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End-users of our commerce solution can log in, in two ways: With their email-address or using a booking number as user name.

They log in with an email-address when they already have a user profile on our site. If they don't want a user profile, they can choose to log in with their booking number. This will log them in, but it doesn't necessarily create a user profile. If they log in with a booking number, add some stuff to their cart, log out and later log in with their booking number again, they should see the cart's content from their first visit (we will store the cart on the commerce side).

  • Should we use Sitecore virtual users for the users that will log in with booking number?
  • What are the advantages/drawbacks as opposed to using regular Sitecore users for this?
  • I read that virtual users only exist in memory. I expect it works when scaling out? I mean, will all CD servers know about the virtual user logging in on one of them?

It should be possible for the user to log in by booking number and then, later in the user session, "upgrade" to a user profile, that is actually stored in our database.

  • Is this easy enough to do with virtual users?
  • Perhaps it will be easier than creating actual Sitecore users for booking-logins because we in this situation would have to delete the old user (with booking number as user name) and create a new one (with email-address as user name)?
  • How about creating two user profiles? "Signed User" profile for ones with email address and "Unsigned User" with just booking number. You can then easily switch between them if somebody signs or registers. Or? – Peter Procházka Jan 23 at 19:59
  • Sure, that would be the most straightforward solution - I was just wondering if virtual users were a better option – ebug Jan 24 at 7:00
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    Virtual user is also a good option even though it is against your requirement "This will log them in, but it doesn't necessarily create a user profile. If they log in with a booking number, add some stuff to their cart, log out and later log in with their booking number again, they should see the cart's content from their first visit". But you mentioned that cart will be stored on commerce side so you can always restore the cart for virtual user upon login so I don't see any issues also using Virtual User approach as it's really only "temporal" user for you – Peter Procházka Jan 24 at 8:05

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