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Dealing with non-cookied customers

How do you manage them?

     
2:19 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My shopping cart software relies on cookies, as far as I know most or all of them do.

However, cookies can be problematic. Some of the more aggressive "internet security" anti-virus/firewall products seem to not like cookies at all. Additionally, some corporate users have cookies banned, and there's nothing they can do about it.

I get complaints from users from time to time saying they really want to buy from me, but simply can't.

Do others have these problems? How do you deal with them?

No, before you ask, I don't have (and won't have) phone ordering.

9:40 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Do you use an off the peg shopping cart or a bespoke one?

If bespoke you can use the Session to work the basket - obviously the items won't persist if they go away and come back but at least they can complete a transaction in one session.

Make sure you have a P3P policy also.

10:31 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Off the peg. However, a server side session relies on a client side cookie, so you'll still have the same problem.

How does a P3P policy help?

12:08 pm on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A P3P policy (aka, a compact privacy policy) can be used by IE to make cookie accept/reject decisions. See the slider on the Privacy tab in Internet Options for the details.

I don't know what effect a P3P policy has with other browsers.

1:03 am on May 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've read that handling non-cookied customers can increase sales by 5-10%, in actual practice I've found it to be closer to 1%.
7:00 am on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If cookies are disabled, display a message on your shopping cart 'Your cookies are disabled. Call us on xx.xx.xx to place your order'.
10:30 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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display a message on your shopping cart 'Your cookies are disabled. Call us on xx.xx.xx to place your order'.

I use this method along with one additional feature.

  • I sniff for cookies - if they're on, good. If not...
  • I grab their browser/client info and redirect based on that value to a page that instructs the visitor how to turn cookies back on in their browser
  • Of course, I also note a phone/alternate order method as mentioned above