Stick figures drawn on sticky notes to illustrate targeting customers for personalization utilizing zero party data

Why Brands Need Zero Party Data Now (and How to Get It)

As regulations make cookies and other third-party data obsolete, brands can and must employ alternative strategies, like collecting zero party data, in order to maintain personalized marketing efforts.

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In today’s ultra-competitive DTC eCommerce marketplace, brands need every advantage to create and foster customer loyalty. As consumers increasingly demand highly personalized experiences, it is crucial that brands deliver on those expectations. But how do brands personalize marketing campaigns without the third-party cookies they have long used to gather customer information? Enter zero party data.With the recent demise of third-party cookies, eCommerce brands are turning to different collection methods. Zero party data helps merchants achieve what every store needs in today’s highly competitive environment: providing deeply personalized customer experiences while maintaining consumer privacy.

What Is Zero Party Data?

Simply put, zero party data is defined as information that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal contexts and how a customer wants to be recognized by a brand.

The biggest advantage of this kind of data is that it is accurate. Since customers willingly provide information, the data is reliable and there are no concerns about privacy. Other major benefits of zero party data include:

  • It is relevant. Because zero party data comes straight from the customer, brands can learn exactly how consumers would like to connect with them, based on their preferences. 
  • It is inexpensive. Since it already exists within a brand’s systems, collecting zero party data is very cost-effective. Unlike second- and third- party data, brands do not pay for zero party data, because customers provide data directly.
  • It is privacy compliant. Being compliant for zero party data collection has little to no risks because brands know where the data came from and how it was collected.
  • It encourages customer relationships. Brands using zero party data build relationships with customers by communicating with those customers according to customer preference. No more guessing and mass unsubscribes.
  • It has multiple applications. When a brand owns their data, they then can use it to create more successful specialty sales events like product drops and liquidation sales.

Perhaps the only disadvantage to zero party data is in the value exchange. If customers are willing to offer up personal information, they expect  to get something in exchange. It is up to brands to be proactive in delivering their part of the value exchange.

Why Is Zero Party Data Important?

Profile view of a woman on her smartphone rating her customer experience. Transparent smiley face graphics in upper right corner range from happy to upset.

Through zero party data, brands can gather actionable customer information that provides a personalized customer experience. It opens a direct connection between brands and their customers that encourages richer customer feedback. As a result, this feedback in turn to more actionable insights which leads to more intimate customer journeys. The more personalized the experience, the more likely customers will give brands personal information in the future.

How to Collect Zero Party Data

There are a variety of ways DTC eCommerce brands can collect zero party data. The key is to engage with customers in fun and creative ways that encourage participation. So, this involves creating interactive micro-experiences on all of a brands’ channels, including websites, social media and promotional marketing.

No matter what method a brand chooses, it is important that the brand clearly states why they are collecting the information. Doing so alleviates any privacy concerns and boosts customer trust. Here are four popular ways DTC eCommerce brands can engage with shoppers to collect data:


People love quizzes, which make them a simple and fun way to collect zero party data. More and more DTC eCommerce brands use quizzes to determine what customers are looking for and what they prefer. Their clear answers eliminate guesswork, so brands can generate tailored personalized recommendations.

Additionally, quizzes can also test a customer’s knowledge on various topics linked to what a brand promotes and sells. Think about an eCommerce brand that sells exercise equipment. They can quiz the customer’s knowledge about their products by asking questions about exercise technique, fitness and active lifestyles. Then, the answers help brands evaluate customer product awareness and suggest relevant content that can lead to informed decisions.


Surveys can help a brand learn more about a customer’s expectations before and after a purchase. When a customer enters an online store, the brand can inquire about their goals and then give them tailored answers. Post-purchase surveys give brands key information about user experience. In the long run, surveys are a great way to gather complex information and customer feedback.

For example, the same exercise equipment brand can create a survey to discover what type of gear a customer is looking for. Then, based on the answers, the brand can then make personalized product recommendations. After the order is delivered, follow-up surveys gauge customer experience.


Polls are single-question surveys and a fast way to gather customer feedback on various topics. The polls can be triggered at defined moments on specific website pages at any part of the customer journey. Then, merchants can use the results to optimize the customer experience. “What are you looking for?” or “How can we help you today?” are examples of single-question surveys. An online store can use the answers to recommend products or direct the customer to specific pages on their website. 

Personality Tests

Personality tests include a series of personal lifestyle questions that captures what a customer likes and dislikes. Engaging questions keep customers engaged and curious to get the result. The results page can reveal the customer’s personality and make product recommendations. Additionally, how the customer answers these questions allows brands to better segment and target their customer base. Plus, the final result provides an opportunity to deliver an ongoing messaging based on the customer’s profile.

The Wrap-Up

Zero party data gives DTC eCommerce brands the ability to get to know their audience better so they can deliver personalized, emotional experiences that foster engagement and loyalty.

It’s important for brand marketers to remember that collecting zero party data from customers takes hard work. Customers have to take time out of their day to share personal details about themselves. Then, the onus is on the brands that make sure that time is well spent and the rewards are worth it.

Data management is a crucial part of running a DTC eCommerce business. Air360 by Scalefast will help you make sense of your data, turning analytics into actionable insights. Talk to one of our eCommerce experts today to learn more and schedule a demo.

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