Wouldn’t life be easier if the customer data from website transactions was standardized? That’s the idea behind an effort from an industry group that includes Adobe, Google, IBM and Best Buy. 

The proposed standard, called Customer Experience Digital Data Acquisition, was submitted as a draft to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in May and is now being made public. A decision is expected by September. Other participants in the group include Accenture, QuBit, Red Hat, SapientNitro and Tealium.

The draft notes that “changing or adding vendors typically requires that the development team change page design to accommodate vendor-specific requirements,” while companies want “a simpler, flexible and standard method” to obtain and utilize this data across digital properties.

A Standard Data Object for e-Commerce

The group notes that even data identifying a given page is non-standard, not to mention such digital data objects as Order, Shopping Cart or Registrant. The proposed standard data object is a JavaScript object, because of JavaScript’s ubiquitous support across browsers, Web apps, mobile platforms, kiosks and other digital properties. The JavaScript object would not be embedded into the HTML page, and thus would not impact site performance.

Learning Opportunities

Vendors would simply reference the object, development time could be shortened and less resource-intensive, and vendor selection by a digital property owner could be made independent of the time and cost to reconfigure pages because of non-standard data. The data would cover such specs as page, product, product category, price, currency, voucher discounts, payment and shipping info, cart, transaction and such user information as username and address.

Boost for Tag Management

The group expects the standard could help any website that collects data, which is every commercial site and many non-commercial ones, with an emphasis on e-commerce transactions. In addition to lowering some of the barriers to moving between vendors, the new standard could also provide a big boost for the growing tag management industry.

That industry, which includes such members of this working group as Tealium, BrightTag and TagMan, provides page-based snippets of JavaScript code or single pixel markers in Web pages that are mainly used now to track customer behavior for digital marketing and to help provide customized experiences. With these standardized data objects, tag management could grow entire new sub-industries managing e-commerce and other customer data.

Image courtesy of cvm (Shutterstock)