Business / Technology

Big data to make the difference for online businesses

By WANG HONGYI (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-23 13:25

Using big data for precision marketing and offering personalized customer services will be the way forward for companies in China's highly competitive e-commerce industry, according to Yu Gang, former chairman of online retailer

"The Internet boom has changed people's mode of thinking and the way they do business. In the initial stages, e-commerce platforms mainly relied on competitive prices to attract more consumers. But with increasing customer flows, e-commerce platforms have started to offer more diversified products and services along with wider geographical coverage," Yu said.

"With the further development of e-commerce platforms, it is now clear that data plays an important role in success. For example, when a provider or a brand plans to launch a new product, it is hard for a traditional market channel to know who will buy the product, purchase frequency as well as behavioral habits. These data are very important from a marketing perspective," he said.

"The collation and filtering of available data will lead to the creation of a data model that will help e-commerce firms take optimal decisions," Yu said at the 10th Fudan International Forum of Management held by Fudan Premium Fund of Management and Fudan University last weekend.

Though earlier media reports had said that Yu was preparing for a new startup, he did not disclose any details.

Yu said more and more enterprises have moved to precision marketing from mass marketing with the use of big data.

"The efficiency of mass marketing is very low, and we can see that it is on the decline. For example, it is apparently meaningless to display baby clothing to a person who has no child. You need to know your target customers," Yu said.

According to statistics from the Internet consultancy iResearch in Beijing, in 2014 transaction volumes in China's e-commerce market reached 12.3 trillion yuan ($1.98 trillion), a 21.3 percent growth over the corresponding period a year ago. Among them, the B2B e-commerce market accounted for about 70 percent and online shopping for 20 percent.

Meanwhile, the revenue growth of small and medium-sized B2B enterprises increased by more than 30 percent. The growth rate in the mobile shopping market exceeded 200 percent.

The consultancy also forecasts that the transaction scale in China's e-commerce market will reach 24.2 trillion yuan by 2018.

The figures reflect the vigor and vitality of the e-commerce market in China. But to capture the customers precisely for better business opportunities needs the support of big data analysis. Marketing systems should be established on a digital basis, said Oliver Rust, managing director of Nielsen China.

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