The two are co-launching 'Omni Channel', a new, unique application that is hosted on Alibaba Group's cloud computing unit called Aliyun as a tool for marketers. The information is organised in such a way that it is easy for retailers and manufacturers to get a complete overview, according to Patrick Dodd, managing director of Nielsen China.
Nielsen’s retail-related research from brick-and-mortar stores will be married with Alibaba’s e-commerce insights from its Tmall and Taobao sites. Yan Xuan, president of Nielsen Greater China, said until now, there has been no way to understand the overlap in the online buying behaviour and offline purchasing habits of Chinese consumers. For example, which demographics and geographies are shopping more online, and how do these compare to offline growth?
The level of detail in Nielsen and Alibaba’s combined data platform goes down to product category performance, pricing intelligence, market share, purchasing patterns and sales trends. For instance, data about prices will not only be at a national level, but by various city tiers of China since the dynamics are quite different. Even purchase navigation journeys between offline and online channels can be looked into.
Brands can act on this to compare their own product assortment and retail strategy with competitors, as critical questions about which shoppers to reach, with what products, how to optimise marketing and sales investments, are attempted to be answered. In particular, smaller merchants on Alibaba can leverage offline retail data to improve its online advertising and targeting efforts.
This proprietary data deal starts in the China market, and the aspiration is to extend to Alibaba's priority international markets over time, though it is unknown at this point of time if Alibaba's new e-commerce portal in the US called 11 Main will benefit from Nielsen's knowledge of American shoppers.
Dodd said Nielsen does not rule out the possibilities of working together with other mainland e-commerce players like Jingdong or Suning in other ways in future projects.