Call Your Mom & Work Out From Home: 5 Ways The Coronavirus Impacted Browsing Behaviors Last Week

To provide understanding during this uncertain time, we are monitoring the impact of coronavirus on online consumer behaviors. See the latest data on our Covid-19 eCommerce Impact data hub.

We analyzed billions of visitor sessions this week to learn more about how consumers in France, the UK and the US are responding digitally to the unfolding health crisis. As people everywhere adjust to the new normal and prioritize the things that matter the most to them, this data surfaces fascinating insights on resilience and adaptation, and how even in uncertain times, some things never change.

Unless otherwise specified, we’ve compared data from the past week to figures from the period immediately preceding the global reporting of the outbreak (or, the first 6 weeks of the year which we call the reference period).

Wishing UK Moms a Happy Mother’s Day (From 6 Feet Away)

Consumers worldwide may be reserving the bulk of their digital time for carrying out essential quarantine activities such as grocery shopping and staying informed, but that doesn’t mean life doesn’t go on. With the PM urging UK families not to visit their moms last Sunday, many did not let the social distancing measures get in the way of celebrating Mother’s Day, which in the UK is on March 22nd.

In fact, the week leading up to Mother’s Day saw a tremendous increase in the number of transactions on UK jewelry and watch sites (+96%), compared to the reference week (first 6 weeks of 2020 = reference period). On beauty sites, transactions were up +67%, compared to the reference period.

impact of Coronavirus on transactions by industry

US Consumers Get Ready to Exercise at Home

For the 62.5 million people in the US who have a gym membership, the closing of fitness and recreation centers around the country has meant coming up with new ways to stay fit from home. After a -20% drop in visits the week beginning March 9, the online sports retail sector in the US bounced back this past week with a +23% increase in the number of visits and a +186% hike in transactions, compared to the week before.

 

Sports equipment retailers in the US saw a +186% increase in transactions, compared to the week before.

French Fashion Says “Shopping Can Wait”

With French consumers part of the one third of the world that is currently on lockdown, industries most closely associated with French style — fashion and luxury — have taken a hit as people stay confined to their homes. While fashion sites have lost traffic the world over (-27% the number of visits), French sites have been particularly hard hit, with -53% fewer visits compared to before the start of the crisis.

 

impact of Coronavirus on traffic by industry

And while transactions on these sites have dropped -25% globally, the decrease was much wider in France, where sites recorded a -60% decrease in transactions. Popular high street fashion store Pimkie has suspended its eShop until further notice, stating that “Shopping can wait.”

impact of Coronavirus on transactions by industry

Luxury told a similar story, with French traffic dropping -56% in the past week (compared to -32% globally), and consumers making -65% fewer transactions (compared to -35% globally). With Italy’s fashion and textile industry also on lockdown, a brand like Gucci, which has a warehouse in Tuscany, has had to temporarily suspend deliveries to Europe, while continuing to run normal online operations in the US.

UK Supermarkets Overwhelmed By Surge In Demand

Traffic to online grocery stores has exploded in the UK since the onset of the crisis, with supermarkets recording a +225% increase in visits (almost five times more the increase observed in the US). Transactions however are down -61%. In comparison, global supermarket transactions are up +39%.

It appears that stores in the UK have been struggling to keep up with demand and have been running out of delivery slots. Some chains, like Iceland, temporary suspended their online delivery service to anyone but the elderly and most vulnerable, although delivery appears to be back to normal as of 3/26. Others are prioritizing deliveries for those most at risk and leveraging data to reserve slots for those who need them most.

impact of Coronavirus on traffic by industry

Cans & Booze in France, Soap & Cleaning Supplies in the UK and US

A deep dive into most popular supermarket items revealed that consumers in France are shopping for the long term, with canned goods at the top of their most reached pages list. UK consumers are heading primarily to pages featuring hand soap, while consumers in the US are browsing en masse for cleaning products.

Pages featuring alcoholic beverages recorded a much higher reach rate in France than in any other country we analyzed, seeming to confirm the age old stereotype that wine is a staple of any French meal, even during a quarantine. Meanwhile, the chance of UK and US consumers reaching alcohol category pages was lower than average, suggesting perhaps that drinking is much more of a social affair in these countries.

 

For a free walkthrough of the latest data, sign up for our upcoming webinar on March 31st, 1pm. 

NEWS: 2020 Digital Experience Benchmark Finds Two Thirds of Web Content Goes Unseen by Customers

NEW YORK, NY 10 MARCH 2020 — Over two thirds (69%) of all web content published by brands still goes “unseen” by consumers. This is just one of the findings revealed in a new global study from Contentsquare, the leading provider of digital experience analytics. Of all the sectors analyzed, banking has the highest amount of unseen content (75%), closely followed by beauty websites, where 74% of content is rarely being accessed by visitors. The research reveals that home and technology brands are the most effective content marketers, with 40% of their content viewed by users.

The ‘2020 Digital Experience Benchmark’ incorporates global Contentsquare session data from some of the world’s biggest brands. The anonymized data set includes over 7 billion web sessions from over 400 websites around the world, providing unparalleled insight into previously misunderstood user behaviors.

Mobile continues to be the context for most new site visits. 55% of visitors get to a site using their mobile phone, with luxury topping the mobile traffic table (67%). The energy sector, which has been lagging in the smartphone traffic boom, recorded an 11% increase in mobile traffic since 2019, and travel saw a 5% increase. Mobile experience is now a critical battleground in every industry, regardless of its typical purchase size, frequency or cycle time.

Visitors require 3 sessions on average to convert, but with only 55% of users returning visitors, there is a tremendous opportunity for brands to harness great customer experiences to encourage return visits and maximize retention.

44% of visitors who reach the payment page on a site will not complete their transaction, and 56% of visitors who reach the shipping/billing page won’t convert, highlighting the critical importance of optimizing the checkout process.

Commenting on the findings, Aimee Stone Munsell, CMO at Contentsquare said, “The window of opportunity for brands who haven’t turned digital experience into a competitive advantage is rapidly shrinking. The good news is today, we’re able to locate with precision the stumbling blocks along the customer journey. Marketers and UX teams who have a granular understanding of customer behavior can uncover simple improvements that shrink the experience gap and multiply their conversions.”

“Being able to visualize customer journeys and uncover user behavior presents an opportunity to understand and optimize content placement and sequence to increase the ROI of what you produce. That’s why experience analytics is so valuable. Just as we’ve done with this study, brands can use experience analytics to uncover hidden behaviors and to create better digital experiences for maximum impact in the shortest space of time.”

Contentsquare’s full Digital Experience Benchmark is now available online. Contentsquare also analyzes trends in shopping behaviors in line with e-commerce trends and current affairs such as the Coronavirus.

Methodology

Research based on 12 months of Contentsquare data from 400 websites in 9 different verticals from 13 countries including US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, China and Canada. “Unseen” content metrics are calculated by comparing the total number of pages on a site with the pages viewed by 95% of traffic.

 

Digital Predictions: Recipes for Conversion Health in 2020

You’ve spent the last few weeks making merry with friends and family, and it’s likely you overindulged. Today, you don’t want to look at another cookie, and you’ve swapped the booze for green juice. You’ve resolved to fill the next decade with yoga and maybe even meditation.

But what are you going to do to improve your digital strategy in 2020? How are you going to go about building a healthier, nourishing, more blissful experience for your customers? 

Here is our roundup of 7 trends we think should guide your digital resolutions this year.

1. The experience wars heat up

The numbers have been out for a while: the gulf between businesses’ perception of their own customer satisfaction versus the consumer’s reality is widening. On the other hand, brands that are synonymous with excellent Customer Experience (CX) are reaping outsized benefits. According to a Forrester report, insight-driven companies are growing 7-10x faster than the average enterprise.

The key to a great CX lies with… your customers. The new standards of experience demand greater, smarter customer proximity — one that hinges on a true understanding of what your audience expects and how it wants to connect with you in 2020 and beyond. If you choose not to go all-in on creating an unexpectedly great experience this year, you do so at your own peril.

2. Leaders scramble for new metrics

Knowing how your brand stacks up to customer expectations — and how many different factors from price, to app ease of use, to customer support — contribute to the experience is still a challenge. This is the year many digital professionals will rebel and demand meaningful analytics that are easy-to-consume. Many brands are finding themselves constrained by old metrics, which can tell you how many people visited your site, and how many converted, but don’t offer many clues as to why they left without buying, or if a purchase was in fact the primary goal of their visit. 

When it comes to understanding customers, metrics such as content attractiveness and engagement, friction scores and even an objective measure of consumers’ Digital Happiness paints the story between the clicks. You’ll see more CX Index and e-NPS type metrics coming out from agencies, consulting firms and analytics players this year to help meet the demand.

Having access to a system of insights that can capture the nuances and fluctuations of customer behavior, and translate these into actions is how you turn customer intelligence into intelligent CX.

3. More brands flip the acquisition model

Digital teams understand that getting as many people as possible through the door is no longer a viable business strategy. It’s simply too expensive and it is not in fact, a customer-centric approach. Why invite someone in unless you can actually deliver value to them? More brands are shifting their focus to analyzing what happens once customers are on their site in order to better understand who they should be marketing to in the first place, and how.

Think about it — not everyone will want to convert on your site (maybe they’re here to check out in-store availability, use the store locator, etc), and those who do will have a specific customer agenda (they might want to see if a coupon works, to check out fast on their smartphone, etc). The key is to understand: 1) what are your high-value segments, 2) how they like to browse.

By analyzing and understanding the journeys and behavior of customers who are already on your site or app, you can surface intelligence about what they’re trying to do, and in turn, use this intelligence to target specific segments with highly relevant experiences. Don’t forget: the best remedy for churn is a relevant customer experience.

4. Smarter content

Which brings us to content (…don’t all roads lead to content?).

Businesses invest a ton of time and resources into creating content that communicates the brand’s offering and helps customers connect with their values. But how do you measure the impact of content decisions? How do you know what content to display for which audience? How do you maximize your creative investments and merchandising strategy?

Well, it goes back to those smarter metrics. Your customers are giving you real-time feedback on your content with every swipe, tap, scroll, click, etc — each element of your site is either a relevant step in the journey, a distraction, or worse, an obstacle. Customer journey insights are finally becoming operational at scale. And, advanced AI-driven analytics will help translate this customer feedback into actions your team can take to improve the experience and your bottom line. Don’t be left behind.

5. Personalization partners with privacy

Brands in 2020 are going to become better at combining their personalization efforts with their customers’ privacy concerns. Why? Because consumers today want more of both. High profile data breaches and an overload of personalized marketing that isn’t in fact that relevant have made consumers wary of oversharing in the digital world.

But is it really possible to personalize without personal info? We think it is. The beauty of behavioral data is that it delivers on both these demands: privacy and personalization.

Because one consumer does not equate one way to browse a website. And just because a brand knows your name, birthday, address and a few of your interests, doesn’t mean they know what drives you crazy when you’re trying to refill a standing cat food order on your mobile. By analyzing and aggregating the behavior of specific customer segments (based on their context and intent) digital teams can unlock a much deeper, truer type of personalization than that made possible by demographic data. 

And if you are going to collect data, the key is to use it well. Be transparent and clear about any request for personal information — customers are often willing to give information that is genuinely going to add value for them.

6. D2C is the new flagship store

Marketplaces don’t afford brands the same level of control over the end-to-end customer experience as direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing. By entrusting others to promote and sell their products or services, businesses are not only settling for lower margins; they’re essentially giving away crucial customer intelligence they could be using to elevate and personalize the brand experience. 

And when you’re competing on experience, as brands are today, owning the relationship with your customers so you can better meet their needs and expectations — and strengthen your community at the same time — is crucial.

This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, and it’s not only reserved for new, agile startup companies. Leading brands like GoPro have shifted their strategy, and are putting more emphasis on owning the end to end experience, and cultivating a meaningful, enduring relationships with their customers on their digital properties.

7. Inclusivity becomes core to your digital strategy

According to the CDC, one in 4 U.S. adults has a disability that impacts major life activities. So if your website and app are not accessible to everyone, that’s 61 million people (in America only) you’re not including in your CX decisions.

The good news is when you design for disability first, you often come up with solutions that are more advanced and smarter than if you hadn’t. Brands everywhere are putting innovation at the service of inclusivity, and are leveraging new technology to future-proof the CX, improve accessibility, and ensure customer-centricity is not just for some, but for everyone.

Final thoughts

We’re heading into a new decade of innovation, digital creativity and intelligent technology. Your best strategists in 2020 and beyond will be your own customers. The key will be to tune into their expectations and align your experience strategy with their goals. 

It’s time to get a new yoga mat, and a new solution to translate customer behavior into profitable CX actions. As you navigate your favorite sites to find the first, think of the dozens of micro-decisions you take as a consumer: click on this image over that one, filter by size, give up halfway through a scroll, login as guest, etc. 

We help brands make the journey to digital wellness more seamless and satisfying. The rest is up to you.

 

 

Hero Image via Shutterstock, by Boiarkina Marina

How a Good UX Plays a Role in Conversion Funnel Optimization

Conversions rarely occur on a whim; usually, there is a layered process behind ecommerce purchases. Known as the conversion funnel — or the sales funnel — this model shows the conduit between the least aware prospects to those who are most aware, interested and bent on conversions.  

Brands have to be both wary and strategic in the ways they set up conversions, and that is where the concept of the conversion funnel comes into utility. While no one can truly “set up” conversions, you can set the scene and command all the workings that bring visitors closer to converting by heeding the conversion funnel and optimizing it. 

As UX-perts, we like to blare the horns on the importance of UX, so it should come as no surprise that a good UX plays an important role in conversion rate optimization. Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your conversion rate by way of working in a good UX to the different stages of the conversion funnel.

What is the Conversion Funnel in Marketing?

The conversion funnel denotes a process in which brands work to turn potential customers into converting customers.

It is comprised of several stages, with each one indicating your customers’ level of brand awareness, interest, and willingness to buy — along with the gradual steps/ undertakings you can to take to lead users further down.

While the stages in each conversion funnel may differ from brand to brand, each shares the ultimate goal of “pushing” site users down to the very last step, which, evidently, represents conversions.

Through this structure, brands can group their potential customers into easy-to-understand categories, thereby dictating several efforts they can maneuver to encourage prospects further down the funnel.

There are various marketing tactics to drive customers down the conversion funnel; they can be deployed through more than one stage. Let’s dig deeper.

Via sabelskaya / Adobe Stock


Good UX in Conversion Funnel Optimization

Now that you know what a conversion funnel is, the next thing to cover is how to apply good UX practices that relate to each stage in the conversion funnel. The following spells out the ways brands can enhance their UX per each stage of the conversion funnel to optimize it and garner greater conversions.

Stage 1: Awareness

Sitting atop the conversion funnel as the entry point, the awareness stage is the stage with the least… awareness of your brand or offering. It’s also the stage with mounting awareness, as potential clients become cognizant of your business and click onto your website, the act which carries with it the possibility to spawn possible interest. 

But that requires capturing new customers. Think of Stage 1 as a person attempting to swoop butterflies into a net. They’d have to reach out to catch them with careful movements to assure they don’t miss out on snatching their butterflies, or in marketing, their business opportunities.

The same should go for your Stage 1 marketing endeavors. You need to be careful and methodical so you can securely create a heightened awareness of what your brand does. 

Educating potential customers to your brand involves using common practices such as:

You have to keep your target audience in mind and create your campaigns accordingly. But once you’ve brought new people onto your site, the UX must be optimized, or at least suitable to pique interest within visitors (lead them to step 2), or — even better — make them convert on the spot.

There is a slew of general ways to improve upon the user experience. But in regards to stage 1, users usually arrive at your site via a landing page. 

The UX has to be top tier on this page. Keep the copy and imagery relevant to the conversion goal, while making it clear what your brand does. The latter is more important since you’re introducing new prospects to your company. The copy and other contents on landing pages should be to the point, so steer clear of wasting users’ time. In short, don’t overload it.

Most importantly, construct the landing page so that it is relevant to the message that led visitors to click on it in the first place. 

Stage 2: Interest

Next, we reach the stage of interest. Now that prospective customers know your company exists, they have to frequent your website; simply knowing about your offering does not ensure they’ll return to your site or engage with your site or social media content.

Content is key in this step, as it can foster and maintain interest within your prospects. There’s a twofold approach for optimizing the conversion funnel: the first is the nature of the content and the second concerns the UX, or the feelings and attitudes users develop over their experience. 

The first element deals with the core of the content — the content type, its subject matter, how it can help with your prospects’ problems, its visual identity, etc. You would need to establish a blog with relevant posts to your industry or niche. 

Other useful content for stimulating user interest are:

You would have to make sure these align with the needs/interests of your vertical as well as making your content stand out and offer something different. Videos and other content, for example, should not focus on the product alone, but offer something of value — whether that’s inspirational content, news related to your niche or something else. 

As for the attitudes toward the content, i.e. the UX, consider the amount of content on your page; is it slowing down your site? If so, reduce it so that you never have issues with loading speeds. 

Make sure everything can be easily seen and accessed. This will encourage further browsing. For example, if you have an in-page element that requires scrolling, the width of it, at the very least, needs to be wide enough so all the content can be easily read. 

You should limit scrollable in-page content to one type of scrolling function (either by length or width, never both.) This is generally length, as this is easier to look through. Use carousels, in-page recommendations and links to other pages to incite browsing.

In fact, when it comes to the UX in general, be sure to keep it continually optimized so that all content elements are easy to understand and seamless. The best way to gauge customer understanding and frustration is of course to measure interactions with each element.

Via Artram / Adobe Stock

Stage 3: Desire

Once you’ve developed some level of interest, you need to propel prospects towards the lower half of the conversion funnel, which starts with desire. Representing a heightened interest, desire attracts users to your actual offering aside from your content alone. 

At this stage, you should make your product or service, as the stage suggests, desirable. It’s also where you have to distinguish your offering from that of your competitors, specifically, by positioning your company as the better option. 

This can be done by:

The users with the highest level of interest will sign up for a newsletter or other form of email communication. This is vital, as it enables you to see exactly who your most interested prospects are and market to them directly. 

For the Desire stage, your best bet is to arrange a drip campaign, or an automated email campaign, which can be set off by different triggers and sent at strategic periods. For example, when someone signs up or makes a purchase, you can then sent prewritten emails during key periods, such as sales, new blog posts, company news, etc.

Also, although they’re prewritten content, assure that emails are personalized with the prospects’ names or their company names. Emails that appear roboticized yield a poor UX.

As you may have gathered, content is as weighty a component at this stage as in others. You need to eliminate any traces of a poor UX, such as an image that appears clickable, but doesn’t actually take users to a landing page, enlarging the image instead, a common UX problem. Nothing spoils a customer journey like obstacles in the digital experience — another reason to measure user behavior.

Stage 4: Action

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve reached the final stage: action. This is the most targeted stage of the conversion funnel for obvious reasons. After pumping out UX-optimized content and building a relationship with potential customers, only a small portion of them will make it to this stage. 

Most will hang in the balance of desire and action, toggling between the two until they make the decision to either buy or bounce. This is where your UX can make or break you.

First, you need to ensure that the navigation of your product pages are neatly organized so that products are easy to find. Don’t succumb to the UX sin of overstuffing your navigation. Finding your product/service should be a seamless experience.

As for the product pages, each must have selection tools that make it easier for customers to filter out products by way of their particular needs. (Think of common product organization types like size, color, price, etc.)

Additionally, all aspects of this experience must promote purchases, from the ability to zoom in, to quick load times of the actual product pages (when clicked on from a multi-product page), to the product image quality.

Any element can be off-putting at this stage, including non-design bits like pricing, so make sure your UX is superb and built around actual customer intelligence.

VIa Mymemo / Adobe Stock


UX Insights Throughout the Conversion Funnel

Measuring the success of your marketing efforts does not end while you embark on optimizing the conversion funnel. In fact, you should not approach the conversion funnel as a standalone marketing tactic to reel in more conversions. 

This is because not all user experience exists in such a linear way. As such, it may ring true for some users but not all. Particularly, the customer decision journey can be seen as a contrast to the funnel. This can be observed by viewing user paths and segmenting your users to narrow behavior-based categories. 

By tackling a specific segment, you can customize the UX to that segment, to assure an optimized journey that reduces exists and bounces. For example, pure player brands understand that their content will not be consumed by a general audience. Only specific segments will visit their sites and social channels. As such, they create content that aligns with the interests of their segmented users.

 

Hero Image: Visual Generation / Adobe Stock

Why Digital Experience Analytics Matters

Analytics have made a splash in the realm of marketing, to say the least. The need for data is more apparent than ever, as more brands are marketing themselves under the coveted category of “data-driven.” In reality, they are not becoming data-driven fast enough, if at all. 

We can vouch for the fact that data trumps intuition, but aside from arming yourself with industry data that relates to your vertical for market research, it’s also vital to compile site data on your own site visitors. That’s where digital experience analytics solution enters the picture, and it does so in a substantial way. 

Most web analytics platforms show how a websites is accessed, along with some of the activity that occurs on it. Granular digital experience analytics takes this further, in a concerted effort to measure digital customer experience (CX). As such, it offers acute data sets, visualizations and metrics that evaluate and quantify how visitors interact with the individual elements of your website. But not all user experience analytics solutions provide the same granularity of data.  

Most analytics platforms do not take user insights a step further, so they do not give you a more granular performance review of your site or app, meaning that you wouldn’t be able to comprehend how each in-page element is used and how it contributes to a broad set of KPIs. 

In short, user experience analytics is a functionality designed to give you insights into visitors’ user experience. It’s incredibly important for both marketers, web developers and designers alike, as it dictates their strategy and implementations. But not all DX platforms offer the same capabilities.

So why exactly does digital experience analytics matter? Let’s find out.

Understanding Your Customers

If you don’t understand your customers, your website will show, leading to reduced activity, heightened bounces and poor conversion rates. Digital experience analytics allows you to segment your audience based on their behavior, and unlock a much deeper understanding of their needs and expectations.

From what visitors are trying to achieve and how they want to go about achieving it, to what causes frustration along their customer journey, analytics gives brands a nuanced read of these occurrences. Pure play brands are masters at leveraging this type of customer intelligence as they hyper-target their offerings to specific segments. With this approach, they are not attempting to be all things to all users, but are tapping into the minds of their most profitable segments, implementing high levels of customization.  

Behavioral analytics can highlight visitors’ distinctive behaviors on your website, such as where they are most engaged, where they click and how often, the frequency of their hovers on a particular part of a page, the time they spend per page or element and much more.

We recently helped, travel leader Pierre & Vacances identify customer preferences for targeted optimizations. After analyzing customer behavior on its holiday property search results page, the brand found that site visitors were interacting heavily with the “number of rooms” filter (it had a high click rate and a hearty dose of conversions).

However, this filter was lost among a wealth of other filtering options. Based on this intelligence, the brand placed the filter in the second position on the filter bar, making it easier for users to find it. 

The moral of their story is that once you’ve figured out through  DX analysis what your users’ precise intentions are, you can then go about improving your digital experience to allow them to seamlessly complete their intended tasks without incurring any frustration. 

Additionally, it’s interesting to learn about online behaviors of visitors in different regions of the world. As per our Global UX Map, a comprehensive report on the user behavior of visitors in 7 countries, we’ve found just that.

For example, we learned that visitors China are happy to engage with visuals, with a slideshow click rate of 5.5, so adding product images on your China site makes for a great UX. On the contrary, using a lot of visuals like slideshows is less well-received by visitors in the US and Italy, which have the respective click rates of 1.3 and 2.5 on the slideshow, the lowest of all the surveyed countries. 

In both of these cases, DX analytics has the prowess to empower digital teams with localizing knowledge that can assure a positive UX for global users. 

Creating Data-Driven CX Decisions 

Digital experience analytics matter where website design is concerned, as it dictates what the experience will look like for visitors. If it doesn’t, chances are, your analytics platform isn’t very robust and offers little else aside from a traditional traffic analysis. 

A granular user experience analytics space empowers its users to make data-driven CX (customer experience) decisions, and if you couldn’t tell from this blog, CX is not something to ignore. It is critical for the sake of both acquisition and retention, especially the latter, which is important for maintaining a steady revenue stream.

With data providing multiple reference points to optimize your content, you can do so innovatively and confidently. An optimized CX will make it so that you can streamline your customer journeys and remove frustrations, the latter of which impedes conversions. It can also help you detect if there are any errors in the elements that yield conversions themselves, such as CTAs, form fields and buttons that signal making a purchase.

But it doesn’t end with conversion-bound elements. A deep experience analysis can identify a host of other faulty site elements which stir your site visitors into leaving. That’s where a data-driven analysis comes into play, finding pesky problems in the design and structure of your website that can have grim consequences on your CX.

A data-backed CX optimization plan acts as a security net for brands seeking to try new things on their sites. Perhaps there’s a trendy feature you want to try out or a new setup of a crucial site element. Delving into new implementations is a rocky road, but with data on your side, you’ll be informed as to what works and what doesn’t.

Furthermore, making data-driven decisions allows all team members to own business goals, measure the contribution of their revenue and quantify the ROI of the experience.

Making Headway in Conversions

After you’ve done your CX homework, testing what strategies work and keeping close tabs on how your website is used, you check to see the impact. Which ROI is more important than conversions? Most marketers would agree that conversions are of the utmost importance for a business if not one of the most important.

Aside from boosting conversions, digital experience analytics assists in all the steps leading up to conversions, as it visualizes user flows with customer journey mapping. Understanding how users navigate your site is the first marker of what needs to be improved, along with indicating what works and what drives interest among visitors.

As such, granular analytics provides the relevant data and metrics for CRO (conversion rate optimization). Optimizing conversions always starts with measuring the experience on your site and/or app. As for preserving retention, a chief business goal, digital experience insights will assure you know what works and what doesn’t — essentially giving you more knowledge into how to retain conversions by keeping hold of the same site visitors.

Getting The Most Out Of Digital Experience Insights 

Digital experience analytics carry weight with the entirety of your user experience, as it can quantify a host of user data: their interactions, hesitations, frustrations, etc. on your website. Because of this, it should be a top-priority implementation into your marketing plans. However, not all user experience platforms have the same built-in capabilities — particularly the actionable, full-picture data of all the goings-on of your website. 

For example, not all of such platforms analyze individual site elements and how they fare in traditional metrics, let alone more robust ones. So you should be selective when choosing your experience analytics software. Don’t forget: you ought to aim for retention over acquisition, as once your users visit your site and enjoy what they experience, the likelihood of them returning shoots up.

 

How to Use Customer Journey Analytics to Eliminate Friction for Users

Friction is the number one impediment to a seamless customer journey — a must-have for any brand speaking to today’s hyper-connected and increasingly demanding consumer. Friction can occur anywhere along the customer journey, and even in the most optimized of user experiences, visitors will sometimes run into something that impairs their journey. At worst, these points of friction can lead visitors to completely abandon your website. If the experience leaves a bad taste, this could be the last time you see them on your site.

In order to rid your website, app or mobile site of friction points, you must first identify them, what’s causing them and where they’re most likely to hurt the experience. Only after you’ve determined this information can you undo the obstacles and up your users’ digital happiness. Customer journey analytics serves as the essential tool to understand how your visitors are navigating your site, revealing where friction points exist for your users.

What is Friction in UX?

Friction in user experience (UX) is defined as the instance or instances in which a visitor experiences difficulty with your website. The chief concept behind friction is the blockage of users from smoothly and painlessly completing an action. As such, points of friction are one of the main challenges in UX, as they preempt a seamless, intuitive journey. Sometimes they prevent a user from taking an action entirely. Friction can be described in general terms, or general problems within your site, while points of friction point to specific burdensome spots. It’s almost as if you’re doing a spot treat cleanse on your UX.

Friction: A Wide-Reaching Hindrance Customer Journey Analytics Can Tackle

Examples:

Customer journey analytics can be used to detect these hurdles so you can make targeted, data-backed optimizations. Even some of the broader concepts behind friction points — such as hesitation — can be measured with customer journey analytics.

Where Friction Points Live on Your Website

Customer journeys will vary from user to user, but there are certain universal UX features that can fall prey to malfunction. Some of these are not readily apparent and will require trial and error, with your users running into points of friction when using these elements. It’s good to know where these points typically occur, so that you can zero in on them when perusing through the customer journey analytics. Here are a few places in which friction points can live on your website that you may have not known about.

How to Use Customer Journey Analytics to Discover Friction Points

It’s easy to conjecture that you should look at the user flow, aka the site path, to detect friction. After all, this shows you which pages your customers had visited and where they’re exiting. But as far as friction is concerned, a birds-eye view, which is essentially what you get when viewing the user flow, is too general.

However, it’s still an important first step. After you’ve viewed a visitor’s user flow, you should move onto a deeper read of how the user was interacting with your site within their journey, which brings us to the engagement rate.

As its name suggests, it shows you how well a page element is being engaged with, or — the percentage of visitors who clicked on an element after hovering it. Among other things, it relays how intuitive an in-page element is, i.e. its capacity to drive interaction.

This metric can detect the friction associated with a clickable element that appears unclickable. For example, if a CTA, i.e., a clickable element, has a low engagement rate, it isn’t doing its job. Conversely, if a non-clickable element has a high engagement rate, it too is a point of friction, as it shouldn’t generate any clicks, a waste of time for users that ultimately leads them to frustration.

Another metric that will shed light on the experience the hesitation time, which, as its name points out, reveals the friction point of hesitation. It shows if your content is easily understood, as it measures the average elapsed time between the last hover and the first click on an element. A hefty hesitation time shows that visitors hesitate before they click on what they need, a source of great annoyance, especially if they are short on time.

Then, you should look to the click recurrence, which, like the engagement rate, can point to issues with identifying clickable and non-clickable elements. This metric unveils the average number of times an element was clicked when engaged with during a page view and can discern frustration, another common conversion deterrent. A high or low click recurrence can be either good or bad, depending on the context. For example, a carousel with a high click rate shows no point of friction, but good engagement, while a banner with a high click rate is negative in that it demonstrates users expect to land somewhere after clicking on it, but stay on the same page. Also, high click recurrence in form fields is bad news, showing that users are trying to fill in a field that is not allowing them to, thus causing friction.

As a healthy conversion rate is established when users have a positive UX, a poor one usually paints a picture of friction points. There are several metrics that relate to the conversion rate, or take it into account. For example, conversion rate per hover is a metric that helps you decide if hovering over an area impacts a visitor’s behavior and conversion goal.

It is the number of users who achieved a behavior & hovered over a zone divided by the number of users who hovered the zone. Hovering over an area may not always lead to conversions and this shows you whether the hover was positive or a point of friction.

Take the product details. Does hovering over them lead to a high conversion rate? If not, perhaps there’s friction with understanding the copy, or the imagery of the product is not sufficient for the users to make a purchase or if they’re on a category page, to visit the product page.

Keeping Points of Friction at Bay

Customer journey analytics are a practical way to inspect friction points for your site visitors.  Every step in the user journey, from landing, to signing up, to searching, has the ability to either create or remove friction. This friction can wreak havoc on your marketing efforts, firstly where acquisition is concerned. If you’ve successfully drawn visitors to your website, the last thing you want is for them to have a poor UX, which leads to exits, bounces and possibly, permanent abandonment.

That’s why a seamless, friction-free UX is standard in the current omnichannel environment users visit and brands rely on. The metrics in this post give you a snapshot of how customer journey analytics can be used to find friction. But there are far more metrics and capabilities (think AI Alerts) that can be used to identify friction points. The more measuring tools you have to pin down these points of friction, the more adept you will be at keeping them at bay.

Are Mother’s Day Campaigns Worth It? What 53 Million Sessions Reveal About Digital Gifting For Moms

Mother’s Day is right around the corner (May 12th, 2019) and many brands are making the most of the gift-giving occasion, giving special campaigns pride of place on their homepage and across their website.

But how do Mother’s Day campaigns impact conversions? Are visitors clicking on these special promotions? In short, is producing all this Mother’s Day-related content really worth it?

We analyzed 53 million visitor sessions on fashion, luxury, beauty, technology and jewelry sites to see how digital consumers browse for gifts during the Mother’s Day shopping season.

We paid particular consideration to elements like homepage carousels and category pages to paint a clear picture of how Mother’s Day campaigns contribute to traffic, conversions and other KPIs.

Mother’s Day Campaigns Defined

What exactly constitutes a Mother’s Day campaign? We’re glad you asked. For the purpose of our research, it is defined as a specific site element (think slideshows, sliders, etc.) or landing pages that highlight Mother’s Day and lead visitors to a product list page with specialized gifts for the holiday.

Here are 4 findings we’ve culled from our arsenal of original data in the retail space during the Mother’s Day shopping season.

An example of a Mother’s Day campaign from Avon, wherein clicking on the slideshow leads visitors to a product list page.

Websites with Mother’s Day Campaigns Convert Better

Conversions. The raison dêtre of any brand, digital or otherwise. Our data shows that brands that implement Mother’s Day campaigns yield higher conversion rates and generate more revenue than brands that don’t.

In the lead-up to the special day, brands advertising Mother’s Day gifts saw a 211% boost to conversions. This increase in sales also hiked up the revenue for these brands by 22%. Meanwhile, the average visitor shopping cart was 1.28% higher for those browsing sites that made a special effort for Mother’s Day.

So far, so good. So how do you get visitors to consume and act on all this specially-created content?

Mother’s Day Campaign Carousel: Higher Click Rates, Lower Conversions Per Click

We looked at how visitors were interacting with homepage carousels to see whether giving this prime website real estate a Mother’s Day makeover was a winning strategy for brands. With a 3.02% click rate, Mother’s Day banner images drive higher interaction than other carousel images at a 1.94% click rate — that’s 54.87% more clicks for Mother’s Day content.

While Mother’s Day carousel images may reel in interest and curiosity among site visitors, they do not always drive more sales. With a 10.4% conversion rate per click, non-Mother’s Day banner images have a bigger impact on conversions than Mother’s Day banners, which carry an 8.3% conversion rate per click.

So with visitors clicking on Mother’s Day carousels, but not necessarily converting, what kind of data do you need to look at next?

Mother’s Day Product Category Pages Get Less Traffic But Driver Higher Carts

Next, we peered at the pages where conversions occur: product list pages. A comparison of Mother’s Day product list pages with regular category pages reveals that consumers are more likely to reach the latter. Regular product list pages get 7 times the traffic of Mother’s Day product list pages on desktop and 10 times the traffic on mobile.

But while Mother’s Day list pages may get fewer views, visitors who browse these pages have deeper pockets than regular shoppers, resulting in higher than average carts for these pages.  Average carts for shoppers who reached the Mother’s Day category page on desktop were 84.28% higher than those who didn’t, while average carts on mobile increased by 63.82%.

Additionally, higher carts have reached higher conversions — on mobile at least. Mobile visitors who reach the Mother’s Day product list pages are 4.2% more likely to convert than those who reach the regular category pages. However, desktop conversions on other list pages beat out Mother’s Day list page conversions by over 20%.

Gift recommendations and products in packages generally make for a good strategy to increase average cart increases for Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Campaigns Have Higher Page Attractiveness

Overall, visitors displayed higher engagement with Mother’s Day content than with non-holiday content, and were more likely to click, hover and scroll on these pages. The scroll rate alone was 6% higher on mobile and 4% higher on desktop.

In fact, the overall activity rate for Mother’s Day category pages was 12% higher than on regular category pages, showing that inspirational content does have the ability to captivate visitors’ attention.

The only KPI these pages did not outperform their non-holiday counterparts on was the average time spent on page on desktop, with visitors spending 6% less time on them. Mobile visitors, however, were willing to spend 9% more time browsing gifts for their mothers than other items.

Pro Tip: Make The Most of Higher-Than-Average Carts With Gift Sets

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s leading retail association, which hosted its Big Show in 2019 that Contentsquare took part in, US customers are predicted to spend $25 billion on Mother’s Day in 2019. In short, Mother’s Day campaigns are not to be missed.

Per our research, brands featuring dedicated Mother’s Day campaigns fared better than those without them in several regards: increasing conversions, driving more revenue and recording higher-than-average carts. Revenue alone was 1.95% higher in April for sites with Mother’s Day promotions, presenting a retail opportunity to uplift conversions through new campaigns.

An increase in scroll and activity rates shows that consumers are willing to engage with Mother’s Day campaigns, and brands should see the holiday as an opportunity to highlight unknown products and push inspirational content.

Mother’s Day shoppers have twice the average cart of those browsing regular category pages and are clearly willing to spend money on their moms. This audience will gladly splurge on a gift set so make sure you have those options available.

Analyzing Visitor Behavior For Conversion Rate Optimization

There’s More to Conversion Rate Optimization

You’re probably aware of the weight that analytics carry in your overall marketing executions. While quantitative analytics solutions give you a good indication of what is happening on your website (conversions, bounces, etc), they don’t present a granular understanding of your customers’ user experience. And when it comes to conversion rate optimization (CRO), the more you know, the better.

Behavioral analytics put forth a deep reading of how visitors interact with individual elements on your web, mobile site and app. By tracking advanced KPIs, behavior-based solutions allow you to discover high points of friction and hesitation, which traditional programs analytics do not offer. They also reveal the areas of your site that contribute to engagement and conversion goals.

Let’s take a gander at the more latent analytics waiting to be used at your disposal for CRO.

Behavioral Analysis to Improve Conversion Rates

In the context of website and mobile analytics, behaviors and their derivative behavioral analysis can be narrowed down to a few quick, yet vital actions that users take on your website.

So what are behaviors in the context of site analytics? A behavior is a navigational action made by a user that gets recorded by a tag. Such an action can be culled and accessed as part of a UX optimization strategy to improve a website’s conversion rate. Behaviors can include page views, clicks and hovers (to name a few) with each event painting a nuanced picture of how your site is used.

Since 90% of behaviors occur between clicks, a true observation into behavior would require looking at the behaviors beyond clicks alone. These include the behaviors not limited to a single action, such as frustration, hesitation and engagement.

Being able to understand the customer story behind behaviors is key to rolling out the improvements that will have a positive impact on engagement and conversion rate optimization. Clicks, for example, can signify both interest AND frustration — what matters is figuring out which it is.

Behavioral Analysis Starts with Customer Journeys

The first step of a behavioral analysis is to identify where on your site lie the biggest issues and opportunities. This comes from surveying the customer journey. This journey grants a step by step view into how visitors traverse across your website, mobile sites and apps. You can see all the pages users have visited to put together the story behind their digital journey: where they leave and what has led them to conversion. These paths make up the user flow, a crucial aspect of UX that gives you a clear vantage point to the visitor’s intent, which is much-needed to landing conversions.

For example, a site visitor may be on your site for a number of reasons: to window-shop, check out their local store’s opening hours, add a promotional code to a cart to see the price difference, etc.

Customer journeys are visualizations that shine a light on user intent — vital information when you’re trying to develop a customer-centric digital experience. Understanding customer intent will help you optimize your content and know how to best guide visitors down the conversion funnel. It’s also the cornerstone of a satisfying experience, which itself is a guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. If visitors do not convert on their first go, a good UX will spur them to in future visits.

For example, a number of airlines have earned a negative reputation due to their substandard customer experience. But their low prices have gained them the ability to capture a solid customer base. Airlines that offer low prices coupled with good customer experiences (including digital) will undoubtedly give these shoddy airlines a run for their money due to their competitive edge.

Customer journeys present you with a detailed view of where your visitors drop by on your platform, a function that allows you to see where they enter, where they head to next and all the pages in between exits and conversions. Viewing them will help you understand how your site is being used and how to optimize these journeys to ramp up the conversion rate.

For example, if the bounce rate for a landing page is at 60%, a behavioral analysis will provide insight into why visitors are bouncing. This is because it shows you what users do on a page before they bounce, which you ought to look at to make the proper optimizations.

Other issues affecting conversions can manifest as repeated attempts on a payment or login page. This suggests a struggle and thereby, frustration within users. Identifying this is a must in order to improve the conversion rate.

Zone-Based Heatmaps for Better Readings

Now that you’ve identified your most critical opportunities and issues, the next step is to answer why they are happening and how you can improve. That’s where we dovetail customer journey analysis with zone-based heatmaps, as they perfect the heat map with a more granular measure of digital behavior. Traditional heat maps appear as a big blob of colors on a page, showing the areas with the most engagement. They don’t however, give you insight into the performance of each page element.

That’s where zone-based heat maps come to the rescue. Like regular heat maps, zone-based maps are highly visual aides that display the most and least popular places on a site page in different colors. However, they have the added capacity of gauging each site element, so you can understand how visitors interact with each one, and what role they play in the overall customer experience.

To do this, zone-based heat maps are numbers-based, so along with the colors, they display attribution and performance metrics, such as click attribution, time spent on each element, conversion rates, revenue per click, etc.

Having this information on hand can help teams pinpoint precise areas of hesitation and engagement, allowing them to carry out targeted, data-backed optimizations. For example, rethinking the location of an image that visitors find attractive but is hidden beneath the fold can have a positive impact on revenue.

What’s more is that today, teams don’t even need to tag elements manually, thanks to the technology that scans all your site elements with precision, identifying CTAs, photos, text, carousels and other content in the process. This kind of smart technology is far ahead of the kind you’d get with a traditional analytics solution.

Reining in Confusion & Interest by Observing Hesitations

Behavioral analytics has the capacity to determine not just where people visit, but to also reveal what feelings individual elements of content trigger within visitors.

One of the things it can reveal is if and where users are hesitating on your website. You can leverage hesitation time, a metric that relays the average time elapsed from the last hover to the first click on a zone, which shows you whether your content is easily understood, or if it causes users to hesitate. Understanding this gives you a data-backed picture of the content that stalls visitors — crucial knowledge when deciding on where to optimize the UX for better conversions.

Scroll Behavior to Identify Exposure

Scroll behavior is crucial to evaluate in order to optimize conversion rates. A user’s scroll behavior depicts which part of a page garners engagement. When analyzing scrolling behavior, you can surmise that users are scrolling when they read something or are in search of a particular piece of information. In either case, there exists some level of interest in your content.

This behavior allows marketers, along with web designers to comprehend exactly how to tinker with page length, or the length of an in-page element that has a scrolling function. In short, scrolling behavior provides context into the impact of longer content. This is especially important for conversion rate optimization, as many scrollable elements lead to CTAs.

Scrolling behavior can be analyzed by way of exposure time, which you can use to see the elements users are scrolling past, to see if they are missing or ignoring a particular element. Or you can also refer to exposure rate, which reveals how far down users are scrolling on a page on average.

This can help you uncover real gems under the fold — areas of the page where visitors who scrolled far enough stopped to linger and engage with the zone. This insight, combined with the hover to conversion rate, can highlight highpoints of visitor engagement that would benefit from more visibility.

Measuring User Engagement with A Designated Metric

Conversion rate optimization can be bolstered by creating engaging content, but no matter how well you think your content is faring, it has to be measured for its efficacy. Traditional analytics fall short here because it cannot distinguish whether an abundance of clicks conveys positive engagement or frustration. Fortunately, there is a formulaic way to measure user engagement.

With the engagement rate metric, you can determine how intuitive your site elements are, i.e., how well users are able to understand how they work and what they do. The metric is calculated by dividing the number of page views who click on a zone by the number of page views with a hover on the zone. This represents the percentage of visitors who clicked on a zone or element after hovering over it.

Clickable elements, especially those that lead to conversions, should have high engagement rates, as this metric essentially shows if a zone has good affordance in light of clickability. So you should make all the aspects of the zone underscore that it’s clickable. This metric will show you if you need to make any changes to such site elements.

The engagement rate of an element can also be used to guide you where on a page to place an element. For example, elements with high exposure and a low engagement rate show that while visitors see these elements and are hovering over them, they don’t click.

Such a scenario reveals either confusion or a lack of interest in users. Thus, this insight points to the need to clarify these elements, i.e., they should clearly show why users should click on them and what they’ll see when they click.

Performance Targeting by Way of Benchmarking

Performance targeting comes from a kind of competitive analysis, one that brings you a  side-by-side comparison of content element performance and the like. Performance targeting provides data and insights on how your website is performing against industry averages, essentially showing you the behavioral standards sector by sector.

Additionally, it scraps the need to scout out analytical sources of industry averages, which are not readily available to the public. Performance targeting puts various benchmarks on display for comparison (such as engagement, conversion and revenue). Additionally, it provides insights into content element performance — average locations and sizes for common site elements like the search bar, menu and homepage hero banner.  

Lastly, it shows the typical behavioral standards on websites in a particular industry. This allows you to determine exactly what type of content to target and how to modify for better engagement and CRO.

Summing Up Unique Behavioral Analysis for CRO

Collating analytics should — and usually does — involve examining the most relevant metrics for conversion rate optimization. These bits of data will help you configure the best practices for the UX, as well as weed out the harmful elements of your website. But common behavioral analyses and their corresponding metrics like bounce rate and conversions are not enough, certainly not for conversion rate optimization. To tap into the minds of your site users and potential customers, you need to employ a unique behavioral analytics solution, which provides additional data-based perspectives and a slew of insight that will prove invaluable for conversion rates.

We’re Getting Ready for Adobe Summit 2019, Where Experience Meets Expertise

We’re heading back to Adobe Summit for a second consecutive year, and we’ve got something extra special up our sleeves for this year’s digital experience conference.

We’ve designed an interactive booth experience that will have attendees sleuthing for clues on our wall of UX insights and cracking the code to our secret Show Me The Money Room.

We’ll also be taking the stage with some of the foremost brands in fashion and luxury, who will be sharing their tips on enhancing the digital experience to keep customers digitally happy.

A three-day extravaganza centered on experience building and the convergence of data with design, Adobe Summit is an unmissable event in the digital marketing calendar.

Set to take place on March 26-28th, in Vegas, the three-day conference will also feature our very own Chief Strategy and Partnership Officer Jean-Marc Bellaiche, who will be in conversation with some of our partner brands, including fashion giant Ralph Lauren.

Contentsquare to Double Down on Digital Experience and High Conversions

Our March 26 session on “Breaking Down Data Silos For Better Digital ROI” will look at the benefits of fostering a data culture, and empowering digital teams with unique visitor engagement metrics.

The session will touch upon smart analytics and customer-centric attribution: how they can be used to elevate the digital customer experience and propel higher conversions.

Jean-Marc will be joined on stage by heavy hitters of the fashion, luxury and retail industries, who also happen to be our partners: Ralph Lauren, Sam Edelman and MatchesFashion.

We’ll also discuss how these top brands utilized our predictive insights and unique metrics to boost their own customer engagement across touchpoints. Session attendees will be able to learn how digital teams were able to expedite reactivity, become more agile and build an impactful optimization strategy.

Essentially, we’ll be covering how these top brands shifted their culture from that of instinct to one of insight, which has, in turn, increased their digital ROI.

Surviving the Digital Jungle — Highlights from the 2018 Adobe Summit

Given that this year will see our second session and booth at the Adobe Summit, we have a lot to measure up to. During the 2018 Summit, we partnered with luxury jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. and financial services giant Goldman Sachs.

But we haven’t merely headed to these types of conferences to take part in a talk. Being that we are experience-oriented where digital is concerned, we also bring our experience-centric vantage to events.

For last year’s booth, we built an entire digital jungle and invited attendees to find their way out of an ominous digital landscape using only flashlights. In our session, we discussed how to survive the dominance of eCommerce giants like Amazon and thrive in the era of digital transformation.

We’re UX-perts both in the digital and physical realms.

 

Come See Us at the 2019 Adobe Summit

This year, instead of challenging attendees to escape the digital jungle, we’ll be encouraging them to crack the code to unlock the door to our secret Show Me The Money room.

We don’t play games when it comes to digital experience, but we do when it comes to conference booths. And even though we like to say that data beats opinion, this year we’ll have booth visitors guessing for prizes.

If you’re curious, stop by booth #223 from March 26th-28th, and our team will be happy to answer any and all of your digital experience questions. See you there!

Busting 5 UX Myths

You’re embarking on your UX journey. Not the one you experience as a visitor on other brands’ websites, or even when browsing your own, but the undertaking of building/ redesigning your own website. How do you go about creating the optimal UX?

The most potent way to redesign your website is to scope out its user behaviors and build your strategy around them. Or, if you’re at the very beginning of setting up your website and don’t have any past user behaviors to analyze, you may pull from popular UX procedures. But there may be scant to no data supporting these decisions.

What’s worse is that in either case, you may find yourself cocooned in a cloud of myths surrounding UX. We at Contentsquare believe UX decisions should be backed up by data to ensure they provide a solid performance for site visitors. That’s why we’re debunking 5 UX myths.

UX Myth 1: The Homepage is obsolete

While “obsolete” may seem like a stretch, the myth that the homepage is one of the least important pages on your website rages on. After all, with so many ways to enter a website, (social, paid social, ads) the homepage gives off an auxiliary air. But in reality, the homepage carries a wealth of importance.

Besides condensing what your brand offers in one page, the homepage provides excellent opportunities for conversions.

Our analysis of 528 million user sessions across 137 e-commerce sites in late 2018 found that 38.58% of desktop fashion shoppers entered a site through the homepage, compared to 27.68% through a category page and 18.64% through a product page. We observed similar trends in the beauty and luxury industries.

Only in the travel sector did more desktop visitors land on a product page (27.20%) than on the homepage (26.61%). Mobile beauty and luxury shoppers, however, were slightly more inclined to land on a category page.

We’ve also found that homepage entrances are generally good news for conversions — at least in three of the sectors we analyzed. Desktop shoppers browsing for travel, fashion and beauty were more likely to convert when entering a site through its digital front door. Consumers shopping for travel on their mobile devices were more likely to convert when landing on a product page, however — a trend also observed for luxury shoppers on all devices.

While all roads can lead to conversion, these numbers clearly point out that the homepage still has a critical role to play in a brand’s digital success.

UX Myth 2: Speed Trumps Personalization

Speed is certainly a decisive factor in the UX of a website. After all, longer site load times result in site abandonment. According to digital marketing guru Neil Patel, 40% of internet users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

In fact, those who expect their mobile load times to be the same as in desktop and those who believe it should be almost as fast as desktop totals 46%. But speed does not trump personalization, especially when conversions are concerned.  Unfortunately, personalization is difficult to achieve; only 5% of marketers use their data to implement personalization to their content, but it is certainly worth implementing to secure higher conversions.

It’s key not to rely on customer categories alone; instead you have to tap into a user’s mindset, which comprises a combination of a user’s persona, context and intent. This means that in order to personalize, demographic data alone won’t suffice.

Instead, behavioral data can unlock user intent and show a clearer context. While behavioral analytics won’t tell you everything about a user’s mindset, it can pinpoint a variety of interactions that you wouldn’t otherwise know about, ones that provide additional insight on the persona and intent of a consumer and their UX.

Additionally, it will allow you to fine-tune your segments based on user behavior and understand how customer experience varies in different contexts.

For example, just because a customer purchases one way on desktop doesn’t mean they’ll renew their orders on mobile, especially when the time of year is concerned. That’s why the context is key, as well as intent, which is ever-changing.

AI helps personalize and humanize the experience in a way demographic data can’t, and this is favorable because it doesn’t interfere with privacy guidelines and concerns.

busting ux myths

UX Myth 3: The Menu Has More Gravity than the Search Bar

The menu gives an overhead view of everything your website offers, while the search bar, as an element alone, is empty. The users must fill it up themselves. So it appears that the menu carries the most weight for your users digital experience. But this is simply not the case.

Both the menu and the search bar are key UX elements in the navigation, a crucial aspect of your customer journeys. However, the search bar is the most used element when it comes to finding something on a website, be it a product or section. Our findings on our 2018 grocery report posit that the click-through rate for the search bar on desktop is at 18.3%, which is 76% higher than the menu click through rate. Also, users are quicker to click on the search bar than the menu by 3 seconds.

Therefore, while the menu appears to be more comprehensive and intuitive, as it presents several options for users and sorts products and pages into categories, it does not more importance than the search bar. In fact, the search bar has better engagement and is a stronger conversion driver than the menu. (The search bar has a 66% higher average conversion rate).

So optimizing your search bar is vital to your UX strategy. You can make it more intuitive by having it show suggestions as users are typing on it, similar to how a search engine functions, or the search bars on major e-commerce sites like Amazon and Target.

UX Myth 4: The Checkout Is Not an Obstacle for Conversions

While it is true that  The checkouts is one of the main site elements that result in monetary conversions — the ultimate end goal for any business —  it is are not immune to UX flaws. These flaws often lead users to user frustration if not to an altogether site departure.

There are specific elements at checkout that hurt conversions, such as login requests, which exist in most online shopping experiences in today’s digital climate.

We analyzed 9.76 billion user sessions across 105 sites in the first quarter of 2018, and 528 million user sessions across 137 sites in late 2018 and found pertinent data on page logins. Page logins on e-commerce websites have held chunky exit rates in 2018, at 23.82% in desktop and 28.74% in mobile. All the steps at checkout are crucial elements to optimize as well, as they present obstacles for the user. Collectively, the three steps of checkout have an exit rate of 26%.

Form fields at checkout can be marred by a variety of bugs, so you should streamline the checkout process with shorter forms by way of fewer fields and steps.

It’s essential to optimize checkout elements, not in spite of their high conversion rates, but because  of them. You don’t want to lose conversions where they occur the most from an easily correctable UX mishap.

UX Myth 5: Scroll Depth Doesn’t Need Optimization

While it is longer form content (articles, guides, loaded infographics) that require scrolling all the way down, shorter content, including product pages, can be equally contingent upon the success of their scroll rates. (Yes, you should be measure scrolling behavior).

But does this particular behavior need to be optimized for the UX? It may seem secondary, especially since measuring the performance of individual site elements dominates our digital experience analytics. But in truth, scroll depth is important, especially when conversion is concerned.

The percentage of a page that gets viewed shows you how “sticky” your content is. Smaller scroll rates also result in higher bounce rates. With higher bounce rates, users are less likely to convert, since they don’t stay long enough to view enough content, let alone stick around to convert. Conversion also come into play with scroll depth when the CTA is located towards the bottom of the page. In such cases, you want to optimize your scroll rate so that users don’t miss the CTA.

Making UX Optimizations

UX is not just an area of concern for UX/UI designers; it is a crucial aspect for conversions, brand awareness and brand loyalty. As the chief characteristic of a brand’s digital success, it should be firmly planted in the minds of everyone on the digital team. As such a major topic of concern, there is a wealth of UX myths floating around, which may be hard to detect as just that: myths. Luckily, once you implement an analytics solution that can back up the productivity of every UX element with data, you can tinker with your site elements accordingly, which will ensure a better UX and conversions.

Still curious about improving your UX? Download our Mobile Optimization Report.