Your e-commerce website deserves a better heatmap: Here’s why

Written by on July 27, 2018

If you are running an e-commerce business, chances are that you have heard about optimizing your web pages to increase conversions. Though your business primarily relies on your site, the average conversion rate for e-commerce is the lowest ranging from 2% to 4%. There are a lot of tools and techniques that will help you increase conversions by understanding visitor behavior better.

Let’s talk about one such tool – the heatmap.

Heatmaps are an absolute must for your e-commerce websites because they provide a complete overview on what your visitors do across the different pages on your site. These insights positively influence your business decisions and help boost conversions.

So, what is a heatmap exactly?

Heatmaps are graphical representations of your websites’ data that help you understand how your visitors engage with the different elements in it.

How does an e-commerce website differ?

If you think that any heatmap would work for your website, you couldn’t be more wrong. An e-commerce website is not like other traditional websites. They are generally dynamic. Dynamic sites process web pages and execute HTML scripts locally as and when they load in the browser. To put in a simple way, your page loads as and when your user scrolls.

Also, an e-commerce website tends to have more dynamic elements like sliders, falling cards, dropdowns, pop-ups, etc., than that of a regular site. Understanding visitors’ interaction with your dropdowns, pop-ups, etc. is essential for determining their overall experience within a web page.

Apart from its dynamic nature, many factors differentiate an e-commerce website from other industry websites. For example, the ideal page load time for sites is around 11 seconds whereas for e-commerce websites it is approximately 9 seconds. A leading e-commerce store selling auto parts saw an increase in sales by 13% when they reduced their page load time in half. Also the number of distractions, the number of choices and the number of links on e-commerce websites are significantly higher compared to other industry websites.

Regular heatmaps – not cutting it?

Now that you know the difference, you would understand that a regular heatmap that tracks only clicks or scrolls will just not cut it. You need a robust and feature-loaded heatmap to provide you with more profound insights which are impossible to achieve with other heat maps. This is because not all heatmaps are suited to track visitor engagement on e-commerce websites. Your choice of heatmaps can alter your perception of visitor engagement and lead to inaccurate findings.

Solving heatmap problems with Freshmarketer

Though most of the heatmaps in today’s market claim to work well with dynamic e-commerce websites, there are a few disadvantages of using them. Here are some of the issues that we have identified with heatmaps in general.

Read on to know how Freshmarketer tackles these problems, to provide you with accurate and easy-to-use heatmaps of your web pages.

  1. Segmenting audience

Consider this; you want to improve the experience of your one-time buyers to convert them into repeat purchasers. You look at heatmaps to learn from the visitor behavior of your customers who have purchased more than once.

How can you identify repeat-customers’ interaction with your website?

Many heatmap tools are not built with the segmenting feature that allows you to distinguish between repeat customers and one-time buyers’ interactions with your website.

Freshmarketer, on the other hand, lets you create and apply segments for your heatmaps. Accordingly, you can segment and filter your visitors based on new vs returning customers, the traffic like source, medium, campaigns, etc., or you can segment by geography, days of the week, IP address or query parameters. Additionally, you can also create custom audience segments to view their interactions with your website.

This will help you understand your visitors better, deliver targeted messages and boost your conversions.

2) Dynamic websites

Have you had to take screenshots of your web page for every dynamic element like drop-down boxes, sliders to understand your visitor clicks?

Have you wondered how your heatmap can provide information when your web page loads only after the user scrolls?

If your website has dynamic elements like pop-ups, sliders, drop-down boxes, or when your web page loads after your visitor scrolls, most heatmap tools cannot provide accurate information for your website.

This is because when some heatmap tools take a snapshot of your web pages to provide information on user clicks and scrolls, you cannot get any data on your web page’s dynamic elements. You will also not be able to track pages which have scroll locks, long pages or content within iframes.

Even with heatmap tools that do support dynamic web pages, configuring them for all such pages within a website can be arduous.

Freshmarketer’s dynamic heatmaps, on the other hand, provide accurate inferences for e-commerce websites. You get to view the real-time data of every visitor click and scroll with no complicated sampling involved.

So how does Freshmarketer’s dynamic heatmaps work?

We’ll explain this for the two different scenarios:

Scenario 1: Your e-commerce websites get loaded as and when your visitor scrolls.

When you use a snapshot-based heatmap, you will not be able to view your visitor activity for the part which gets loaded after the visitor scroll. Freshmarketer collects data directly from your website without the need for any snapshot and provides accurate heatmaps for your entire dynamic web page.

Scenario 2:  Your e-commerce web pages have similar templates.

This means that you have similar layouts, similar elements like buttons, dropdowns, etc. These buttons, dropdowns, etc. have selectors associated to them at the back-end. The selectors comprise of classes and IDs and provide a specific characteristic to the element. For example, if the drop-down has to be a rectangle, then a particular class corresponding to a rectangular shape will be associated with the element.

When your site has similar dropdowns or buttons across web pages, their IDs and classes tend to be repeated as well. Other heatmap tools may identify the clicks on the dropdowns or buttons, but will not be able to map them to their respective location in your web page. This is when you get inaccurate results similar to the one below.

In the above example, the heatmap records user clicks only on one product as the display elements have the same id.

Freshmarketer cleverly identifies elements with similar classes and IDs and maps differently for each of those elements to display an accurate heatmap.

3) Working across different resolutions

Visitors do not come to your website only through desktops. As the world goes mobile today, most of your traffic comes from your apps(if you have any) or your mobile website.

How do you know that your heatmap works for all those devices’ resolution and provides the right information?

The truth is most of the heatmaps in the market today, and probably yours too is outdated.

These heatmaps provide information with your web pages’ snapshots and categorize the data into standard resolutions like 1024×576, 1280×800, 1280×720, etc. The information is aggregated to these resolutions to provide an approximate understanding of where your users engage within your website.

In the age of responsive designs and multiple devices, do you think this will work?

However, with Freshmarketer, you can be very sure about the accuracy of your heatmap results as they are resolution independent.

Freshmarketer’s heatmaps consider your web page elements to provide data and gets rid of the ineffective snapshot-based method. With heat map reports, you can view device specific data that lets you know how your users interact with your website on different devices.

4) Slow heatmaps

Another common issue with heatmaps is that they either load slowly on your websites or make your sites slow. You do not want to work with a heatmap that takes forever to load. This problem occurs primarily due to loading your website into your heatmap tool.

Freshmarketer follows a new approach called the “On-page heat map loading.” This is in contrast with other tools where the website has to be loaded inside the heatmap tool. Loading the heatmap on your page helps to see user activity on the dynamic elements or content accurately. It also gets rid of any technical issues that you might encounter, and it is easier this way.

5) Too many heat maps

You know that getting insights into every product in your e-commerce store can be invaluable.

But do you set up separate heatmaps for all the products in your store?

If you have, you would have known by now that your heat map tool can become all clunky and slow especially if you have a lot of pages.

With Freshmarketer, a single heatmap can work for different pages using the Match Types. Since most of your web pages will have similar URLs, you can make use of Regex (or regular expressions) in Freshmarketer, to target the related pages. You can also view consolidated heatmap reports for pages with similar layouts, and see how the common elements perform across the different pages. This reduces the need to create too many heat maps and makes your work way less complicated.

Now that you know what your regular heatmap tool is lacking, you can go ahead and create a powerful heatmap for your website by quickly signing up for Freshmarketer. If you are new and want to know more information on what a heat map is, why you need them and what else to look out for in a heatmap tool, head on to this page to know everything in detail.

If you are still not convinced, hey at least, our heatmaps look good on that powerpoint presentation you need to impress your boss with!

Just kidding  😉


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