The Co-operative Group is hoping to secure “significant insight” into its customer behaviour as it embarks on a major new project with data intelligence organisation, Nielsen.

Co-op's partnership with Nielsen marks a step change in the way the retailer views its customers, and a joint statement from the businesses suggested the collaboration will mean Co-op is the first retailer in Europe to have EPoS, member data, panel data and EpoS market data together on the same platform.

Insight will be used by the Co-op to improve the in-store experience for its shoppers.

Nielsen will support the group with analysis of transactions from customers, including its eight million members. Nielsen will also manage the Co-op’s Insight Sharing Programme, delivering information that should aid decisions around product assortment, promotions, store portfolio, shelf positioning and pricing.

Michael Fletcher, trading and supply chain director at The Co-operative Group, commented: “We selected Nielsen over other information firms because they are able to provide an holistic overview of the retail grocery market, ensuring significant insight into customer shopping habits and needs so we can tailor our offering according to customer requirements.”

With the grocery market in the UK growing in competitiveness and margins becoming increasingly squeezed, companies operating in the sector are looking to do all they can to understand evolving shopper behaviour.

The Co-op-Nielsen arrangement comes as Waitrose announced it is embarking on a new business insights project with business intelligence group IRI, which will allow the John Lewis Partnership supermarket arm to compare its performance against other grocers in the UK.