Last Updated On November 06, 2020 / Written By Chloe Henderson

4 Types of Customer Data and How to Collect Them

Customer data provides insights into shopper's interests, dislikes, and preferences so retailers can improve their marketing and engagement strategies.

Many businesses implement a new service or model change with the intention of improving customer satisfaction and profitability. However, without access to customer insights, companies cannot accurately gauge the impact of their tactics.

Customer data encompasses a wide range of shopper characteristics and responses, from personal information to feedback. This information can be collected during customer interactions, both online and in-store.

By collecting this information, retailers can view the shopping journey through the consumer's perspective to enhance the customer experience and data management. Additionally, customer data provides the quantitative and qualitative support necessary to strengthen decision-making.

4 Types of Customer Data

Customer data comes in many forms, all of which are crucial for creating well-rounded marketing schemes. Therefore, retailers should familiarize themselves with the four primary types of customer data-

1. Basic Data

Basic data makes up the majority of standard data fields in customer relationship management (CRM). There are two types of basic data-

Personally Identifiable Information

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is data used to recognize an individual. PII can be categorized as linked or linkable information. Linked information is data that can identify a person without any additional information, such as-

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Login information
  • Social security number
  • Card information
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
On the other hand, linkable information is data that cannot name a person without additional personal data, such as-

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Job

Non-Personally Identifiable Information



Non-personally Identifiable Information (Non-PII) is anonymous data that cannot be used to recognize an individual. Non-PII examples include-

  • IP address
  • Cookies
  • Device IDs
When basic data is gathered and aggregated from all sales channels, businesses can segment their customers to build buyer personas and improve email marketing strategies.

2. Interaction Data

Interaction data, also known as engagement, is collected whenever a consumer interacts with a brand. This information is found in many forms, including-

  • Email inquiries
  • Social media posts and shares
  • Downloads
  • Pageviews
  • Demo requests
Engagement data is often anonymous and gathered to generate reports on marketing promotions and product preferences.

For example, marketing teams collect interaction data to determine which promotions yield the most engagements, conversion rates, and sales. This enables businesses to improve their campaigns across all sales channels.

3. Behavioral Data

Behavioral data defines patterns in customers' shopping journeys and transactions. Many businesses confuse interaction and behavioral data, as interaction data can be collected from shoppers engaging with products. However, behavioral data focuses on product engagement that leads to a sale.

Retailers can collect behavioral data through-

  • Trial sign-ups
  • Account logins
  • Feature usage
  • Downgrades
  • Subscription cancelations
  • Deactivations
  • Transactions
  • Loyalty programs
Since behavioral data can be collected whenever clients interact with a product, any type of business can collect this information.

4. Attitudinal Data

Attitudinal data is formed by the customers and how they think and feel about a brand or product. Unlike the other forms of data, attitudinal information is qualitative and subjective. This means it can vary significantly from customer to customer.

Businesses commonly receive attitudinal data from-

  • Online reviews
  • Complaints
  • Surveys
  • Ticket comments
Since attitudinal data is essentially opinions, businesses should combine it with other data forms to define patterns, variables, and trends.

5 Ways to Collect Customer Data

Businesses that handle multi-channel marketing have access to a significant amount of customer information. Although there are countless ways to collect customer data, these avenues yield the most valuable insights-

1. Website Analytics

A company's website is often the first interaction customers have with a brand, and therefore holds insightful metrics. By collecting and analyzing online customer engagement, organizations can define product preferences, demographics, and buyer personas.

There are several tools, such as Google Analytics, that track the movement of online shoppers, including-

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Referral sources
  • Areas of interest
  • Conversion rates
  • Duration of visit
This quantitative information maps out each shopper's journey so companies can improve the overall customer experience.

2. Social Media

Social media is a free tool that collects insights on users that interact with a company's page. Platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, record engagement metrics, such as-

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Views
  • Demographics
  • Messages
  • Followers
  • Accounts reached
This data enables businesses to actively monitor the general perception and opinion of their brand. Organizations can collect even more insights by launching paid social media ads, which expose the types of campaigns and products shoppers are interested in.

3. Tracking Pixels

A tracking pixel is an element of hypertext Markup language (HTML) and JavaScript code that is inserted into a website or email to track real-time engagement.

This tool notes every user that visits the website and opens an email. By collecting this data, companies can improve their data analytics and marketing strategies to promote conversion rates.

4. Contact Information

Contact information is the most important type of customer data, as it connects businesses with their loyal shoppers. Many consumers are reluctant to share all of their information right away, and it is important not to force it.

Once shoppers become familiar with a brand and become repeat customers, they will give longer forms of contact details via loyalty programs.

5. Customer Feedback and Reviews

Customer surveys are excellent tools for generating honest feedback, reviews, and ratings on specific products or overall customer service. They are also great for gauging preferences, areas of interest, and dislikes.

By crafting the questions effectively, businesses can collect quantitative and qualitative data from surveys.