Data issues can plague even the best-laid shopper acquisition and retention efforts of retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies alike. Consequently, data deprecation is top-of-mind for leading B2C CMOs: In 2022, 80% told Forrester that their “perception of marketing personalization was changing in light of increased consumer privacy protections and efforts,” up from 45% in Q1 of the same year. As consumer privacy legislation mounts and data ethics and trust take precedence in the minds of consumers and marketers alike, beefing up your brand’s repository of consented first-party data is of the utmost importance.
To help marketers get their privacy compliant, zero- and first-party data collection efforts off the ground, we’ve compiled five tried-and-true tactics. By employing these tactics, online retail and CPG sellers can effectively utilize their first-party data to cultivate trusted relationships with consumers, engage shoppers where they are, and ensure their brand stays relevant throughout circuitous, omnichannel buying journeys.
Tactic #1: Offer something of value to first-time web visitors
Capturing the attention of a first-time website visitor is the first step towards further engagement. Stand out by offering them a bonus for providing a bit of information. Free shipping or a 10% discount in exchange for a valid email address are valuable, time-tested options, but thinking more strategically can make a lasting impression. Do you already offer a free trial product or ship shiny physical catalogs to some people’s doorsteps that you can offer to a wider audience? Could you launch a new initiative where you provide access to a virtual styling assistant, exclusive access to limited edition or pre-release products, or the opportunity to play interactive games that offer a discount upon completion? Whatever you choose, don’t forget to A/B test the impact of each offer on your target KPIs.
Tactic #2: Solicit survey responses from customers
Surveys offer individuals a valuable outlet to express their opinions, and they’re most effective when there is a clear value exchange to encourage them to engage. Whether it’s in the form of a reward (e.g., a coupon) or an improved shopping experience (e.g., geographically informed search results), online visitors should understand “what’s in it for them” at the outset of any information collection prompt. Surveys are a classic win-win first-party data collection tactic for a reason: When done right, they benefit your brand while making the consumer feel heard and valued at the same time.
Tactic #3: Turn Q&As into look-alike models
As survey creators well know, a little data can go a long way when combined with the right strategy and technology. Even getting a small, highly engaged group of visitors to respond to simple questions can enable your brand to extrapolate trends and customize marketing efforts to appeal to people with similar demographics or behavior patterns. For example, a brand specializing in outdoor and sporting equipment can ask,” What are you shopping for today — clothing, shoes, or equipment?” By gradually asking questions over time — such as during checkout or on a web form through a technique called progressive profiling — you can build a comprehensive customer profile, one piece of data at a time. Eventually, you’ll have enough unified first-party data to generate look-alike audiences that inform personalization efforts for future site visits or for similar visitors acquired from common referral channels. As a best practice, just be sure you’ve obtained the necessary permissions to use individuals’ data for this specific purpose.
Tactic #4: Use site behavior to uncover interests
By collecting and analyzing behavioral data on your site, you can garner meaningful insights about visitors’ interests that fuel knock-on marketing activities. For instance, visitors browsing the men’s outdoor clothing category page are likely men interested in outdoor activities or potentially someone shopping for a gift for a man with those interests. Armed with this knowledge, you can personalize the header image in your next email blast or tailor the homepage when they – and other visitors with similar tendencies – revisit the site.
Tactic #5: Mine legacy and non-digital data sources
Don’t let your valuable data be stranded in forgotten folders on a shared drive or trapped in legacy systems. So much of the world still runs on .csv files floating around in email, but with the right procedures and connective technology in place to aggregate, normalize, and analyze that data, you can glean valuable insights into your past and future business performance. Just remember to consider factors like data age, consent, and quality before acting.
A bigger future with actionable first-party data
Building a solid first-party data asset isn’t a walk in the park, but fear not: Knowing your customers and getting clever about how you collect and act on privacy compliant data will allow you to make smarter, more personalized marketing decisions while demonstrating your commitment to doing what is right for customers.
Technology is also here to help. Learn how BlueConic customers like VF Corp, Heineken, Michelin, and Moen use our customer data platform to liberate their first-party data, transform customer relationships and unleash growth. Download our guide to Customer Data Platform Use Cases for Retail to read more success stories.
This article was originally published in Digital Commerce 360 on June 12, 2023.