How Alibaba is helping brands succeed
Alibaba-owned Tmall has joined forces with some of the world’s leading market research consultancies to help brands drive product development.
Through its research and development arm, the Tmall Innovation Center (TMIC), the B2C platform has formed an alliance with 10 firms – including Nielsen, Kantar TNS and Euromonitor International – to help brands “power up in-house innovation."
The companies will open up specialized analytics and research methodologies to one another to drive richer and more-precise consumer insights, shortening the time and costs required for brands to incubate new products, TMIC said in a statement.
So far, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, Mars, Mattel, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal and Samsung are among the 81 companies to partner with TMIC on new product innovations. Partnering brands have already debuted about 300 incubated products to date, many of which took less than six months to bring from concept to market, significantly speeding up development cycles compared to the typical 18 to 24 months, Tmall said. As an example, Mars, Inc. worked with TMIC to develop a new chili-infused Snickers bar to appeal to China’s spice-craving consumers.
Mars, Inc. collaborated with TMIC to identify a “spicy, numbing” flavor of Snickers for Chinese consumers.
“Product development is critical for the consumer goods sector, where the success of a new product can mean a greater win for the respective brand or category. For most leaders in the field, when it comes to their annual strategic product launches, failure is not an option. They need to hit targets,” said Liu Bo, president of Tmall Marketing and Operations. “The TMIC team helps our close brand partners to generate precisely targeted market awareness, as well as meet their expectations for future product launches."
Launched in April last year, TMIC offers brands on Tmall with a unique end-to-end solution for product creation — from market research and design to product testing and marketing — tailored specifically to the Chinese market.
Hong Kai, vice president of E-commerce Research at Nielsen, looks to work with TMIC to better understand China’s retail market and consumers to help clients not only launch new products successfully, but also ensure sustainable sales growth.
“Alibaba owns the largest B2C and C2C platforms, with more than 600 million users shopping on its sites, as well as a dynamic pool of geographical, on-demand delivery and logistics analytics,” said Hong, adding that combined with Nielsen’s insights into China’s brick-and-mortar channels, thanks to an expansive partnership network that covers about 70% of China’s retailers, the two can obtain “product innovation insights that span all channels, old and new. This is a huge breakthrough for us."