NORTHBROOK, Ill. -- A wealth of retail sales data on the office products and school supply categories will soon become available to brand marketers as a result of an alliance between the School & Home Office Products Association and Nielsen North America. The two organizations announced a multiyear "strategic alliance" on Sept. 20. Nielsen will develop and provide an array of services to SHOPA members, and SHOPA will publish Nielsen research results on the school and office categories.
SHOPA is a nonprofit trade association of about 1,000 manufacturers, manufacturer representatives, wholesalers, distributors and retailers involved with the production, distribution and sale of school supplies and office products through mass channels.
Under the agreement, Nielsen will provide SHOPA members with research information, develop industry-specific analyses, provide specialized marketing information services, create education and training programs, and participate in SHOPA's trade show, scheduled this year in New Orleans Dec. 7 to 10. In the $60 billion a year school and office supply categories, detailed point-of-sale data on the order of what the packaged food business already enjoys has never been available before, said Jan Fisher, vice president and marketing director for Nielsen North America.
"It brings manufacturers in these categories closer to capabilities of doing category management and Efficient Consumer Response than has been possible in the absence of this information," he said.
SHOPA regards this alliance as a member benefit, according to President Byron Rex Miller. "This agreement has accelerated our timeline on critical industry issues such as establishing common, codified universal product code definitions and capitalizing on emerging technologies," he said. Nielsen plans to invest in a "clean-up" of school and home office product universal product codes and to create custom-designed category and segment data bases. It will also use household panel data to analyze issues affecting the industry, such as pricing differences among channels.
Nielsen will provide a large quantity of category-level information to SHOPA that the association will publish. "We believe this will establish us as the standard of information on the home and office categories," said Fisher.
In addition to quarterly published reports, SHOPA members will be able to contact the Nielsen Select on-line customer toll-free number for detailed information requests at any time.