8 Ways to Use Your Zero-Party Data for Ecommerce Personalization

Learn how to use zero-party data for ecommerce personalization, from interactive onsite experiences to tailored email and SMS flows.

Kaleigh Moore
August 3, 2022

If you read our previous post about how to collect zero-party data, congrats. Whether you used quizzes, post-purchase surveys, or conversational pop-ups, you now have key insights directly from your most loyal customers. You should be sitting on a mountain of clean, honest data about your customers. 

There’s just one question: Now what?

It’s time to put it to use. 

In our guide to zero-party data marketing, we talked about how customer engagement is paramount. Brands use zero-party data to increase sales conversions by 6x and increase revenue by over 50%.

Third-party data trackers are on the way out in 2022. But you still need to use your data to engage with customers, driving more conversions than ever.

The best way to do both at the same time? In a word: personalization.

You have the data. Now it’s time to learn how to use it.

Here are 8 strategies to make the most out of the zero-party data you are collecting:

  1. Create Accurate Buyer Profiles
  2. Personalize Your Owned Marketing Channels 
  3. Create Retargeting Audiences on Facebook
  4. Inform Your Product Roadmap Using Customer Insights
  5. Build a Targeted Content Strategy and Education Series
  6. Optimize Your Website
  7. Engage With More Customers on Social Media
  8. Inspire Loyalty and Retain

1. Create Accurate Buyer Profiles

Imagine your data is a pile of random papers you have about your customers. What should your first priority be? 

To organize it, of course. 

Think of buyer profiles as a way of organizing your customer data. Also known as customer segmentation, this is an essential step in improving engagement. Ever wonder how some brands just seem to “know” what you’ll want to buy? It’s probably because you’ve bought something from them before, and now they have some data they can work with to personalize future interactions with you. 

The simple act of segmenting customers can get you more engagement right off the bat. But before you create a customer segment, you have to start at its smallest unit: the buyer profile. A buyer profile is a description of a customer—or group of customers—sorted by demographic, preference, and buying history.

Take CYSM’s shaper quizzes as an example of how this can be done. CYSM offers shapewear for women, so a “find your ideal shapewear fit” quiz appeals to the audience looking for help selecting the right product within the brand’s lineup of offerings.

But there’s even more happening here: while the customer is getting a recommendation, they’re also feeding customer segmentation information back to CYSM. 

CYSM, in return, is able to use this data to construct a buyer profile and get a better idea of what each individual customer is looking for. The more information that’s collected, the richer the buyer profile becomes and the more personalized future interactions become. 

The results of this approach were impressive: Using a Shop Quiz, Facebook Messenger, SMS, and opt-ins, CYSM saw a 71x return on investment with revenue up 57% in 60 Days and collected over 50,000 marketing opt-ins. Not bad, right?


2. Personalize Your Owned Marketing Channels

The most obvious way you can use your zero-party data is simple: to call customers by their names.

But zero-party data personalization can go far beyond that. When you create buyer profiles, you learn much more about your customers than their names. You also learn things like their communication and product preferences.

You get to dig into each customer’s personal needs and wants. What's their favorite flavor, what size they wear, what's their style, what's their main skin concern, decaf or caffeinated beverages?... You get the gist! 

Take Spongellé, a luxury bathing products company, as an example. Rather than stopping at learning customers’ names, they went on to create quizzes for specific product recommendations and then asked customers to opt into Facebook Messenger or SMS campaigns.

If a shopper abandons a cart, the brand’s personalization really shines. A coupon code is automatically prompted with a picture of the product abandoned and a personalized message that includes the shopper’s first name.

And guess what? It works. With these personalization strategies in place, Spongellé retrieved 11% of abandoned carts and drove $250,000 in additional revenue within 30 days.

Another ecommerce brand, Hunter & Gather, synced their Octane AI quiz answers to Klaviyo, enabling the brand to use the zero-party data collected to personalize email flows and suggestions that Hunter & Gather customers receive in their inboxes.

By sending tailored product recommendations, recipes and social proof content via email, Hunter & Gather's revenue from email flows increased by 258%, with overall revenue from campaigns rising by 82% compared to the previous year.

Screenshot 2022-02-01 at 18.48.01

Want to learn more about putting your zero-party data to use? Download the Octane AI zero-party data marketing playbook today.


3. Create Retargeting Audiences on Facebook 

Customer segmentation is a great start to personalization, but you can build even deeper relationships with customers using zero-party data when you build retargeting campaigns.

Yes, retargeting can feel tricky these days. Because of Apple’s recent data privacy changes, your Facebook pixel may no longer track the majority of people who visit your website (thus breaking your ability to power personalized retargeting ads).

By collecting zero-party data and an email address, you can bypass the need for a pixel by syncing this information to Facebook to create powerful retargeting audiences. 

Or you can fundamentally change your approach to advertising.

That's what Jones Road Beauty did. Instead of targeted ads and broad nurturing, Jones Road Beauty is serving ads to a broader audience and segmenting and personalizing nurturing flows on email and SMS.

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4. Inform Your Product Roadmap Using Customer Insights

Data shouldn’t just shape how you approach customers. Sure, there are great opportunities to boost engagement rates by improving your interactions with the strategies above. 

But don’t forget about your long-term goals, either.

The more you learn about your customers through zero-party data, the better you can shape your own product innovation roadmap. The products you highlight in the near future should take information from what customers prefer now.

Learn from healthy beverage and syrups brand, Skinny Mixes.

Using the syrups for coffee is the most common reason why customers purchase Skinny Mixes’ products, but through the quiz, they discovered a large group of customers was actually using the syrups to flavor their water.

At first, the Skinny Mixes team thought this was odd, but when “water” became one of the top picks for the quiz question “what are you in the mood for?”, the team expanded recipes in that category to cater to customers’ desires. Soon after, flavored water became one of the main uses for Skinny Mixes’ syrups. All thanks to a single zero-party data point! 


5. Build a Targeted Content Strategy and Education Series

Have you ever tried getting content marketing to work in a vacuum? It isn’t fun.

And most of the time, it flops. You have to know who you’re talking to and what they care about.


However, brands with a clear idea of who their customers are can let zero-party data drive the content they create. 

Consider Doe Lashes. This lash brand uses content marketing in conjunction with email address gathering to share an education series that simultaneously creates value for customers and collects information. 

Their tool of choice: an education-focused email marketing campaign. 



Doe Lashes noticed 35% of their customers had never worn false eyelashes before. Without this data, the content Doe Lashes sent out might have been targeted to the other 65%. The brand would have been blissfully unaware of this entirely different segment with different needs.

So Doe Lashes adapted. Deciding to lean into this insight, Doe Lashes became a trusted source of information for those customers who hadn’t worn false lashes before. And in becoming a source of education as well as a source of products, Doe Lashes tapped into a marketing principle: reciprocity. 

Using zero-party data to identify their customer segments, they then positioned themselves as a source of valuable education for those customers. Free education has value, even if it’s something as simple as a how-to guide on putting on false eyelashes.

When those customers decided to make their first purchase, where did they go? To the brand with the good how-to content. The result was a 2.5x return on ad spend.

Heard enough? Book a demo with our team and learn how you can deploy some of these strategies. 


6. Optimize Your Website

Ecommerce personalization can come in the form of emails, SMS, Facebook messages, and email opt-ins. 

But if you want to go back to basics, optimize your website for personalization, too.

Bariatric Fusion did exactly that. The health and vitamin website has a range of potential supplements. That presented them with a problem: a wide funnel. How could they match the products to the right customers if they were casting such a wide net?


Source: https://www.octaneai.com/casestudy/bariatricfusion


They built a quiz: “Not Sure What Vitamin is Right For You?” 

The key here was in fashioning a quiz that doubled as a navigational tool. Rather than browse aimlessly through the bevy of options, customers could plug in their answers and click straight through to the most ideal supplements.

The personalization created immediate results: a 44% completion rate and a whopping 15% completion rate. 

As a bonus, the quiz doubled as an email opt-in system. As they made sales and captured emails, Bariatric could keep the rest of their web presence clean, optimized, and simple.


7. Engage With More Customers on Social Media

Personalization is expected on social media, sure. But the good news is that when a big brand does reach out to a customer personally, it creates a brand loyalty domino effect.

Take Live Love Gameday, a sport-themed clothing and accessories brand, which focused on social media engagement in their zero-party data campaigns. Whenever customers opted in via their website, Live Love Gameday would initiate flows to Facebook Messenger to reach out. They noticed a 17% overall increase in revenue right away.

Mutesix, a social media marketing firm, also saw positive results in helping clients with social media engagement. In employing a comment capture feature for Aviator Gear and learning what customers were saying, the company was able to boost social media results and increase Messenger subscribers by over 200%.


8. Inspire Loyalty and Retain

Zero-party data can help you run short-term campaigns. But it’s at its most effective when you use short-term campaigns to feed data into more sustainable marketing practices.

Loyalty and retention are at the heart of your brand’s health. That’s especially true in markets where you expect to retain customers: your brand loyalty is measured by your rate of customer churn.

But even if you have positive rates, you can use zero-party data to “nudge” customers to remain a member of your brand community. 

Kala Brand Music Company, a ukulele manufacturer, used retargeting flows and Facebook messenger opt-ins to learn about its customers and keep them engaged. But they didn’t stop there. They took that captured zero-party data and built new advanced retargeting flows with an eye on long-term customer retention. The Average Order Value for the brand shot up 66%.

Turn Your Zero-Party Data Into Action

Don’t just capture zero-party data; use it to pump up engagement through personalization. This can come in the form of product quizzes. Product recommendations. Tailor-made abandoned cart notifications. Welcome email and SMS flows. 

Any time a customer interacts with you, zero-party data makes it possible to call them out by their name, reference their favorite product or preference, and say: “Hey. You still interested?”

When a customer hears more than their name—but also sees a product they want and know you are paying attention—there’s a compounding effect. It’s personalization that goes deeper than the name tag. It’s personalization with universal appeal, but with personal motivation. And you don’t need third-party data to do it.


Want to learn more about leveraging zero-party data in your store? Take our marketing personalization quiz to see what you can improve.

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