Guide to Tmall Analytics for International brands

Navigating and understanding China eCommerce can be challenging for international brands.  Getting access to the same level of data and insights about how your brand is performing in China can be significantly more difficult and time consuming than it is in other markets.

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of what data is available and how you can make the best use of it to build and drive your brand in China.

Some background

  • Chinese eCommerce is dominated by large marketplaces such as Tmall and JD.com
  • More than 60% of eCommerce sales in China take place on Tmall.
  • Internet users in China largely exist in a ‘mobile app ecosystem’ as opposed to a ‘browser ecosystem’ as is the case in the rest of the world outside China.
  • Online shopping takes place in these marketplace apps as opposed to on a brand’s own website.
  • This has implications for web analytics and the data that is available to brands operating in China as the data is controlled by tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent as opposed to being freely available via tools such as Google Analytics.
  • Most international brands outsource the operation of their Tmall Store to a third party agency called a TP, who control the access to a brand’s data and backend on the platform.

The good and bad news

First, the good news…

There is a lot of data available to brands from Tmall.  Whether it be via the merchant portal or the Tmall API, all of the data you would expect and need to be able to understand performance and drive your brand in China is available…sort of.

Now for the bad news…

  • The merchant portals and API documentation are only available in Chinese
  • There is only a limited amount of historical data available. Some metrics are only available to view for 30 days – leaving you with metrics without context.
  • The data can only be viewed in rigid timeframes that may not fit your business processes or campaign calendar – 7 days, 30 days, etc.
  • Views are not customizable and do not allow you to combine data sets from within the same platform, let alone from other platforms or marketing channels.
  • Metric definitions and naming conventions vary across components within the same platform making direct comparisons of performance not immediately possible.
  • Data downloads are only ‘semi-structured’ with inconsistent naming conventions and data types (string vs timestamp for example).

Countless hours and effort would be needed to extract, clean, transform, and integrate the data into a usable format in order to receive the same level of analytics and insights that a brand is accustomed to receiving outside of China. 

Even with the significant cost allocated to manually generate analytics reports and insights (whether it is the brand directly or the TP), the time spent means reports and insights are received too late to action.

How INTEGRAT3 can help

INTEGRAT3 takes away all of the cost and complexity associated with gaining access to your analytics data on Tmall and gives it to you in a business-ready, timely and usable format.

  • Our Tmall connectors automatically download your data and our analysis-ready models transform the data into a business-ready format before making it available via a single API to your business intelligence software such as Tableau, Microsoft PowerBI, and Qlikview.
  • We give you the ability to store all of your historical data points and create any of the views you need to make faster, smarter, and better decisions with your China eCommerce data.
  • You also have the ability to create and combine data to do your own transformations that fit your own business needs.

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