Bloomreach Engagement identifies users by tracking their cookie. A customer's cookie acts as their soft ID and when a user is identified (for example by email) it serves as a complement to their hard ID. Read more on the difference between hard and soft ID in the [Customer identification article](🔗).
Before customer's cookies can be tracked, you must receive explicit consent from them for doing so.
# Cookie journey
A customer's cookie goes through the following journey:
When a customer visits your website it is one of these two scenarios:
Their Bloomreach Engagement cookie has already been tracked and stored in Bloomreach Engagement.
No Bloomreach Engagement cookie can be found and so a new cookie is created via an API request.
Bloomreach Engagement then checks whether the customer is identified via an email or an account sign up.
If yes then Bloomreach Engagement checks if they are an existing customer.
If they are an existing customer a cookie is added to the customer’s profile as a soft ID.
If they are not an existing user a new customer profile is made with the cookie as a soft ID.
If no, an Bloomreach Engagement cookie is stored as a soft ID without a hard ID.
All the user’s following actions are [tracked](🔗) in the customer's profile with this particular cookie as their soft ID.
A cookie is automatically recognized as [PII](🔗) and expires three years after the last time it was tracked (unless you [configure a different expiration in the JS SDK](🔗)).
**Example ** James has never visited your website. After agreeing to cookies, and Bloomreach Engagement is launched, Bloomreach Engagement recognizes he does not have an Bloomreach Engagement cookie. An Bloomreach Engagement cookie is created to track James’ actions.
When James checks out of your store he creates an account. His Bloomreach Engagement cookie is then attached to this email. His hard ID is the email and the soft ID is the Bloomreach Engagement cookie.
To show how a customer can have multiple cookies lets imagine James visits your site from his new device - an iPhone 11. James will then gain another cookie (as a soft ID) in his customer profile.
To read about how and which cookies are stored in Bloomreach Engagement, go to [Cookies & Storage article](🔗).
To read about how cookies can be anonymized go to the [Right to erasure section](🔗).
# Bloomreach Engagement cookies and other platforms