Why should businesses make ZPD a priority?

The landscape of Commerce and Marketing is undergoing a revolution with third-party cookies becoming obsolete. With the tech giants giving their users the option to opt-out of IDs for Advertising and trying to get away from browser cookies, companies must try to look out for the other viable options to get the context from the customers directly. What better than getting the data directly from the customers with their consent and utilizing it to deliver an elevated experience to the customers?

Zero Party Data* or ZPD is essentially data that’s proactively and intentionally shared with a brand by customers and/or prospects. The data itself may include purchase intentions, personal context, preference center data, and in which ways an individual prefers a brand to recognize them.

Why ZPD?

ZPD can be applied to personalizing and customizing content, delivering tailored product recommendations, and tailoring other parts of digital experiences to align with customers’ preferences. If used strategically, ZPD can significantly improve how brands communicate with their customers and prospects. Not only can zero-party data provide valuable insights, but it can also enhance the efficacy of a brand’s personalization efforts.

How is ZPD gathered?

Primarily, ZPD is collected through different methods such as web forms, surveys, questionnaires, gated content, and contests.

Examples of Zero-party Data

  • Interests such as News, Updates and Product Releases
  • Purchase Intention
  • Personal Context (Tell us more about you)
  • Questionnaires, surveys, competitions, polls, quizzes
  • Establishing Micro-experiences
  • Frequency of receiving messages
  • Preferred Channels and Communication Medium

*Source: Forrester coined the term zero-party data

Potential Benefits of ZPD

Customers want to hear from you. This is one of the main reasons they provide you with this information.

Quality and accuracy
Since zero-party data comes directly from the customer, your brand can be certain that a customer wants to hear from you. 

Because zero-party data comes straight from your audience, you learn exactly how customers would like for you to connect with them, based on their preferences. 

Since it already exists within your systems, collecting zero-party data is very cost-effective. Unlike other data collection types (second- and third- party), you don’t pay for zero-party data as customers simply hand it over. 

Being compliant for zero-party data collection has little to no risks because you know the source of data, in addition to how it was collected.

ZPD in Digital Commerce and Marketing

  • B2C companies have been at the forefront of making the best use of zero-party data beginning with creating an account on the website and filling the preference center forms till engaging customers through interactive questionnaires.
  • E-commerce strives on retention mechanisms and hence this data gathered directly from customers acts as key elements to support in personalizing the experience of the customers and provide them a continued intuitive experience.
  • The flexibility of customizing the preferences provides ownership and confidence to the customers, building on what is good for the customer is good for the business.
  • B2B companies are yet to gear up and realize the immense potential that zero-party data holds for the business. As more and more B2B companies are moving towards focusing on elevating the customer experience, they are starting to leverage the value that zero-party data provides
  • The trends show that ZPD Marketing usage in B2C Commerce will happen at a greater pace as compared to the B2B space.
  • ZPD being directly reflective of customers’ interests is now evolving to become the key driver in building organizations’ digital strategy and marketing efforts.

Where are companies headed dealing with Zero-party data?

  • The landscape of Commerce and Marketing is undergoing a revolution with third-party cookies becoming obsolete. The tech giants giving its users the option to opt-out of IDs for Advertising, and trying to get away with the browser cookies, companies must try to look out for the other viable option to get the context from the customers directly
  • With customer demands soaring, commerce is headed towards hyper-personalization. This is the right time to leverage the ZPD to offer 1:1 personalized content to the customers.

All eyes are on ZPD, but why?

It’s known to us all now; the era of cookies is headed to an end. This makes it even more crucial to begin identifying the strengths and potential of ZPD to help the business world. A recent Pew report (“Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (NOVEMBER 15, 2019))*found that 79% of Americans are concerned about the way companies use their data. Forty-one percent of U.S. consumers regularly delete cookies, and 30% have installed an adblocker.

Collecting data from the customers that they share proactively and with consent is the focus now. This offers the customers transparency and control, and the businesses gain the data that they desire, thus making this a win-win for all. With a cookie-less world almost here, businesses should begin building their Commerce and Marketing strategies starting today to set themselves up for success. To keep it simple, what better way to get the insights from the users themselves? Brands must think about how to build and maintain trust among the customers so that the users willingly share the profile information, and this data is used for better personalization and other features. ZPD is an opportunity for businesses to re-think how to engage with customers. To begin with, this could be the differentiating factor for businesses turning into a competitive advantage but will likely turn into a necessity over the years to come.


  • What does the business/ brand stand for ?
  • Do the customer perceive the brand as a credible entity to interact with?


  • How to create compelling engagement for the customers?
  • How to make every touchpoint a memorable one for the customer?


  • Is the ‘right’ data being collected from the customers?
  • Is there some predictive model what insights are expected from the gathered date?

Trust, indeed is the new currency.

Are you attending a Discovery session or building the e-Commerce or Marketing Roadmap for your client?

These are some high-level directional themes to explore during requirements elicitation to build the right product in the right and compliant way.

  1. Preference Center: What type of content (e.g. Newsletters, Industry reports, white paper, etc.) does the business produce? What medium (e.g., email, SMS, etc.) and frequency of communication (weekly, monthly, etc.) does the business prefer?
  2. Call to Action: Potential location to guide the user to manage preferences (e.g., Footer with a link to Preference Center)
  3. Maintaining Transparency: Where should the copy messages appear to be easily visible to the users?
  4. Adhering to Legal Compliance: Ensure adhering to the guidelines covered in GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), CASL(Canada’s Anti-Spam Law), CCPA(California Consumer Privacy Act), etc.
  5. How to ask customers for data? Ask for information in return for something of value like a customized product recommendation or a free resource like an e-book.

Value add of a ‘Well implemented Preference Center’ to the business 

When the customers are allowed to choose and save their preferences in Preference center, it  helps the marketers understand the customers’ choice of content better resulting in higher engagement and thus happier and loyal customers.  As the industry is progressing towards garnering respect for customer’s wishes, ZPD will become the treasure trove to utilize and create enhanced experiences for the customers. It is strongly recommended to begin visiting ZPD strategies now. The businesses  that are ahead of the game are already witnessing the benefits of making the right use of the ZPD they collect form their customers.

So, what’s more, you ask? ZPD has immense potential, why not give it a thought and find out yourself what magic you can weave with the powerful ZPD for your clients.

Swetali Kar, manager, Deloitte Digital (USI) is a functional specialist in the Commerce space experienced in working with leading Consumer clients in their e-Commerce journey in the B2C domain across sectors like grocery, furniture, jewelry, electronics, etc.