Unilever and Tmall partner to garner better customer insights

Unilever has unveiled a joint innovation lab with Tmall's business-to-consumer innovation center to gain better data analyzing and consumer targeting capabilities.
Ti Gong

Duan Ling, director of Tmall Innovation Center, and Samir-Cal Singh, global executive vice president of skin cleansing at Unilever, unveil a joint lab at the Unilever R&D center in Shanghai.

Unilever has unveiled a joint innovation lab with Tmall's business-to-consumer innovation center to gain better data analyzing and consumer targeting capabilities.

Unilever's personal care product lines, Blueair air purifying machines and Qinyuan water purification products, will work closely with Tmall's new product innovation center in the initial stage.

The Dutch-Anglo personal care and consumer goods giant's first skin care product based on Tmall's consumer insights will be launched next month, and will be sold exclusively on Tmall.

The joint new product research lab will leverage the e-commerce giant's data analytical powers to find potential buyers and to collect research data on users' response to help products better meet consumer demand.

Samir-Cal Singh, global executive vice president of skin cleansing at Unilever, said he expects the partnership, which is the first of its kind for the consumer goods company, to be extended to other product categories in the future.

Through the collaboration, Unilever seeks to combine online and offline customer data resources, where consumers can choose to apply for new product samples — either through online or offline retailers — and the manufacturers can get a quick response about how the new product worked, so as to tweak the formula more efficiently. 

By employing a flexible supply chain, Unilever aims to shorten the new product R&D stage and launch cycle to six to nine months, down from one or two years under normal circumstances.

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