Data sharing agreement is a big deal

Less than six months into her role as Walmart’s EVP global customer insights, Cindy Davis rocked the retail analytics world this week with news that Walmart would resume sharing sales data with Nielsen.

The development comes as Walmart is looking to do a better job of leveraging shopper insights as a means to grow sales and follows the creation in February of a new global customer insights team led by Davis. She previously served as EVP membership and marketing at Sam’s Club and joined the company in the fall of 2007.

“This expanded relationship with Nielsen will provide Walmart and Sam’s Club with deeper insights into customer purchasing, and unmet needs, both nationally and in key local markets,” Davis said. “We plan to share our point-of-sale information to help us identify category growth opportunities sooner and collaborate with our manufacturer partners to develop more impactful customer-driven programs going forward.”

According to Nielsen, over the next several months it will incorporate Walmart and Sam’s Club retail sales information into its databases and define new views of U.S. industry numbers.

Those new views should produce some eye-opening revelations around shopping behavior by affording Walmart and its suppliers a more detailed view of true consumer behavior. Previously, Walmart was reliant on gleaning insights from its own point-of-sale data and blending that information with other data from such providers as Nielsen and Symphony