The effect of privacy choice in cookie notices on consumers’ perceived fairness of frequent price changes

Recent regulatory changes (i.e., General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union) enforce that seller (e.g., retail and service) and all other websites disclose through cookie notices which data they collect and store. At the same time, websites must allow consumers to disagree to the tracking of their browsing behavior. Despite sellers’ concern about the loss of consumer insights—as consumers might disagree to the collection of their browsing data—cookie notices might also have a surprising side‐effect: Consumers might accept frequent price changes (from personalized or dynamic pricing) more readily, if they agree through a cookie notice that their behavior can be tracked. Specifically, two experimental studies show that consent to the tracking of browsing behavior increases consumers internal attribution of a price change, as consumers attribute the cause of the change (here: giving up data) to themselves. This increases price fairness perceptions and, in turn, purchase intent. As a result, for online sellers of goods or services the implementation of cookie notice should no longer be thought as a matter to be avoided, but rather a trade‐off decision: Loss of a part of consumer insights versus higher acceptance of data‐driven marketing mix decisions, such as frequent price changes.

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