How Retailers Can Prepare for a Cookieless Future 

Published 29th Jun 2022 by Caitlin McCartney
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As the death of third party cookies fast approaches, retailers need ways to engage customers that respect data privacy.

To meet customer expectations, retailers are focusing on creating excellent onsite experiences with 100% anonymous item data led personalization. Savvy vendors are also turning data privacy challenges into profitable opportunities with context aware advertising platforms.

In this article, we breakdown what data privacy means for you as a retailer, how you can prepare and why product data led, context aware strategies will deliver success in our brave new, cookieless world.

What does a post cookie world mean for retailers? 

With new data privacy regulations such as the GDPR and Apple and Google phasing out third party cookies, advertisers need permission to collect and store personally identifiable information (PII). Given the choice, many consumers are opting out, so it’s getting much harder to gather data about users and target ads based on their behavior. 

How can retailers prepare? 

Look to product data to understand your customers without PII

Retailers need ways to better understand their customers without PII, and for this reason, they’re looking to their richest source of first party data: their products. 

Product data is valuable because you have:

  • 100% of your item data.
  • Every single item interaction.
  • Every item purchased.
  • Every search.
  • Every item image.
  • All of your product description data.

Machine learning algorithms such as collaborative filtering, natural language processing and computer vision can use this data to deeply understand the relationship between items (which items are similar to one another, which items go well together, which items are complementary to one another) and browsing behavior on site (which items did a customer look at, what did they look at next, how many other customers took the same journey?). 

Why is this powerful? Demographic data, location data or information about what a customer bought six months ago can’t tell you anything useful about the in-moment intent of a customer. Product data and ‘wisdom of the crowd’ algorithms shortcut the path to items shoppers likely want at any given moment, making this privacy preserving strategy a more effective way to ‘understand’ your customer.  

Provide exceptional shopping experiences with 100% anonymous personalization

Customers want privacy first solutions, but they’ve also come to expect convenience, ease and value for money from online shopping experiences.

Price pressure from discounters has created an environment where customer loyalty is at an all time low - unique selections, strategic pricing such as promotions and sales cycles are not as effective as they once were.

Retailers need to differentiate themselves by not only meeting expectations, but also delighting their customers. Product data led personalization is more than a future proof strategy for a cookieless world, it’s the key to creating unique, relevant experiences that build trust and customer loyalty.

Meaningful personalization puts customer needs first and takes the guesswork out of providing a great user experience. With a product data led strategy, you can serve more intuitive product recommendations, suggest more relevant product bundles and offer services such as Price Beat.

Strategies like these keep buyers onsite, building trust and goodwill with customers. For this reason, meaningful, privacy first personalization is the key to a fantastic shopping experience in the data privacy era.

Add a context aware advertising platform to your site

Privacy compliant advertising and better onsite engagement are essential in a cookieless world.

Right now, marketers face the dual challenge of working with less information and reduced budgets. They need cost effective strategies that meet customers with high buying intent where they are in their shopping journey.

Brand marketers will pay to have their products appear on your site, and a product data led Retail Media platform that can match advertisements to the in-moment intent of your customers is a win-win-win strategy for marketers, retailers and customers.

Say Samsung wants to promote a television on a large consumer electronics website, a Retail Media platform can place an ad for that television specifically in front of high purchase intent consumers looking for similar spec TVs.

Retail Media networks are powerful because they drive better CX and greater customer loyalty while boosting sales and bottom line. Brands benefit from the most efficient use of ad spend, retailers profit from clicks and traffic, and the customer finds what they're looking for more quickly.

As a cookieless solution that creates a simpler, faster buying experience, product data led Retail Media is an enormous opportunity for retailers.

In short

Retailers need privacy compliant, product data led strategies to meet customer expectations and drive better onsite engagement. As marketers move away from PII collection and behavioral targeting, retailers can also seize an opportunity to profit from the rise of context aware advertising. Though data privacy is a significant change for the industry, retailers who embrace new tactics for connecting with customers will win in the post cookie world. 

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