Time-poor Australians who rely on online shopping to get their retail fix could soon be paying up to 25% more. Changes in 2024 will have a flow-on impact on the price of goods online, ultimately impacting consumers at the checkout.

Google will be phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome this year, due to consumer concerns about the capture and use of their personal data. Market research has consistently shown that consumers perceive third-party cookies as a form of privacy-invading technology; however, using a less intrusive, targeted advertising approach is likely to cost consumers more unless businesses pivot quickly.

Businesses may have to spend more money to be seen online

Third-party cookies are used without consumer consent, which is where the problem arises about privacy. It means that as people browse the web, any ads they may click on could potentially be sharing third-party cookies, allowing them to track your online behaviour.

This is how we receive targeted advertisements that are specific to our preferences, which many people are wary of due to concerns over security and privacy.  

It’s an interesting scenario that plays out from both sides. From a marketing perspective, cookies help companies to track consumer behaviour, preferences and spending. The data can be used for more targeted marketing strategies that are both effective and cost-effective.

Without the ability to capture this data, businesses will now have to spend more money on online advertising to reach consumers and this cost will ultimately be passed down to the customer.

The good news is that there are some ways businesses can adapt and adopt new and innovative tactics and strategies to reach and retain engagement with customers in the absence of cookies, but unfortunately not all businesses will move quickly enough to prepare for the big changes coming our way online. Many will simply throw more money at online ads passing on the costs to shoppers.

Increased costs passed to retailers

 What this then means is that companies wishing to run a digital marketing campaign will have to market harder in more varied ways, which then leads to advertising costs going up. Retailers will naturally have to pass these costs on to shoppers. Without these bits of data identifiers, companies will have to use first-party data and a high degree of personalisation in order to increase the effectiveness of an advertisement.

Retailers have relied on cookies for many years and the change in the way these online marketing campaigns track users and roll out their marketing campaigns is huge. The ramifications will filter down to the consumer; and with the cost of living now becoming the cost of surviving, shoppers aren’t going to be happy with prices going up.

Shoppers could be hit hard

Every day it seems that things are getting more expensive. Australians are already having to sacrifice a lot of the things they used to love doing regularly like traveling, going to shows and movies, and dining out with friends. Australians are cutting back more, but the prices keep getting higher. It’s frustrating to be living like this, with so little leeway to enjoy life.

Unfortunately for the consumer and online retail shopper, it looks like they could soon be paying up to 25% more for their items at a time when they can least afford it.

Cookieless future: 2024 and beyond

Going cookieless is undoubtedly a win for privacy and security, because historically about 97% of advertisers use third party data and cookies. However, going cookieless creates new challenges and obstacles for businesses, and the result is that shoppers are going to end up paying more, and many are now beginning to question whether going cookieless is the right way to go about doing things. As digital marketers get ready for a cookieless future, it’s important for them to be compliant and communicate how use data is being collected and processed.

Thankfully, businesses do have a lot of options available to them to reach and engage with shoppers without having to spend a lot of money, but they need to act quickly before cookies disappear.  The ones that do prepare will win in a cookieless online environment.

Sagar Sethi is founder and CEO of Melbourne-based digital marketing agency, Xugar.