It’s 7:45 AM. You get out of the shower, walk into the bedroom, and find a guy in a suit sitting on the bed who asks “Do you want to buy that pair of trousers you tried on yesterday at our store in the city centre?”
I can’t imagine a poorer, more intrusive customer experience. It’s made possible, in part, because of third-party cookies.
When you visit a product on a website and then start seeing it appear at yourfavouritenewspaper.com or thatblogthatiread.io, it’s because there is data being shared, commonly through third-party cookies, between domains and websites. So, as a result, you are offered that product in different environments.
It’s like fishing with big nets: This technique is used with a large number of shoppers, and so long as a certain percentage of people take the bait, it’s profitable. As consumers, however, our experience is terrible.
As a knock-on to all of this, Google’s Chrome will gradually phase out third-party cookies, starting midway through 2024.
We are already cookie-less
Empathy.co’s Interface X Frontend Search library is cookie-less, a measure that we took some years ago. Although we have never shared cookies between domains, there are other techniques to save user interactions that are much less harmful and intrusive, such as Local and Session Storage.
Local and Session Storage are Browser APIs that let you store application state information in the browser. There are two main aspects that make them much more secure than cookies:
- Local Storage data is never appended by default to the network requests like cookies are.
- Local Storage can never be shared between domains.
So if we are storing something in a.com, it will never be used by b.com. The information about the interaction that you made in one place cannot be consumed or leveraged by another company.
We use the customer domain: First-party
As Local Storage forces you to save the application info in the same domain that you are visiting, information saved in the browser is considered first-party cookies. That means Empathy.co is two steps ahead of the Chrome third-party cookies phase-out.
Empathy.co is using Local Storage to offer History Queries to shoppers during the search experience. It’s a way to remember previous intentions, “What did I do last time at this eCommerce store?”
Of course, as explained before, this is only stored in the Browser, and you can even delete it at will through the My History feature. It will likely evolve to offer new functionalities such as history queries with saved filters.
We are ready, and so are Empathy.co customers
Empathy.co customers don’t have to worry about the phasing-out of third-party cookies or about cross-domain usage of customer interactions, but they will still enjoy the benefits of secure, saved application data.
So that guy waiting on the bed? He’ll only be there if you let him in.