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How are cookies used to manage relationships with customers?

How do companies use cookies to better manage their relationship with customers? Are there any disadvantages to using cookies?

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Cookies are employed when you use your browser to visit web sites on the Internet. The two main browsers, Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, both allow the use of cookies. Cookie files allow a web server to store information about you on your computer, and to retrieve that information to identify you in the future. A cookie is a tiny piece of text that is placed on your hard drive. Its job is to record bits of information such as the pages you've visited, items you've put into an online shopping cart, your user name and password.

Because cookies allow a site to know who the user is they can customize information for them. It's like having a door attendant recognize you, greet you by name, and ask about your family. Or like going into a store where the salesperson knows you personally and knows your preferences so he or she is able to present you with customized merchandise in order to make your shopping easier. This greatly enhances the relationship as the user will normally return to that site since they feel they are getting personal, preferential treatment.

Cookies are advantageous to both the user and internet business owners. For the most part, cookies do not present any danger. In fact, the more information that can be obtained by business owners, the quicker the site will most likely change to meet the needs of its users. This is TREMENDOUS with customer relations. Companies can better serve their customers if they know what they want, and, by using cookies, businesses can essentially get into the unconscious minds of their prospects and customers and deliver the products of their dreams to them. Information about your age, occupation, lifestyle, income level, marital status, buying preferences can be conveyed via cookies. This allows businesses to custom-tailor their messages to individual tastes and preferences. This type of information is vital in determining what services should be provided to the user.

Cookie information can also be used to determine how proposed changes to the site may impact users. For example, information in cookies might give valuable feedback when offering test pages to users on the same subject. ...

Solution Summary

The solution of almost 1500 words is a very good description of the advantages and disadvantages of using cookies. A summary presents a conclusion about the use of cookies.