 sheets of 80gsm paper. 
Staplers for specialist use give consumers the ability to complete the more unusual jobs, such as booklet stapling and tacking. 

 Stapling mechanism types
Permanent clinch is the most popular stapling mechanism. This mechanism delivers a long lasting, closed staple clinch. Opening the staple requires a staple remover. Flat clinch is a value added stapling mechanism which lays the staple legs flat against the paper, thereby cutting filing space by as much as 30%.
Pinning is available on staplers whose anvil can be swivelled. Paperwork is then temporarily secured in a pinning fashion, making it easy to release the documents by hand. 
Tacking is a form of stapling used for fastening paper or textiles to bulletin boards or wooden surfaces. The ends of the staple are not bent over, but sunk vertically into the backing material.

The first hole puncher was patented in 1886. Since then, punches have been a common form of office equipment. Early hole punchers were manual and handheld, and could only cut a single hole at a time. Now consumers are spoiled for choice, with a wide range of modern models to choose fromKnowing your punches will help you to help your customers make the right choice. 

A punch is ideal for binding presentations in a file or folder. It allows for organisation, filing and retrieval of all paper and cardboard related projects, reports and documentation. 

The number of holes that your consumers require will depend entirely on their filing system. Punches with one-, two- and three-hole capabilities are perfect for organising papers within an individual book ring, three-ring binder or standard file. 
Single hole punches are also used at events to punch tickets to prevent them being redeemed twice. They are also used within loyalty programmes, where a customer is issued a card and each time a purchase is made, a hole is punched to mark the progression of purchase and reward stages. 
Two-hole punches are used for two-ringed files, as seen in small offices and learning institutions. 
Three-hole punches make it easy to use the standard printer paper required to be filed in three-ringed notebook files. 

Another important aspect of a punch is its sheet capacity. Heavy duty punches are capable of taking up to 160 sheets at a time. They are suited to large scale projects, such as those found in the corporate and manufacturing industries. These models require virtually no effort when punching stacks of sheets, getting the job finished faster and more accurately.

Electric punches offer ease of use, as no physical exertion is required by your customer to punch holes accurately and quickly. Portable electric versions are also available for use at events or exhibitions or when moving between departments within a large enterprise. Electric punches are automatic and effortless, and are ideal for frequent use on large jobs when speed and accuracy are critical.
Electric binding machines also offer a punching capability as part of the binding process.

Lever handle punches are adjustable to punch anywhere from two to seven holes. They feature a heavy base for stability, a calibrated position guide and a removable paper pan to dispose of offcuts.  

Selling points of punches 

There is no standard in South Africa with regards to the accurate categorisation of paper punches. One would think that punches with a sheet capacity of about eight would be described as student punches. Light duty punches would have a 10 to 12 sheet capacity. Medium duty punches would be in the region of 20 to 35 sheets, while heavy-duty punches would be in 40+ sheet capacity.  

No such logical luck. Where one manufacturer may describe a 30 sheet capacity punch as being medium duty, another brand may describe their punch of similar capacity as heavy-duty 

Rexel has attempted to address this anomaly in the way that it names its paper punches. A Rexel V210 is a value two hole, 10-sheet capacity punch. A Rexel P265 is a premium two hole, 65-sheet capacity punch. A Rexel P425 is a premium four hole, 25-sheet capacity punch. 

So why the names: value and premium? Value punches are all metal, standard specification, strong and robust. They will get the job done. They offer no value-added features as entry level price points are important to maintain. Premium punches are as strong and robust and they offer value-adds such as ergonomic design and soft touch points for comfort; attractive silver black or silver blue colours for aesthetic appeal; patented paper alignment indicators that ensure accurate punching; a confetti release gate which obviates the need to remove the plastic base to throw away punched paper chads; and an angled base for easy paper insertion. The paper guide has a visible window for ease of setting. The premium punch handle has a lock down feature for easy desk drawer storage. These premium punches are so good you will want to hide them from potential punch pinchers.

With contributions by Bill Bayley, MD of Rexel Office Products 

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