howies and cookies
Cookies are the small pieces of data that websites send to your browser in order to make web browsing easier and quicker for you. Cookies are also how Americans refer to biscuits. And what they call 'biscuits', we refer to as 'scones'. Very confusing...
At howies we have always used cookies to make our site work as efficiently as possible for our customers. We also use them to get an idea of how many visits our site is attracting - which, for an online business, is valuable information we use to make improvements to the inner workings of our site.
What is a cookie?
Like we said, cookies are small pieces of data that websites store in your browser in order to remember your personal settings – eg: stuff like whether you are logged in, or which items you just added to your shopping basket. They're mostly used to speed up your browsing experience. Without them, you would probably get really bored of filling in the same information repeatedly or waiting for a page to reload.
Cookies are anonymous. They use a randomly generated number to identify themselves and contain no information that could personally identify you.
Which cookies do howies use?
This is a list of the cookies that may be stored on your browser when visiting our website:
The Frontend Cookie
This cookie stores all the information about your current and previous visits, whether you are logged in or browsing the site as a guest, and also the contents of your shopping cart.
The Stid and Uset Cookies
These cookies are only set when you are browsing a product page. They provide us with statistics on the usage of the "Share This" functionality (via Facebook, Twitter or E-mail). They help us gauge a product’s popularity, aswell as ensure we don't share products with you which you aren't interested in.
The Paypal Cookie
These are only set on the checkout page. Their purpose is to help the process of Paypal payments.
The Utma Cookie
Who comes up with theses names!? This cookie is what’s called a 'persistent' cookie, as in, it never expires (technically, it does expire… in the year 2038… but for the sake of explanation, let’s pretend it doesn't). This cookie keeps track of the number of times a visitor has been to the site, when their first visit was and when their last visit occurred. Google Analytics uses the information from this cookie to calculate things like dates and visit-to-purchase percentages. With this information, we can make really boring graphs.
The Utmb and Utmc Cookies
The Utmb and Utmc cookies are brothers, working together to calculate how long a visit takes. Utmb takes a timestamp of the exact moment in time when a visitor enters the site, while Utmc takes one of the exact moment in time when that visitor leaves the site. Utmb expires at the end of the session. Utmc waits 30 minutes, then expires. Utmc has no way of knowing when a user closes their browser or leaves a website, so it waits 30 minutes for another pageview to happen, if it doesn’t, it expires and goes to cookie heaven.
The Utmz Cookie
Mr. Utmz keeps track of where you came from, which search engine you used, which link you clicked on, which keywords you used and where in the world you were when you accessed our website. It expires in 15,768,000 seconds (or 6 months). This cookie is how Google Analytics knows to whom and to what webpage / banner / keyword etc to give the credit to for a 'conversion' or an e-commerce transaction. This cookie helps us get the most out of our little marketing budget.
We hope that explains things clearly. For more information about cookies and how you can control the way they're used on your browser, have a look at the Wikipedia article on cookies or at the Government cookie guide. Dunno about you, but I really fancy a biscuit right now.