The e-commerce world is constantly in flux. New tech and strategies emerge daily to help businesses maximize their online reach.

However, a major shakeup in online privacy has caused widespread concern across the industry. Changes in how tracking cookies are delivered will affect the way advertising, marketing, and research can be carried out.

So, what exactly are these changes? And how can you adapt to them and help minimize disruption?

This article will guide you through the major changes in cookies and data protection. You’ll discover critical areas businesses must adapt to remain competitive. You’ll also learn how new technologies and customer behaviors are changing the way we collect information.

What do the new cookie changes mean for e-commerce websites?

Cookies have always been valuable for e-commerce sites in collecting information. As small data blocks, they can do many things, like track activity and store login information. They can display personalized adverts and also help track a customer’s basket.

But things are changing as data privacy takes center stage worldwide. And software and services are taking notice. Google Chrome, one of the most used browsers worldwide, is now blocking third-party cookies from being served on the browser.

Third-party cookies have always been controversial because of concerns over surveillance. These cookies allowed brands to track users across several websites and build profiles. By removing them, Google Chrome is shifting the marketing landscape in one swoop.

Below are three different ways in which this can have a significant impact on e-commerce sites:

1. Difficulty personalizing customer experiences

Personalization is when a business uses customer data to create an individual experience. It is a great way to tailor your services to customers’ needs and convert a sale.

Research from Salesforce found that 73% of customers ‘expect better personalization’ from companies. Over 80% of customers agreed that a company’s experience is as important as the product or service.

In the past, third-party cookies could help websites respond to each customer’s needs. They had all the information needed to predict what a customer might buy or how they would like to use a website. For example, sites could automatically highlight items for which visitors have high-purchasing intent.

Now, companies must develop new ways to incentivize and track customer habits. Any initiatives must be carefully designed and compliant with legislation.

2. The rise of contextual advertising

Ordinarily, third-party cookies were ideal for serving targeted advertisements to internet users. The cookies would help show relevant ads the person had a proven interest in.

This helped e-commerce sites monetize their advertising space and businesses reach new customers. No more third-party cookies means that e-commerce businesses must shift their advertising approach.

One fundamental change likely to happen is the rise of contextual advertising. This is when relevant ads are shown using keywords and content on the website page instead of tracking information.

Contextual advertising complies with legalization since no privacy or personal data is used. And it is expected to become the dominant strategy in the future. By 2023, experts predict that spending on contextual advertising could reach up to $562 billion in the US alone.

3. Regulations on data privacy

Many jurisdictions, like the European Union, are ramping up policies controlling cookie use. As such, e-commerce websites must adhere to all the relevant laws, like GDPR, before launching their services.

They must become more transparent about data collection and their cookie policy. Laws require you to gain consent from visitors before placing a tracking cookie on their browser.

Cybersecurity tools are also impacting e-commerce sites

The changes to third-party cookies are part of a broader privacy movement worldwide. Popular cybersecurity tools also influence how customers see and protect their private information.

A virtual private network (VPN) is arguably the most popular tool worldwide. It is a versatile tool that encrypts a person’s internet connection, protecting their activity from being tracked.

The meaning of VPNs has changed in the last few years. There are other reasons why more people are using this tool. And businesses must be ready to adapt to change—or else stand to lose profits.

For example, customers now use a VPN to find the lowest prices online by changing their IP address. Ordinarily, e-commerce sites would use your location to readjust prices and maximize profits. Sites would offer a price they are most likely able to afford.

Because a VPN can help disguise a person’s IP address, customers can ‘relocate’ to a poorer region. If unable to verify where someone is, the website will offer the lowest prices to convert a sale.

Wrapping up the future

Recent changes in how we use third-party cookies show that online privacy has become a central issue. Businesses must now become more transparent and find new ways to collect information.

But for e-commerce websites, there are ways to prepare yourself. Adapting to new advertising and marketing strategies can be vital to building a profile of your customer base. By embracing change early, you can build brand loyalty and capitalize on this shifting industry.

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