January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Office Depot best overall value, ShopServe says

Office Depot is the top overall value among leading large- and small-name Internet office supplies retailers, edging out rival clicks-and-mortar megachain Staples.com, ShopServe.com reports. ShopServe.com is a Northvale, N.J.-based independent shopping information provider. In an exclusive test of eight representative online office product vendors, independent e-shopping adviser ShopServe found that Delray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot offers the best combination of price, service, user experience and reliability of deliveries and returns. The self-described "world's largest seller of office products," ranked slightly ahead of Staples.com. Computers and electronics emporium Egghead.com and Internet business portal firstsource.com tied for last.

The sites tested (in order of overall score, from best to worst):
--Office Depot
--Staples.com
--AtYourOffice.com
--OfficeMax.com
--Henry Hall Office Supplies
--TotalOfficeSupply
--Egghead.com
--firstsource.com

To conduct its ShopTest, ShopServe purchased approximately $150 worth of items from each e-retailer and, to gauge each site's return process and policies, sent (or arranged to have sent) about half of the items back. The sites were rated for factors including cost, reliability, delivery, returns, user-friendliness and customer service.

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