Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba is rolling out their “New manufacturing” strategy, helping companies create innovations and marketing them on their site. So far, they have helped Mars create a spicy Snickers bar, based on shopper search habits of spicy and sweet, and helped Unilever test demand for pollution-fighting cosmetics.
With Alibaba controlling platforms, ranging from online shopping, to streaming, to offline payment system Alipay, the company is starting to use these different data streams to support brands with innovation. As platforms like Alibaba and Amazon grow beyond e-commerce, the way brands research and innovate will begin to change. Faster, unbiased product testing, cross-platform user behavior and buying insights will help accelerate and improve innovation cycles, all while helping the e-commerce giants gain deeper influence and authority.