The Office Products Market in Europe is characterised by a complex distribution structure and multiple sales channels. Up to seven layers of distribution for some consumable products add significantly to prices paid by the end user. Our client, a leading supplier of both consumable and hardware office products needed to understand the market dynamics in all parts of the distribution chain from suppliers of finished and semi-finished products to the end user. The paper describes the process by which the market was researched in its entirety through detailed market investigations to generate a full understanding of all aspects of the market place. The investigation covered the whole supply, distribution and user chain for key products from Original Equipment Manufacturers, other market suppliers and importers, all channels of distribution and leading edge end users. A key feature of the projects was the full integration of existing data, the close working relationship with the country and European sales organisations of the client. The project covered all countries in Northern, Western and Southern Europe. The project approach, market coverage, quality of interviews and sophisticated analysis was directly responsible for the success of the client in the market place. In the main market sectors, the company was able to achieve significant increases in market share. Results of the survey led to a review of the entire distribution structure, opening up of new distribution channels, channel rationalisation in many countries and lower end user prices whilst protecting product margins.
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