Cookies, also known as browser cookies or HTTP cookies, are small text files stored in a user’s web browser data folder or browser directory. E-commerce websites use cookies on their visitor’s browsers so as to identify customers, retain login details, and provide the best shopping and user experience.

What are cookies used for?

Cookies are used by secure websites to validate the identity of users as they browse from one page to another. Without cookies, website visitors would have to provide their login details before adding every product to their wishlist or cart. In short, cookies play a key role in enabling and improving: customer login, wish-lists, custom user interface, product recommendations, and persistent shopping carts.

How cookies work

Cookies can be placed into two main categories based on the following: * Session cookies: These cookies stay on a user’s browser and retain their information until it’s closed. When the user opens a new browser window, he is considered a new visitors and must provide his login details * Persistent cookies: These cookies remain on the user’s browser until they are manually deleted or until the period lapses. Persistent cookies remember users even after closing their web browser. They enable persistent shopping carts and other features that help in retaining user details such that they don’t have to do it again and again

When a user visits an e-commerce website, the web page records his activity and places a cookie on his browser files. A cookie is only a short text and doesn’t contain any information about the user or his computer or laptop. But it contains a unique generator number, the URL to the site that paced the cookie, and the date of expiration for the cookie. When the user visits the website, each page he visits queries the browser as it looks for the cookie. If the URL of the cookie matches the URL of the website, the website recovers the information about the user from its database using the unique generated number. Thus, the website adjusts user-experience to reflect his browsing history.

For example, if a user searches the website for designer suits and visits the website a second time, the website will try to retrieve his records and add more designed suits to its landing page.

Cookies can also be used to customize website experience. New users may see a certain version of a landing page and longtime users may see a completely different one.

Use of cookies on e-commerce websites

Cookies are mainly used to keep users logged in as they browse from one page to another. Websites usually collect user’s browsing history, add it to their database, and use it to improve customer experience.

E-commerce websites use both persistent cookies and session cookies to provide a seamless shopping cart experience. The session keeps track of the items a user adds to his cart, and if he abandons the cart, persistent cookies retrieve his selection from the website’s database when he visits next time. It also allows users to create personalized retargeting campaigns that encourage him to go back to his cart. This helps in improving conversions.

Online casinos also use cookies to make their websites work more efficiently. This allows gamblers to navigate through the pages efficiently. Cookies remember gambler’s preferences and make the interaction between them and the gambling site more efficient and smoother.

Payment service providers that enable e-commerce websites to accept payments also use cookies. Some of these cookies include Functionality Cookies which allow payment providers to remember choices you make and provide more personal features; and Performance Cookies that collect information about user behavior on be payment provider’s website.

Cookies are an important part of the internet, and without them, websites would be less interactive and useful. It would be impossible for e-commerce website to operate without cookies as they have proven to be crucial technologies in the fast-growing industry. They help ecommerce websites to remember and make necessary improvements. But still, cookies can also be disabled. In fact, most websites give you the option to either accept or stop the cookies on your browser. You can also disable cookies on your browsers.

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