In this article, we are going to understand more the cookies and Cookie Consent, how it works, and why it is important for e-commerce businesses to always be compliant with the GDPR and ePR.
What are cookies?
A cookie is a little file that is saved on the user's device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) and contains information about the user's Internet navigation. It's a text file containing little bits of info that are used to identify a user's computer when he connects to a network. When a user connects to the server, the server creates data in a cookie. This information is identified by a unique ID for each individual, session, and device. When the browser and the network server exchange cookies, the server scans the ID and understands what information to provide the user precisely.
Cookies are necessary for the functioning of the Internet, as they allow for the provision of a variety of interactive services as well as the navigation and usability of the website. In general, it enables websites to provide their customers with improved navigation and an online experience depending on their data.
What is Cookie Consent?
Now let’s look at it from the shopper’s perspective. Simply put, it’s the way websites ensure the legal processing of personal data from their users. Through cookies, the website owner shares information about users’ navigation on its site with social media, advertising, and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that was provided to them or that was collected from the use of their services. Sometimes we encounter the misconception that GDPR only applies to the European territory or European companies, when in fact, it protects EU citizens’ data regardless of where they are in the world.
Why do we need these cookies?
HTTP cookies are a critical part of web browsing since they allow web developers to provide users with more personalized and easy website visits. Cookies allow websites to remember visitors, their logins, shopping carts, and other information. Cookies could not, under any circumstances, affect their devices or data. Third-party cookies are little pieces of text code that are saved in users' browsers for a variety of reasons, such as remembering a previously visited page or an item placed in a shopping cart. Third-party cookies are used to share this information, with some limitations, to understand the user's previous navigation across multiple websites.
How does it help shoppers navigate eCommerce websites?
Let’s assume two people somewhere in Europe are navigating the same website at the exact same time. When the GDPR banner appears, one person accepts while the other declines. The person who accepted cookies will have a better user experience, while the one who declined could encounter some data gaps that may potentially interfere with the use of the website.
Cookies, for example, allow an eCommerce website to keep track of all the things that customers have added to their shopping cart while they browse. If a shopper disabled cookies in their browser while shopping online, the items in their shopping basket could disappear with each new link clicked. Online buying would be almost impossible and surfing the website would be impossible. Cookies are required on some websites, as proven by this example. Accepting cookies for the sole purpose of saving username and password logins for specific websites appeals to some users.
How do GDPR laws affect a business?
For website owners, the two primary aspects to be aware of are: how to manage and store personal data, and the cookies and tracking in use on the website. To meet the requirements, make sure to have a thorough and compliant setup for getting and securely storing the consents to the cookies on the website. It’s recommended to complete an overview of how the business currently stores and collects data, focusing on the consent given. This is especially important if the company uses marketing methods abroad.
Make sure to configure and present the cookie banner from a shopper’s perspective, where the message to them is simplified. Make it easy to read and understand. The good thing about GDPR is that it provides maximum importance to consumer consent. Companies are required to get explicit consent about the type of data that they will collect as well as how they will process it.
What is the connection between Cookie Consent, GDPR, and eCommerce?
From an eCommerce standpoint, there are several levels of power that a website can give the consumer, and this can have a beneficial or negative impact on the business. Users can choose to accept all, none, or manually select cookies whenever that box appears asking about them. The reasoning behind this is that while the site requires a minimum amount of information to work successfully, the company would like to do more with their permission, allowing for further personalization of the experience.
To summarize having cookie management is crucial for any website but like e-commerce sites, it is more important for user experience because remembering personalized cookie settings can make your users act faster and make them choose what they want or login more quickly to your website.