How Retailers Can Safely Collect and Use Zero-Party Data
Did you know that e-commerce sales are projected to surpass $1 trillion in the U.S. market by the end of this year? To take advantage of the market opportunity, retailers will need to successfully reach and engage customers through strategic marketing campaigns. However, with new privacy regulations on the rise, e-commerce brands will need to get creative with how they collect and use consumer data in a safe and compliant way.
While cookies are being phased out, we can expect a drastic impact on how e-commerce businesses will be able to target new and existing customers when it comes to marketing. Ninety-six percent of U.S. users are choosing to opt out of app tracking since iOS 14.5, which shows that zero-party data (i.e., data that customers intentionally and proactively share with a brand) has become a priority now more than ever.
Brands need to clearly communicate why they collect zero-party data (e.g., to make the app user experience more individual/relevant — ideally a win-win for both customer and company), how this data is handled (e.g., safely managed, not passed to third parties) and that a customer can always manage/control/access/delete data. As long as brands are transparent about how they're using customer data and there’s a clear benefit for them, consumers are open to share their preferences and data to receive a more personalized experience.
We Understand Zero-Party Data is Important, But How Do We Collect it?
Collecting zero-party data isn't as hard as it seems. With the overwhelming noise of digital marketing, consumers are looking for brands to personalize their online experience to be direct and relevant to their needs. Let's dive into a few ways you can start collecting zero-party data:
Let your customers tell you exactly what they're looking for. By having a preference center in their profiles, consumers can edit their data anytime and manage their interests based on their needs. This will allow for a better online experience, with brands sharing content that's relevant and personalized to each customer, which again leads to higher engagement and conversion.
Questionnaire With Email Signup
Before a new subscriber clicks that submit button to sign up to your newsletter, take the extra step and include a quick questionnaire on what they're expecting to see from your e-commerce business. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, include a quick style quiz to get more information on what they're looking for. You don’t want to send a newsletter about women's new arrivals to a male shopper.
Social Media Surveys
Social media is a great way to tap into your customers in an instant with interactive surveys. For example, with Instagram stories, retailers are able to create different engaging prompts like polls and feedback boxes to collect data and insight from their audience.
Utilize Zero-Party Data to Personalize Content to Drive Engagement and Increase Sales
Now that you have all this quality data you collected directly from your customers, you can effectively share content that's relevant and personalized. Here are some next steps on how you can start implementing marketing campaigns with your zero-party data:
- Create segmented lists based on customer profiles/preferences to target the right content to the right audiences.
- Include a promo code in email or SMS campaigns with personalized product suggestions that can help close a sale easily.
- Offer personal recommendations and tips based on customer preferences.
- Ask users to update their preferences on a regular basis to ensure brands can deliver the right content and experience for them.
Zero-party data is changing how retailers are interacting with their customers online. E-commerce companies have the ability to build stronger relationships with their customers by collecting quality data to create personalized one-to-one experiences. This will ultimately result in setting your brand up for higher conversion rates, increased customer retention and more engagement.
Steffen Schebesta is the CEO of North America and vice president of corporate development at Sendinblue, the leading all-in-one digital marketing platform for small to medium-sized businesses.