In a customer-centric age, retailers know they must capture high quality customer data. A huge 74% of brands say first-party data provides the greatest insight into their customers, so this is an understandable area of focus for businesses today.
Yet capturing first party data entails a shift in strategy. Retailers must build an online experience that attracts, captures, and retains customer attention to gather this information.
In this guide, we define first party data and then explore how retailers can gain a competitive advantage with their data strategy.
What is first-party data?
First-party data is information that retailers collect directly from customers.
For example, a retailer’s first party data will include the information that they collect from users as they browse the retailer’s website or app. This can be added to the data stored in a customer relationship management (CRM) database or customer data platform (CDP) to develop a more accurate understanding of the audience.
Third party data is collected by external parties who may have no direct engagement with either the customer or the website the customer is browsing. Publishers and advertising networks then sell the data on exchanges, where brands bid to target their customer segments.
This third party data has fuelled the digital marketing world for the past decade, but its key benefit will soon crumble. Namely, there will be much less of this third party data available to retailers.
Apple and Mozilla have already removed third party tracking within their web browsers and Google will soon follow suit.
First party data is typically of higher quality than third party data. A study by Signal finds that this data brings the highest return on investment of any data type. 62% of brands say that first party data is most effective, with just 8% claiming third party data delivers the best results.
The removal of third party cookies leaves a gap in the data ecosystem for retailers. Yet it brings an opportunity, too. If retailers work to attract more first party data, they can plug this gap with higher quality information that generates better results.
First-party data can be captured in a number of formats:
Observed data: Behavioural data from customer activity on a website or app. For example, the products customers view and the content they read.
Inferred data: Data that relates to customer interests and preferences, gathered from their on-site activity.
Declared data: Information that customers actively provide, for example by responding to surveys or questions asked by the retailer.
The benefits of first-party data:
Ownership: This data belongs to the retailer, not to a search engine or social network.
Transparency: The retailer knows how the data was collected, knows how it is stored, and how it will be used.
Customer lifecycle: First party data provides a view of the full customer lifecycle. 95% of brands are looking to first party data to increase customer lifetime value.
Insight: With a thoughtful data strategy, retailers can dig deeper into customer motivations.
Prediction: Accurate first party data can help predict customer intentions.
Personalisation: These predictions can be used to shape personalised customer experiences and marketing messages.
Cost: First party data is simply cheaper to acquire than third party data, as well as being higher quality.
The challenges of first-party data:
Scale: Where third party data can be bought, first party data must be earned. This means there is typically less first party data available to retailers.
Strategy: Retailers must now design their online experience with data capture in mind. It cannot be an afterthought.
How Cadeera helps retailers capture high quality customer data
Cadeera’s product suite is designed to help retailers capture, store, and use first- and zer0-party data to improve the full customer experience.
Our AI-driven product discovery engine helps retailers to capture more observed data about their customers, as the latter engage with personalised recommendations. Cadeera’s multimodal search also takes clues from text and image queries to infer customer tastes. We combine this data with the power of Cadeera’s industry-leading ontology to create an experience that delivers increased user engagement.
Our partner retailers then use this data to shape experiences that delight customers every time.