Customer identification

Defining the right customer identifiers is a critical decision at the beginning of a project. There are two types of identifiers. Usually, there is one hard identifier (hard ID) and multiple soft identifiers (soft IDs).

Soft ID

A typical example of a soft ID is a cookie. One customer can have multiple soft IDs if they used multiple devices to visit your website.

Hard ID

Usually, the hard ID is the email that the customer used for the registration. Every customer can have multiple hard IDs but each hard ID can only have one value.

Hard IDs are case sensitive. It is possible to track two different Hard IDs where the only difference would be lower/upper case letters ([email protected], [email protected]). This would in fact be just one customer unrecognized as such due to the case difference. This could result in an email being sent twice to the same customer so it is good practice to automatically transform IDs to lower case.

Identifying a customer

Exponea automatically creates a customer record for every first-time visitor to your website. At first, the customer is identified by a cookie (soft ID), which is unique for every device or browser (also applies for incognito browsing). Once the customer performs an action such as making a purchase, logging in or similar, they are identified by a hard ID called registered in Exponea. The nature of the hard identifier depends on how your project is integrated. It's usually the user's email address or some internal ID your company is using.

Remember these points when defining your IDs:

  • Every customer profile must have at least 1 ID (hard or soft) with a filled value.
  • It is NOT possible to delete/rename any identifier once it is set.
  • It is NOT possible to change a soft ID identifier into a hard ID once it is set. However, it is possible to have multiple soft-IDs.
  • You can make a one-way change of identifier type from a hard ID to soft ID by a non-reversible admin operation.
  • It is possible to have more than one hard ID identifier set in a project (for example customer ID from e-shop and offline loyalty card number).
  • However, it is recommended to have only one hard id (ideally it should be an email or a customer ID).
  • There can be more than one soft ID:
    • A cookie is a standard soft ID.
    • Special kinds of soft IDs can be required by some integrations.
  • When you import IDs from a table in Excel you can set some basic automatic transformations for both types of IDs by applying the following functions:
    • Trim - removes blank spaces before and after the identifier string.
    • Lowercase - will put all characters for incoming identifier in lowercase to avoid duplication. This is useful as the Exponea identifiers are case sensitive by default.

Updated 4 months ago

Customer identification


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