The cookie apocalypse has impacted the eCommerce industry in many ways.
From taking away the ability to record, map and take note of consumer intent and interest in products to targeting on social media platforms for marketing and advertising purposes, the lack of eCommerce customer data and information has led to higher customer acquisition costs, much higher bounce rates and a constant struggle to convert website visitors into customers.
But does that mean there is absolutely no way to get to know your customers better?
We think not.
There are still a few strategies and technologies you can put into place to gather customer data and information for your eCommerce business, while abiding to all the rules and regulations placed around the same.
What is eCommerce customer data?
Simply put, eCommerce customer data refers to defining who your target audience is, who your ideal customer is, their likes and dislikes, preferences, purchase behavior and preferences, and similar data points. The more eCommerce customer data you have, the less you need to rely on assumptions for marketing and personalizing shopping experiences for your target audience.
Customer data includes personal, demographic, and behavioral data or information on the target audience you sell to.
Why is eCommerce customer data important?
When you have so many platforms and channels to reach out to consumers on, why do eCommerce businesses still need to focus on gathering customer data?
- Identify your ideal customer persona - When you target a wider market, it becomes difficult to identify who your ideal customer is. For example, even though you sell to both millennials and GenZ, the former may have the capability to afford your products more.
- Identify your key audience segments - Similarly, if you sell across regions, age groups, gender and other demographics, it’s important to know the one that drives in the most revenue. For instance, you may sell more to women than men.
- Identify your high-value customers - When you’re able to gather customer data, you can create holistic profiles of buyers and evaluate their value to your business. This helps identify your high-value customers - customers who have purchased from you multiple times or are likely to do so, or have a higher spend capacity.
- Identify personalization opportunities - With more customer data at hand, you can personalize your marketing and advertising campaigns for higher context to different segments. This makes your messaging more relevant to the buyers, leading to higher engagement and conversions.
- Identify engagement and retention opportunities - Similarly, customer data can highlight opportunities wherein you can reach out to existing customers to upsell, cross-sell, infotain, entertain and educate. This can positively impact your customer engagement and retention rates.
- Identify market needs and trends faster - Being able to monitor consumer interest, intent and preferences in a concrete manner, can help you identify and prepare yourself for market changes more rapidly. This includes the type of discounts or benefits consumers respond to, as well as the products or services they are starting to seek from the brand.
How to gather eCommerce customer data and information
Now that you know what you’re looking for and its advantages, let’s look into the different ways in which you can gather customer data that you are allowed to collect.
1. Make the most of Google Analytics and Google Search Console
The best way to begin gathering data about your customers is to look into your analytics. We recommend looking into where your audience is coming from, their behavioral flow across your website, the pages that see the highest traffic/ bounce, the amount of time they spend on the website and what they came looking for. While you’re at it, make the most of advanced eCommerce analytics on Google to identify category affinity for defined periods of time for the demographic landing on your website.
Recommended read: How to create eCommerce customer journey maps for social media shoppers
2. Analyze your product and transactional data
Look into your store analytics to see what products are grabbing the most attention from different channels, which of them get wishlisted often, which get abandoned in carts and the ones that do get orders placed on. Your product and transactional data has a lot to say about consumer needs, preferences, purchase motivations and spend power of the audience you’re targeting.
Recommended read: Understanding the psychology of an online shopper
3. Use AI-generated social storefronts to sell on social media
Instead of relying on selling through social shops, set up AI-generated social storefronts instead. These storefronts replicate the experience your brand site has to offer but take the shopping experience to social media, connecting the content you promote with the commerce experience you offer. This helps you not just serve multiple intent and interest of buyers clicking through your campaigns to the page, but also identify category affinities better.
For example, if someone clicks through a video promoting a weekend brunch outfit, an AI-generated storefront can identify all the elements in the video - this could include the pair of jeans, top, hat and the footwear shown.
Using this data, the storefront can create a page in real-time for the buyer that displays all the products shown in the video, capturing all the possible interests they may have - every interaction they make with the social storefront, helps you gather more customer data to personalize their experiences and encourage further browsing.
4. Seek customer feedback through campaigns
Most eCommerce businesses have automations set up to request product reviews and ratings from customers. While social proof is important to gather to sell more online, we also recommend creating a campaign focused on collecting feedback from your customers.
This includes not just asking them about the overall shopping experience from your brand, but also seeking inputs on what more they expect from you. Now that can include the type of products they’d like to see from your brand, the discounts they’d like for you to offer, the benefits they’d like to avail and so on.
5. Use social media monitoring to keep up with your audience
Another way to get to know your audience better is to track their social media conversations. With thousands of content pieces being published online every day, there are plenty of conversations happening on social media channels, online forums, groups and communities. And that’s where insights on the pain points of consumers, what they’re looking for, their complaints with existing products/ services available to them, lie.
Use social media monitoring to follow certain topics and hashtags online. This can help you uncover insights that you can use in the messaging of your marketing and advertising campaigns across channels.
Recommended read: The future of social commerce using AI
6. Leverage conversational chatbots for meaningful engagement
Go beyond the usual live chat or automated message chatbots to address consumer queries, and initiate two-way conversations.
Make use of chatbots on your website and social media to gather essential customer data such as email addresses, names, customer preferences. The good thing is that with the help of AI, you can make this data collection process more conversational in nature, assisting the consumer in making a purchase one question at a time. Think of it as an in-store interaction between the customer and a salesperson, but on chat - and automated!
7. Set up personalized product recommendations on your storefront
Another way to gather information on what the customer is interested in, is using a product recommendation engine.
Even if the consumer does not agree to the website using cookies, the personalization engine uses parameters like user behavior (pages visited, products added to cart, etc), product features (name, price, description, category, etc) and user interaction with recommendations (clicks on the recommendation) to process customer data in real-time and tailor their shopping experiences accordingly.
Do you have enough customer data for your eCommerce business?
Giving online shoppers the reigns on choosing to share their cookies can make or break your success.
Even social media platforms don’t give you the ability to narrow down your targeting like before, or carry that data into marketing campaigns on other channels.
While one way to gather customer data is to seek permission using cookie bars, we recommend having the above strategies and tactics in place to ensure you’re not missing out on what you can collect!
If your eCommerce business has been experiencing a steady increase in customer acquisition costs, it’s time to focus on gathering customer data.
And we have the perfect resource for you to master the post-cookie world: