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How to Use Zero- and First-Party Data to Enhance the Customer Experience

Check it Out: Using Data to Fuel Your Personalization Strategy

March 20, 2023

By Kira Renee

If your brand is itching for more ways to enhance your customers' experience, look no further than your own zero- and first-party data! With information your customers have already provided, you can create more personalized experiences that will keep them coming back to you as opposed to a competitor.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the ways you can use zero- and first-party data to enhance the customer experience. From creating targeted marketing campaigns to providing personalized content and communication, we'll cover it all.

What Is Zero-Party Data?

You know how when you go to a party, you meet a bunch of new people and learn all sorts of interesting things about them? Well, zero-party data is kind of like getting to know your customers at a party!

Zero-party data is information that a customer proactively shares with your brand. It's like they're saying, "Hey, I want to tell you about myself so you can make my experience with your brand even better!" This makes it unlike other types of data that companies might collect without the customer even realizing it.

For example, if you ask your customer to fill out a survey about their preferences or interests, that's zero-party data.

So why is zero-party data so cool? Well, it helps brands better understand their customers and provide them with more personalized experiences. It's like the brand is saying, "I see you, I hear you, and I want to make sure you have the best possible experience with us!"

And the best part is, because the customer is willingly sharing this information, they're more likely to trust the brand and feel good about the relationship. It's like making a new friend at a party—you're happy to share information with them because you feel like you're establishing a connection.

What Is First-Party Data?

First-party data is information that a brand collects directly from its own customers or website visitors based on how they interact with the website or products. 

For example, when your customer buys something from your store and you collect their name and email address, that's first-party data. Or if they visit your website and you track what pages they look at or how long they stay on the site, that's also first-party data.

Use first-party data in combination with zero-party data to create personalized experiences that make your customers feel like you really understand them! 

Combining your zero- and first-party data gives you a strategic tool to enhance the customer experience and build strong relationships with your customers. 

How to Collect Zero and First-Party Data

By now, you get it: Zero-party and first-party data are crucial to good marketing. But how do you get this valuable data? 

Surveys and Polls

A great way to collect unique data from your customers is to create a survey or poll that a customer can fill out directly. For example, a coffee brand can ask their customers about their preferences while they shop. This can include questions such as whether they prefer regular or decaf or if they want whole bean coffee, ground coffee, or K-Cups. With this information in hand, the brand can promote specific products to that segment that is more likely to purchase their whole beans and different products to a segment that is more likely to purchase K-Cups.


When shopping for a product, a customer might be looking for any number of variables. Including a quiz or assessment on your site can help customers filter the exact products they’re looking for—plus, it gives your brand the opportunity to define what customers prefer to enable more personalized marketing. For example, a skincare brand can promote a quiz that asks questions related to skin type or skincare habits and provide specific recommendations based on their answers.

Social Media Engagement

Engaging with customers on social media is an important way to pursue organic growth and customer delight, but social media is also a great tool for collecting zero- and first-party data! Brands can ask customers to tag them in posts about their products, ask for feedback on new products, or use listening tools to monitor conversations about their brand. Pay attention to what your audience has to say!

Website Analytics

Analytics from your website is the primary way you collect first-party data. This data includes where customers are coming from, which products or pages they visit, and how long they stay on your site.

Customer Account Creation

Some brands allow customers to create an account on their site, which can support a positive and personalized shopping experience. Not only can you collect data such as email address, phone number, and purchase history, but you can also include form fields for customers to fill out their sizes, product preferences, and more. For example, a clothing brand might ask if a customer shops primarily for men’s, women’s, or gender-neutral clothing.

Email Marketing

E-commerce brands can collect first-party data through email marketing campaigns or flows by asking customers to subscribe to their email list in exchange for exclusive offers or content. Once customers have subscribed, e-commerce brands can collect data about their email engagement, including open rates, click-through rates, and purchase behavior.

Customer Feedback and Reviews

Asking customers for feedback or product reviews is another simple way to delight your customers while simultaneously collecting first-party data. This data can help e-commerce brands identify areas for improvement and tailor their offerings to better meet customer needs.

Live Chat and Chatbots

If your online store uses a chat system for customers, this is another great tool for collecting data. Using a chat tool, you can ask specific questions related to that client, whether it be defining the specifics of a product they're looking for or collecting feedback on their experience shopping with you.


Combining Zero and First-Party Data

Now that we have established what zero-party data and first-party data are and covered some tactics to use to collect that data, how can we use what we have learned to increase sales and enhance the customer experience?

Customer Segmentation

Our first step is to segment our customers into designated lists based on the customer data in your CRM. Here at SmartBug Media, we prefer using Klaviyo for the robust segmentation features it offers. 

Creating unique segmentations enables your brand to reach the right customers with the products they are most interested in and most likely to buy. This is an important strategy for two reasons:

1. Segmentation creates brand loyalty because you are letting customers know that you understand their exact needs and wants. Instead of flooding a customer with content or products that don’t interest them, you’re delivering precisely what they’re looking for, creating a more personal and enjoyable shopping experience.

2. Segmentation also creates opportunities for faster conversion. Rather than a customer combing through your product pages to find what they want, the products are delivered directly to their inbox, increasing the chance of conversion by mitigating the number of clicks and overall time it would take for a customer to find and purchase the product.


Customer segmentation lists can be as simple as customers within a certain region, frequent buyers, or big spenders. But you can also create more unique lists based on more personal data you collect, such as product preferences. Regardless of the segmented list you create, be sure to keep it simple and define the criteria that will deliver the best results. It's more productive to have a few large segments as opposed to dozens of tiny segments with a few recipients. 


Once we have created our segmented lists, the fun begins! Here are some examples of strategies you can use to implement the data you have collected to enhance the shopping experience for your customers and generate more revenue. 

Personalized content and product recommendations: Using data such as purchase history and product preferences and interests, you can recommend products that are most likely to appeal to individual customers. With segmentation, you can deliver a unique experience that is relevant to them, which helps develop customer loyalty. For example, as a cookie brand, you could provide product recommendations or content to segments who prefer gluten-free or vegan options.

Abandoned cart recovery: Use first-party data to send automated email reminders to customers who have added items to their cart but haven't completed their purchase. You can also use zero-party data to ask customers why they abandoned their cart and offer incentives to encourage them to complete their purchase.

Targeted email and SMS marketing: Using your segmented lists, you can create and send targeted email campaigns to specific customers, such as those who have recently made a purchase or those who have shown interest in certain products. This is also a great opportunity to use unique shoppable moments. For example, a jewelry brand can send an email campaign to all customers with a birthday in May to shop their emerald birthstone collection.

Loyalty programs: Use first-party data to create a loyalty program that rewards customers for making repeat purchases or for reaching certain milestones. You can also use zero-party data to gather information about customers' preferences and interests, which can help you tailor your loyalty program to their needs.

Personalized website experiences: Use first-party data such as website behavior and zero-party data such as product preferences and interests to create personalized website experiences for individual customers. Examples include showing them products that they've previously viewed and highlighting products that are likely to appeal to them based on their interests.

Take Your Customer Experience to the Next Level

Enhancing the customer experience and driving more sales starts with leveraging zero- and first-party data. It’s a crucial strategy for e-commerce brands looking to provide their customers with exceptional experiences. By collecting and analyzing data about their customers' preferences, behaviors, and needs, e-commerce brands can create more personalized and engaging interactions that drive sales and build long-term relationships.

By combining these data sources and using them to inform marketing strategies, product development, and customer service initiatives, e-commerce brands can develop a comprehensive understanding of their customers that can inform every aspect of their business. Ultimately, the ability to deliver exceptional experiences that are tailored to each individual customer's needs is key to building brand loyalty and driving long-term success in the competitive world of e-commerce.


Whether you’re starting fresh and want to learn e-commerce marketing basics or you’re ready to execute a robust marketing effort, this content piece is for you.

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Topics: Email Marketing, Klaviyo, E-Commerce Marketing