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How the death of 3rd party cookies could be good for retail
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How the death of 3rd party cookies could be good for retail

Alan Gormley
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As a business owner, you know that staying ahead of the curve is crucial to success. Well, the curve just changed again – and this time, it’s all about cookies. No, not those delicious treats we all love; we’re talking about tracking cookies.

Third-party cookies have been a staple of online advertising for years. But then Google announced that Chrome would start blocking third-party cookies by default. Goodbye 3rd party cookies, goodbye customer data.

And you know what? That's a good thing.

While this change could have negative consequences for companies that rely on tracking cookies for marketing and customer acquisition purposes, it could also lead to a better customer experience for users. So what does this mean for your eCommerce store? Read on to find out.

What are the 3rd party cookies?

Third-party cookies, also known as "tracking cookies”, are those pesky little trackers that follow you around the web, collecting data about what websites you visit and what you do on them. They allow websites to track your browsing habits and preferences, which can then target you with ads and content relevant to your interests.

Safari and Firefox have already blocked third-party cookies, and Google is planning on phasing them out by 2023. Even though these aren’t the only browsers, they accounted for almost 88% of the global market share for internet browsers as of December 2021.

However, not all cookies are gone. First-party cookies that track data about your own website visitors are still safe and won't be going anywhere any time soon. The downside? Unfortunately, no information about their activity beyond your domain is available.

Retailer’s & eCommerce Marketer’s Experience with 3rd Party Cookies & Retargeting

Retailers believe that they have played a key role in converting new customers into repeat customers. But it’s hard to find proof of this when you actually look at acquisition.

Retargeting using 3rd party data was a way for retailers to bring anonymous traffic back to their online store. According to a recent study on the effectiveness of third-party cookies in advertising, the average audience targeting accuracy was 59%. On top of that, most retargeting platforms only show partial data and even that is extremely biased towards what they want you to see.

Not to mention that bots surmise a quarter of all online data and a staggering 90% of PPCS ads are affected by click fraud through bots.

Apart from the accuracy of third-party cookies, advertising costs are skyrocketing and forcing retailers to shift their marketing efforts. With this, the likes of Facebook and Google have not only been charging you to target potential customers but they’ve also been selling data gathered in your store to your competitors. While you’re stuck in an endless cycle of reacquisition, buying your own customers over and over, the internet giants are profiting off you and your competitors' PPC wars.

Statistics to show problems with retargeting

Customers’ Experience with 3rd Party Cookies & Retargeting

People are tired of being advertised to. They want an engaging experience with their favourite brand that doesn't involve being spammed or groomed by ads all over the place.

In fact, most customers are creeped out by ads when they follow them across devices. 50% of people report getting put off from buying a product when re-targeted and only 10% convert. Third-party cookies also slow down page loading times, leading to decreased conversion rates, lost sales, and an overall poor customer experience.

As many as 80% of consumers consider current experiences to be lacking. We've come a long way since the days when amassing information was enough. Nowadays, customers expect a more personal and transparent experience.

What’s Next?

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. We determinedly say that it’s a blessing in disguise. The death of third-party cookies really is the best thing that happened to customer experience in the last 20 years. And here’s why…

Go Back to the Core

The core of retail is providing an excellent customer experience and helping customers through their buying journey. This is something that many retailers have lost sight of as they've adopted a "mass marketing" approach to online retail by using 3rd party cookies and retargeting.

The majority of purchase decisions are based on the customer’s experience. Research shows that forcible retargeting causes aversion and fatigue in consumers — resulting in the exact opposite of good CX.

By focusing on creating a fantastic experience for our customers, we can keep them coming back without resorting to tactics that might make them feel uncomfortable or spammy. So if you're looking for a new way to improve your marketing strategy, focus on giving them ideas, nurturing, and engaging them while they're exploring your store.

Build Relationships Through Email

Would you like to turn your visitors into a devoted audience? Build an email list.

You may have heard that email is dead. But that's not true at all. In fact, email is one of the most powerful eCommerce marketing tactics out there. For instance, the average ROI for email is x42, whereas for Google Ads it’s x2.

The ROI of social media is harder to quantify, but many marketers agree it’s not worth the hassle. Most companies will aim to grow organically through Instagram, TikTok, and Google Shopping.

To stand out from your competitors, you need customer engagement that goes above just providing an excellent product or service — it's all about hyper-personalizing the customer journey. And what better way to do that than through segmented emails?

1st part data and contextual marketing will enhance customer experience


As a retailer, you should always have a contingency plan and avoid putting all of your eggs into one basket. Find new ways of building a relationship with your visitors to improve customer experience and in turn increase the CTLV. Think about marketing with 1st party data and contextual advertising.

Instead of heavily relying on a single tool, invest in building an eCommerce marketing stack. One that enhances your customer’s experience while they’re browsing through your store. And one that integrates across your eCommerce and marketing stats to prevent data loss.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: retention always beats acquisition. While acquisition grows your potential customer base, retention increases their lifetime value.

Improve Website Navigation

With over 95% of online traffic being anonymous, your eCommerce website is the one piece of real estate you can control. Because let's face it: if your website navigation is clunky or hard to use, people aren't going to stick around. And that means they're not going to buy anything from you.

In fact, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. So instead of relying on third-party cookies, utilise on-site mechanisms that bring your customers back to products they’ve looked at or help them explore more products.

Our advice is to start with the basics — improve your website taxonomy, include a noticeable search bar, and develop an overall logical and intuitive design. And then use an AI Shop Assistant that understands your shopper in real-time, nudges them to view more products without being intrusive, and converts them into repeat customers.


3rd party Cookies were always messy with inaccurate targeting that either annoyed customers or sunk your eCommerce marketing budgets. First-party cookies are your new best friend. They can help you collect data, such as which items your customers added to their shopping carts, their username and passwords, and language preferences.

But hey, it’s 2022 — your customers expect more. It’s time to use contextual, real-time experiences to combat this change around 3rd party data. The market has shifted and it’s no longer enough to just have good products or services. It’s vital to exceed expectations and make a good, lasting first impression.

Shopbox creates the opportunity to enhance your customer experience without knowing anything about the visitor. Whoever is browsing on your website gets a personal, tailored experience in real-time.

See how Shopbox could look on your store. Book a demo today.


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