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Why Brands and Retailers are Turning to Zero-Party Marketing Data

By Team Fetch

February 23, 2023

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Zero-party retail data is the future of attribution. Here’s why brands and retailers need to invest in new data collection and targeting strategies for marketing and advertising campaigns.

What is zero-party data and why is it helpful for brands, retailers and consumers?

Zero-party data, or 0 party data, is information that a consumer willingly provides to a company. It’s a relatively new method of collecting data for customer marketing, but it’s extremely effective. 

Consumer-supplied retail data is becoming more important as people increasingly value their online privacy while still seeking personalized shopping experiences. New consumer data privacy protections are phasing out the use of third-party data. Zero-party data platforms give consumers the power to choose exactly what they want to share with brands and retailers. In return, they get flexible rewards they can spend how they want.

How have consumer privacy protections changed marketing?

Over the past several years, consumers have become savvier than ever about online privacy rights, and governmental policies have followed suit. In Europe, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws have already drastically changed what data retailers are allowed to collect and use. Google and Apple have also both announced plans for a “cookieless future” where third-party cookies will no longer exist.

These changes are making zero-party data and data clean rooms must-haves for marketers. These tools allow companies to transparently connect with their consumers and learn what they want. In turn, they can provide relevant and personalized content, sales and advertisements that make for a better shopping experience and help them grow their business. 

What are the different types of consumer data? 

Zero-party data infographic
Zero-party data is becoming a popular source for retailers and brands to personalize campaigns, and it’s the most transparent form of data collection.
  • Zero-party data is data willingly and knowingly provided by a consumer to a company or brand. Some zero-party data examples include surveys, receipt scanning, sweepstake entries and buyer preference profiles.
  • First-party data is data collected by a company’s website about their own customers, like purchase history, email addresses and data, on-website browsing history, full names, home addresses and more.
  • Second-party data is data a consumer-facing company obtains by purchasing the first-party data of another consumer-facing company. Companies in the same industry tend to swap customer data in order to grow their own communities, and some companies exchange money or other incentives for the customer data of another company. This is where privacy-conscious consumers really start to feel uncomfortable. Companies that they have never interacted with know who they are, what they like to buy and how to contact them.
  • Third-party data is data that is either collected with cookies or bought from consumer-facing companies by companies that don’t interact with consumers. These companies are typically consumer intelligence and market trends firms. This type of data comes with both privacy and accuracy concerns, depending on the source.

What’s the difference between zero-party data vs first-party data?

Zero-party data collection is when consumers willingly provide information to a company in order to have a better customer experience. For example, companies collect zero-party data when users create and customize a user profile to include interests so they can receive the correct sales emails. First-party data is what a company collects when you’re on their site or completing a transaction, like browsing history, buyer history and name and contact information.

How brands collect zero-party data

Brands collect zero-party data by:

1. Having consumers fill out surveys
2. Having users snap their receipts for rewards (like Fetch!)
3. Having users participate in sweepstakes or contests
4. Having users fill out a customer profile, including information about their interests and/or demographics

Benefits of zero-party data

With zero-party data, valuable consumer information is collected while maintaining consumer trust. 

By taking a transparent approach — collecting zero-party data and anonymizing sensitive information — companies can create customized, targeted marketing campaigns that keep customers engaged, as well as collect feedback and grow their community. 

How brands use zero-party purchase data 

1. Personalized marketing campaigns

Collecting zero-party data for marketing is a gamechanger for businesses. Here’s an example: A consumer fills out their buyer profile on a furniture store website while browsing for some new throw pillows. They indicate they’re interested in textiles, beds and rugs. Now, the company can add them to a list of people who will be notified when anything in those three categories goes on sale. 

2. Targeted digital and in-store advertising 

When a customer fills out a consumer survey about their interests and preferences, the company can then select the right targeted ads to serve up on their social pages, in their email and through SMS offers that they’re more likely to engage with. But it doesn’t stop there. A company can use zero-party receipt data to change shopper behaviors, educate their most engaged buyers about new products and drive sales.

Happy man using mobile phone app while buying groceries in supermarket and looking at camera.

3. Identify segments for customer nurturing

The more specific the customer segment, the more effective a nurture campaign will be. For example, a company can use customer buying history and preference data to add a person to an email nurture. That email can then speak specifically to cart abandonment for the particular products for which they’d indicated interest. 

4. Build trust with their audience

By working only with zero-party and first-party data, brands can build trust with their audience. Receiving a targeted ad related to a product a customer willingly showed interest in from a trusted company feels different than when they get a targeted ad from a company they’ve never heard of – especially when that ad offers eerily similar products to what they’d browsed on another site.

5. Develop a community of loyal customers

Regularly reaching and interacting with a community of customers is one of the most powerful elements of data collection and analysis. Rewards and personalized treatment lead to shoppers who have brand love, not just shoppers who regularly go with your brand.

6. Product development and R&D

Surveys are a perfect example of consumer-provided data, and incidentally, they are crucial avenues for receiving customer feedback and ideas. In order to improve your company, products and services, ask for the opinions and preferences of your customer community. 

7. Comply with privacy regulations

As mentioned above, consumer data privacy laws keep getting stricter. This is leading companies to prepare to advertise without the help of the third-party cookie. So, how can they learn more about prospects and customers? By starting to collect zero-party data and providing customers with rewards, great value and exciting shopping experiences in return.

Start collecting zero-party data with Fetch for Business and tap into our community of 17M+ active shoppers.

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