From first-party data (the information a company collects directly from its customers, and that it owns), to second-party data (essentially someone else’s first-party data, packaged and sold), to third-party data (data that is collected or “stitched” together from various sources that don’t have a direct relationship with the consumer and is packaged and sold), data may be complicated but it is no less a lasting fixture in the world of business.
Actionable data is hands-down one of the biggest drivers of successful marketing today. However, the data landscape has changed since privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have taken effect, with a potential future federal law to come. Now, categories like third-party data are becoming less than desirable to businesses.
As many organizations don’t want to be reliant on others’ data, first-party data and now zero-party data have become strategically important. Zero-party data in particular has emerged as a hot buzzword and certainly possesses a great deal of power and potential, yet has largely been overlooked until recently.
What is Zero-Party Data?
According to Forrester Research, zero-party data is data that a customer “intentionally and proactively shares with a brand.” This can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize [them].
One of the most noteworthy and key benefits of zero-party data is that it’s more definitive and trustworthy than other forms of data since it’s coming straight from the source. Essentially, it’s data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. Another lasting benefit of zero-party data is that it’s more accurate. Because customers supply it willingly and directly, there’s less opportunity for errors or inaccuracies.
Not only is zero-party data more engaging, it can help to create more personalized customer experiences and build richer customer profiles. Additionally, it can help to drive sales, accelerate emotional understanding by gauging how a customer feels about a brand, and allow customers to feel heard from the brands they buy from by responding to customer feedback.
Zero-Party Data in E-Commerce
Some of the best examples of zero-party data in e-commerce stem from experiences where customers are asked to volunteer information in unique ways, in particular:
- Conversational Pop-Ups
- Post-Purchase Surveys
- Social Media Polls
- Product Onboarding
- Account Creation
Quizzes to build a profile of personal preferences, that then lead to personalized recommendations, are becoming increasingly popular in e-commerce and can be seen in brands like Stitch Fix, Warby Parker, Function of Beauty, and Sephora.
The Zero-Party Data You Didn’t Know You Had: Site Search Queries
If you’re not currently taking the time to enhance product discovery by creating personalized quizzes or building polls on social media, optimized, shopper-friendly site search is a great way to grow your zero-party data.
With on-site search, customers are already declaring their purchase intention, they’re explicitly telling you what they’re looking for! But if this isn’t being captured effectively, a zero-party data opportunity gets botched and worse, a shopping experience turns sour.
Site search is a critical source of zero-party data, yet often the results drive null or irrelevant results, leading to low conversion rates. Rather than minimize the site search bar functionality due to queries not generating the right results, this can easily be avoided by implementing a solution like Lily AI’s product attributes platform and Search Analytics Dashboard.
Lily AI can make sure your on-site search serves as a way to gather rich purchase intent data that’s worth investing in. When Lily AI is inserted for e-commerce brands, the site search bar can drive relevant, high converting results and it can be repositioned as a more critical element of the website user/navigation experience. When website visitors are more inclined to use the prominent site search bar, this can lead to more zero-party data, more sales, and better opportunities for personalization and product discovery.