What are cookies and why do we use them?
Cookies are small text files placed on your device when you visit a website or application. Your web browser (such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) then sends these cookies back to the website on each subsequent visit so that they can remember things like preferences.
Cookies are very useful and do lots of different jobs. For example, they enable you to move between our web pages efficiently, they remember your preferences when you visit us again and generally improve your experience when browsing with us. They can also help to ensure that adverts you see online are more relevant to you and your interests.
Cookies last for different lengths of time depending on the job they do. There are session cookies and persistent cookies:
- Session cookies only last for your online session and disappear from your device when you close your browser
- Persistent cookies stay on your device after the browser has been closed and last for the period of time specified in the cookie
We will only read or write cookies for the preference level you set when you first visit our website.
Please note that cookies set before you changed your settings will still be on your computer. You can remove them using your browser settings.
We also use a cookie to remember your cookie preferences. This means:
- If you delete all your cookies you will have to update your preferences with us again – we’ll ask you when you next visit our website
- If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preferences again
The cookies we use
The cookies used on our website fall into one of four categories: strictly necessary, performance, functional and targeting.
1. Strictly necessary cookies
Strictly necessary cookies let you move around the website and use essential features like secure areas, shopping baskets and online billing.
We use these strictly necessary cookies to:
- Remeber information you've entered on order forms when you visit different pages in a single web browser session
- Remember what you’ve ordered when you get to the checkout page
- Identify you as being logged in to our website
- Make sure you connect to the right service on our website when we make any changes to the way the website works
Cookies we have defined as strictly necessary will NOT be used to:
- Gather information that could be used to advertise products or services to you
- Remember your preferences or username beyond your current visit
2. Performance cookies
Performance cookies collect information about how you use our website. For example, which pages you visit and if you experience any errors. These cookies are essential to us being able to operate and maintain our website.
These cookies don't collect any information that could identify you – all the information collected is anonymous.
Accepting these cookies is a condition of using the website, so if you prevent them we cannot guarantee how our site will perform for you.
In some cases, some performance cookies are managed for us by third parties, but we don't allow the third party to use the cookies for any purpose other than those listed below.
We use performance cookies to:
- Provide statistics on how our website is used
- See how effective our adverts are (we don't use this information to target adverts to you when you visit other websites)
- Help us improve the website by measuring any errors that occur
- Test different designs of our website
Cookies we have defined as performance will NOT be used to:
- Gather information that could be used to advertise products or services to you on other websites
- Remember your preferences or username beyond your current visit
- Target adverts to you on any other website
3. Functional cookies
Functional cookies are used to provide services or to remember settings to improve your visit.
You decide whether or not these cookies are used, but preventing them may mean we can't offer you some services, and will reduce the support we can offer you, such as ‘live chat’. We use functional cookies to:
- Remember if we've already asked you if you want to fill in a survey
- Provide proactive live chat sessions to offer you support
- Show you when you're logged in to the website
- Share information with partners to provide a service on our website. The information shared is only to be used to provide the service, product or function and not for any other purpose
- Remember results of tests performed to make the website more relevant to you
Cookies we have defined as functional will not be used to:
- Target you with adverts on other websites
Targeting cookies are linked to services provided by our trusted partners, as listed below. You decide whether or not these cookies are used.
We use targeting cookies to:
- Link to social networks who may use information about your visit to target advertising to you on other websites
- Provide advertising agencies and our trusted partners with information on your visit so that we can present adverts that you may be interested in, and prevent you receiving duplicate ads – online behavioural advertising (for more details please see below)
- Deliver content, including video content, tailored to your interests
There are ways you can control and manage cookies on your device. Please remember that any settings you change will not just affect the cookies we use. These changes will apply to all websites you visit (unless you choose to block cookies from particular sites).
Managing cookies in your browser
Most browsers will allow you to choose the level of privacy settings you want. You can block all cookies, or accept all cookies or pick a setting somewhere in between. This range lets you control your cookie settings, so you can:
- See what cookies you've got and delete them on an individual basis
- Block third party cookies
- Block cookies from particular sites
- Block all cookies from being set
- Delete all cookies when you close your browser
Deleting cookies means that any preference settings you have made on a website will be lost. If you’ve set your preferences to opt out of cookies, this setting will be lost too, as that information is stored in a cookie. Blocking all cookies means functionality on our websites will be lost, as described above. We don’t recommend turning all cookies off when using our websites.
If you want to reduce your cookie settings at any time – for example, if you accept all cookies, but later decide you don’t want a certain type of cookie – you’ll need to use your browser settings to remove any third party cookies dropped on your previous visit.
Find out how to manage your cookies using the most popular browsers below.