Kr-Asia is all about actionable insights for entrepreneurs. And through this post, you’re about to find out:
What is the business model of a data analysis company?
How to profit from consumer data at largest?
Should a consumer science company bet on retailers or brand owners?
Writer: Xu Ning
Led by Beijing Original Star Atlas Co., Ltd., HarbData (哈步数据) has completed a Pre-A round of financing worth tens of millions of RMB (1RMB≈$0.154), and followed up by angel round investor Fang Qingrui.
HarbData is a big data analysis and application company for the retail & consumer industry. HarbData has a vision which matches that of Dunnhumby in the UK but is oriented towards light consulting.
It serves leading regional retailers (distributors) through data analysis products, integrates their member-relevant data, and ultimately provides service to brand owners.
Retailers, also known as distributors, refer to shopping malls, stores and the like. Brand owners, also known as suppliers, include P&G, Unilever and the like.
HarbData targets two segments of the market: retailers and brand owners. But in the long run, serving brand owners outperform retailers (distributors) in terms of revenue, due to different profit structures. HarbData therefore ultimately seeks to serve brand owners.
For brand owners, the pain point is that they lack direct access to consumers, because user data are in the hands of retailers. So large brand owners in foreign countries buy data from shopping malls and supermarkets before doing product analysis and defining consumers, paying millions or tens of millions annually for data analysis.
In other words, HarbData needs high-value C-end data sources to serve brand owners. Therefore, it must first serve retailers well.
It is reported that the customers HarbData now serves include shopping malls like Yonghui and Lotus Center, boutique supermarkets like Rainbow, brand retailers like Bestsore, as well as vertical retailers like the Shanghai No.1 Pharmacy.
Currently, HarbData’s products fall into four modules: Apollo (Consumer Research), Cupid (Personalized Marketing), Athena (Poster Promotional Pricing), and Venus (Commodity Operations). Retailers (distributors) desensitize their C-end member-relevant data and deliver it to HarbData, which conducts analysis and ultimately applies it to commercial activities such as commodity selection and promotion.
After the first phase when its services cover all leading regional retailers, HarbData may have the largest offline consumer database in China. These data, after analysis, can be used to serve brand owners at a price.
Then, retailers and HarbData can share the profit contributed by brand owners. Retailers do not have to worry about the loss of users because brand owners cannot retrieve contact information from desensitized data. They still need to rely on retailers to reach consumers when they do promotions.
Besides, relatively accurate marketing not only cuts down on delivery costs for brand owners, it also improves consumption rate on the C-end, so retailers can still gain profits.
According to Sun Xianjie, the founder and CEO of HarbData, the service targeting brand owners will be launched in 2018.
With respect to the team, CEO Sun Xianjie is a graduate of Northwestern University (US) with a Master’s Degree in integrated marketing communications. He worked as the senior executives at Dunnhumby’s US facility and China facility. Then, he served Kroger (the largest US retail supermarket with an annual sales volume of more than $100 billion) and Macy’s (with an annual sales volume of about $20 billion) as well as their suppliers such as P&G, Coca-Cola, Mars and so on.
The other key members of the team are graduates of top universities like Cambridge University, University of Auckland, Fudan University, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.They respectively majored in math, statistics, computer, and marketing.