Five Ways to Ethically Use Cookies to Boost Xmas Revenue


With probes into Google and Facebook over their cookie-based tracking methods, ecommerce store owners are left wondering how to ethically track user patterns.

Cookies have been around since the 90s. Website owners use cookies to track user patterns, recently browsed content, and basic user information.

Here are some ways to ethically use cookies around this critical Christmas period without compromising your customers’ data.

1. Basic Login Information

Never store a user’s password in a cookie. Cookies are small files stored on the user’s computer, and they are generally secure, but not entirely. Storing a user’s password compromises the user’s privacy and security. Instead, use cookies to store the user’s login information. When the user checks off the “Remember Me” option in a login form, use a cookie to fill out the account name the next time the user visits the page.

2. Commonly Browsed Product

Keeping track of user patterns is a skill that most ecommerce site owners need. Tracking commonly browsed product helps you sell more popular products. You can then place those products on the front page of the site to drive more sales. Some website owners also store the information in the database, but this does not target specific customers. Using cookies, you can identify the products that interest a specific customer.

3. Link-Clicking Habits

Store owners interested in maximizing web real estate keep track of links commonly clicked on the site. Tracking clicked links helps you determine the best location for each link on the page. You don’t want visitors to get lost on a site, and you want them to easily find product. By tracking links, you can offer a way to customize a site’s layout relative to user engagement.

4. Targeting Geo-Location

Globalized sites usually have a sub-domain or sub-directory for each country they service. It’s convenient to forward users to the right page after they’ve verified their location. For instance, the home page asks for the user to click a country, and a cookie keeps track of the user’s choice. The next time the user accesses the website, you can redirect them to the right country automatically.

5. Affiliate Cookies

For several years, cookies have been used to track affiliate sales. If an affiliate sends a potential customer to your site, a cookie makes sure the affiliate gets credit for that sale. Affiliate cookies ensure an affiliate gets credit for a sale in case the user leaves the page and comes back from a different affiliate link. The first affiliate to send the user to the page should get the credit. If the user converts to a customer, the cookie logs the affiliate sale.

In Summary

These are some ethical ways to use cookies, but some countries such as Europe require the site owner to alert customers to cookie-use. Customers also have the ability to turn off cookies in their browsers, so don’t rely too heavily on cookies for critical tracking. Always keep users’ best interest at heart when designing pages that log critical information and use cookies.

Over to you…

How do you use Cookies to boost your website revenue?  Share below…

About Omar Kattan
Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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