The privacy rules also apply to ‘similar technologies’ to cookies; for example flash cookies, web beacons, device fingerprinting, pixels and plugins.
You’re also required to get the consent of your users before you set any non-essential cookies, so it’s important that you understand the distinction. We’ve set out below some examples of different types of cookies your ecommerce website might use.
Different types of cookies
There are various different types of cookies, including:
1. Essential cookies
These are cookies that are essential in order for your site to function properly. This could include cookies that enable pages on your website to load quickly, those that remember your users’ login details or cookies that remember what your customer has placed in their shopping baskets.
You do not need to get consent before you set these cookies.
2. Analytics cookies
These cookies collect information about how your users use your website, for instance what pages they visit most often and what searches they carry out.
These cookies do not meet the strictly necessary exemption, and so you must get consent of your website users before setting them.
3. Advertising cookies
Cookies may be used for online behavioural advertising, which is a form of targeted advertising where information about your customers’ web browsing activity is collected and analysed in order to market goods and services to them more effectively. Information collected might include the websites they visit, the ads they click on or the products that they buy. You can then use this information to show your users targeted advertisements about products they are most likely to be interested in. For further guidance, see our Q&A on Online behavioural advertising.
Advertising cookies do not meet the strictly necessary exemption, and so you must get consent of your website users before setting them.
What about third party cookies?
If your website allows third parties to set cookies on your users’ devices (eg from an advertising network), you must inform your users about this and obtain their consent first. This responsibility lies with both you and the third party, so you will need to liaise with them to ensure that your obligations are met.
Before joining Sparqa Legal as a Senior Legal Editor in 2017, Frankie spent five years training and practising as a corporate disputes and investigations lawyer at leading international law firm Hogan Lovells. As legal insights lead, Frankie regularly contributes to Sparqa Legal’s blog, writing content across employment law, data protection, disputes and more.