Revolutionizing UX Analytics From The Inside: 9 Things I Learned As A Product Manager

One year into my Product Manager journey at Contentsquare, I wanted to reflect on what I have learned, and how the past twelve months have shaped my approach to solution-finding.

I started my journey as a project management intern for VP of product to whom I mentioned in the first interview that I wanted to become a product manager.  Back then, I had no idea what it really meant to be a “PM” — I was simply curious and wanted to talk to all these people.

At Contentsquare, product managers sit between the customer (internal & external) and R&D team. With the former, we detect the WHAT: what is needed to help our customer better understand the end user experience. With the latter, we decide on and execute the HOW: how to respond to those needs in an efficient and elegant way. 

Product managers are the go-to persons for any question related to their scope — ie. the part of the solution they are responsible for developing. Therefore, the job includes building the long-term vision and strategy as well as the day-to-day execution on a very granular level. It’s a challenging and fulfilling role that I am truly proud of and can’t stop talking about. 

So, without further ado, here are the 9 key things I learned as a product manager:

1. Always put the customer first

Being loyal to your customer/user starts with knowing who they are. Before building a feature, ask yourself: who are you building this for? What challenges are they facing? Talk to them, read their feedback and support tickets, collect the data — these investments are worth the time and effort since they decrease your chances of going down the wrong path right from the beginning. 

Being loyal to your customer also means refusing to compromise on their experiences. Sometimes, cutting scope, downgrading the design, or opting for a less expensive technical solution would shorten the go-to-market timeframe. But ultimately, all of these “savings” risk compromising the end users’ experience. When cost-cutting or time-saving decisions are made, the only party not included in the discussion is generally the user. And as a product manager, it is almost a question of professional integrity to protect their interests and advocate for them.

2. Listening is more important than talking

Being a very talkative person, this one was a big challenge for me! Being too self expressive prevents you from hearing what others really think — be it colleagues, business partners or customers. Sometimes, silence can be excruciating in user interviews, and in the past I have felt obliged to give guidance or end my supposedly ‘open-ended’ questions with a list of options. I later realized that doing things this way would prevent me from knowing what the user would have said if it hadn’t been for my prompting. That’s when I realized how important it is to shut up and listen. 

3. Prioritizing means saying no

As a product manager, I am constantly facing the question of prioritization. It can be as big as a quarterly roll-out roadmap, or as small as one improvement ticket over another in the backlog. Before entering the PM zone, I always felt like I was able to juggle many tasks at the same time. It might mean pulling an all nighter or skipping dinner, but I always made it.

This is not the case in product management: we are a team with clear objectives, but also constraints, and trying to do everything is a surefire way to not do anything well. Being able to say no to projects/ideas after weighing them up is key — so is listing the pros and cons of such decisions, and keeping a clear record of why you chose not do something in the end. It is very interesting to look back at decisions and a great resource when you are challenged on a past decision.

4. Curiosity over pride

One time, we found a bug after release, and my instinct was to roll back. People on different teams ended up disagreeing with each other about whether to “roll back or hotfix.” I remember that our head of product Luis came in, sat down at the computer, and started to look into the problem. He seemed fascinated and started asking questions, testing different scenarios. People quickly gathered around him to discuss possible root causes and solutions to fix the issue. It looked like a treat or brain teaser for Luis, while I experienced it as a difficult situation for me. Before he walked in, we were all getting carried away in discussion, justifying our own decision making rather than understanding and fixing the problem.

Being curious is something we often forget about after a when we’re working on a project. But it’s important to stay curious, because not only does curiosity lead you to the answer faster, it also makes work more fun. This also applies to talking to users: be humble and curious, ask tons of seemingly dumb questions, and remember, you are not in a user interview to impress anyone — put curiosity before pride.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask WHY

We’ve all been told by people. “I want this button to be blue.”  With so many tasks on my to-do list, I have been tempted to just open the feedback box and mechanically note down “5 users asked for the button to be blue.” But why? Why do they want it to be blue? People are very good at telling others what to do, but are quite shy when it comes to sharing what they really want — perhaps from fear of getting it wrong?

I personally would say, “I need a hammer and nails,” instead of “I need to hang a picture frame.” The wonder of product management is that by asking the right question, we can actually identify what the user really needs, and suggest alternative solutions (in this example, Blu-Tack!).

6. Not everything has to be perfect

Launching a product is a process of coming up with hypothesis, testing, and improving. That’s what prototypes and minimum viable products are there for. There are so many books/videos about lean product management, but the biggest barrier to really using that technique turned out to be my own mindset, I was and still am scared of failing. I am afraid of wasting engineer’s time, a designer’s time and companies’ revenue opportunities. I am still trying to accept the fact that “not everything has to be perfect.” I think a common goal for anyone working on a product team is to find the sweet spot between “continuous discovery” and being “comfortably confident” about a decision.

7. Control your emotions

As a product manager it is inevitable to have heated debates with people. We’ve all heard people raise their voices in meetings. But I feel pretty lucky because every ‘heated discussion’ I’ve witnessed happened because the person cared deeply about the topic, and felt strongly about advocating for the best possible outcome for the end user. A reminder for myself and for you: don’t let emotions get in the way, don’t let them be a distraction — use your emotions wisely. Sometimes we are actually all agreeing with each other, we just have different ways of saying it. 

8. Data, data, data

One of our mantras  is “without data, it is just another opinion”. As a product manager, I couldn’t agree more — getting data on your users is the way to measure whether or not your solution is successful. It’s also by far the most representative and efficient way to get to know your users. Be obsessed with data, there is no such thing as too much knowledge.

9. Adapt to your audience

I am a passionate person, and I talk fast! I was once in a room presenting our future projects to R&D managers, and all these brilliant people looked somehow lost by the time I finished my 40 minute long, nonstop monologue. It wasn’t their fault. They were given no context, no introduction, but just a slew of information. Later, during a training on public speaking organized by the company, the coach recorded and replayed our speech. Mine was extremely  fast. I’ve since learned to hold my horses, be generous with context and adjust my rhythm to not lose my audience. And it’s worked!

Voilà! The 9 things I learned at Contentsquare after one year and half as a product manager. There is such a long list of people to thank for this training: product peers, R&D friends, our awesome client facing team members. It’s a fascinating field and a stimulating work environment — I’m excited to keep on learning as I continue on this journey.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Digital Activity Decreases But Pure Play Brands Set To Emerge Stronger (Update 16)

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.

As countries and cities open up again, or move to the next phase of their post-Covid plan, consumers everywhere are reconnecting with what it means to go into a non-essential store to make a purchase. We’ve been paying attention to digital shopping behaviors this past week (and since early March), to understand how the Coronavirus crisis has impacted online activity and businesses across industries. 

We’ve analyzed more than 10 billion sessions — monitoring traffic, transactions and customer engagement — to see how the unfolding situation has affected digital business. To understand these changes, we’ve compared data from each week with the period immediately preceding the introduction of social distancing and store closures in the West (or, the first 6 weeks of the year, which we call the reference period). 

This is what we observed this past week:

Traffic Goes Down For Fifth Consecutive Week But Transactions Remain Strong

Global digital traffic has been decreasing steadily since mid-May (coinciding with the first wave of store reopenings in Europe), with a new -4% drop in the volume of visits this past week. This puts digital traffic today at +6% pre-Covid levels, although a breakdown by industry shows that some sectors are still seeing up to +45% more visitors than back in February.

Transactions however have not been dropping at quite the rate of digital traffic, with a -3% drop this past week, that does little to make a dent in the +29% transaction increase recorded since the onset of the crisis.

The UK is responsible for the greatest leap in the volume of digital transactions (+63%), while France and Germany have recorded slightly more conservative increases (+14% and +17% respectively). The US numbers are very aligned with the global average, with +28% more digital sales than before the introduction of quarantine measures.

ecommerce traffic - impact of coronavirus ecommerce transactions - impact of coronavirusTraffic to Fashion Sites Stabilizes As Pure Play Businesses Emerge Stronger

Traffic to apparel sites remained steady this past week after several weeks of dwindling digital activity. Transactions were also stable, following a 40 point drop since late May, and the volume of digital sales today is +20% greater than it was before the crisis started. 

We also compared traffic and transactions between click-and-mortar and pure play brands, and found that, since reopening, pure players (with no / limited retail) are experiencing more stability with their digital activity. Brands with physical stores are doing slightly better today than their online-only counterparts, but their volume of transactions has been decreasing steadily since late May, while pure play brands appear to be maintaining the increase in sales week on week. As of now it certainly looks like digital-only brands are emerging stronger from the Coronavirus crisis, particularly when you consider that for these storeless brands, extra traffic and transactions are net gains while for retailers the surge of online business was there to compensate for the drop of retail activity.

Grocery Sector Loses Traffic But Digital Sales Still Strong

Online grocery traffic continues on its downward trend, having steadily decreased since the massive surge in the third week of March and a more discreet peak in early April. This last week brought a -13% drop in the volume of traffic to grocery sites, but despite this latest decrease, the sector is still enjoying +40% more visits than before the first social distancing orders. And while transactions may have dropped -15% this past week, the global volume of online grocery transactions is still +58% higher than before the start of the crisis.

The breakdown by country reveals different dependencies on digital for food and household staples with France almost back at its pre-Covid levels of digital grocery transactions, the US at around +50% more, and the UK in the lead with more than double the number of sales. As other non-essential businesses open their doors, it will be interesting to see how a ‘return to normal’ shopping habits impacts the collective reliance on online grocery stores.

Tourism Sector Still On The Road To Recovery

Traffic and transactions on travel sites went up +7% this past week, marking another week of growth for the sector that has suffered the most since the start of the crisis. This latest positive chapter makes a small impact on the sector’s digital activity, and globally, travel sites are still experiencing -43% less traffic than it was back in February, and are recording -44% fewer transactions.

France is catching up faster than any other country we analyzed, and is today seeing -20% less traffic than it was before the start of lockdown and -25% the number of transactions. The US is the country that has suffered the biggest drop in visitors although interestingly, transactions are picking up faster in the US than in the UK, despite the UK boasting more traffic.

Have you registered for Summer Camp yet? We’ve put together a six-part series for adventurous experience-builders looking to capitalize on the summer months to fast-track their digital transformation. Join us for our next campfire session with Walmart, to explore common digital challenges and how best to tackle them (A/B Testing merit badge, anyone?).

 

Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Online Engagement Still High As Many Sectors Record small decline of Traffic and Transactions (Update 15)

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.

Our team has been computing billions of user sessions over the past 16 weeks to share insights into how the unfolding Coronavirus crisis is impacting consumer behaviors across industries. Every week we look at traffic, transactions, and engagement data and compare the numbers with averages from the period immediately preceding the beginning of social distancing and quarantine in the West (or, the first 6 weeks of the year, which we call the reference period). 

Here are some of the insights we surfaced this week:

Traffic And Transactions Go a bit Down But Online Engagement Remains Strong

After a stable first week of June, eCommerce traffic and transactions dropped slightly this past week, with -4% fewer visits and a -3% decrease in transactions from the previous week. As stores reopen their doors to customers around the globe, digital customer engagement appears to be slowing down. Despite this, online consumer activity is still much, much higher than before the onset of the crisis, prompting many businesses to invest heavily in their digital operations.

The greatest increase in the volume of digital transactions is observed in the UK, where businesses are bringing in on average +67% more online sales than pre-Covid. In the US, this figure is +27%.

According to our latest data pull for the week ending 6/14, brands across industries are seeing on average +10% more digital traffic than they were back in January, and +33% more online transactions. Some industries — for example, sporting goods retailers or online supermarkets — are even seeing double the amount of transactions they are used to seeing. Other industries, such as travel, are of course dealing with the negative business impact of the pandemic, although recent weeks show positive — if slow — signs of recovery.

Coronavirus impact on eCommerce - Traffic Coronavirus impact on eCommerce - Transactions

Online Grocery Sector Slows Down But Remains Stable in US

After an initial surge which saw regular volumes of traffic increase x3, the grocery industry continues to experience a slow but steady traffic decrease across the board (-10% drop this past week), although the breakdown by country tells different stories of consumer reliance on online grocery shopping. 

The UK shows a pretty vertiginous drop since peak traffic at the end of March (from +440% down to +220% pre-Covid traffic levels), while the US has seen stable levels of digital engagement since the first week of April. Overall, traffic to grocery sites is still +61% higher than pre-crisis and the volume of transactions is +85% higher. 

Consumer Electronics Sector Sees Slight Drop in Traffic And Sales last week 

On the heels of two weeks of quick growth (traffic + transactions), consumer electronics retailers experienced a bit of a slowdown this past week, with traffic declining by -6% this past week and sales going down by -11%. Still, the sector as a whole is recording +46% more traffic than before the start of the pandemic, and +47% more transactions.

In the US, consumer engagement in this sector has been steadily going down since late April, with surges in the UK and France majorly impacting growth.

Tourism Still On The Up And Healthcare Retail Sees Gains Too

After taking the biggest hit of all industries, the travel and tourism sector continues to see its customers’ digital activity climb, with +7% more traffic this past week compared to the last, and +11% more transactions. These recent increases mean the industry as a whole is now closer to half its pre-Covid traffic and transactions levels — although it is important to note that our reference period, in January, would have different averages than during peak season. 

While traffic has remained steady in the US since end of April, transactions have been steadily climbing for the past 7 weeks, reflecting greater consumer confidence when it comes to booking travel. Sites selling camping trips continue to see the greatest increases across all sub-sectors — both in traffic and conversions.

Meanwhile, last week was a strong week for Healthcare retailers, with +22% more traffic to these platforms and an impressive +68% increase in transactions.

 

Have you registered for Summer Camp yet? We’ve put together a six-part series for adventurous experience-builders looking to capitalize on the summer months to fast-track their digital transformation. Join us for six campfire sessions with digital leaders from Tile and other leading brands, to explore common digital challenges and how best to tackle them (A/B Testing merit badge, anyone?).

 

4 ways to keep your users engaged during Covid-19

“During this extremely difficult situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), nothing is more important to [Company Name Here] than the health and safety of our customers…”

In the past few months, as Covid-19 and quarantine have stalled what we always considered our “normal” life, companies across the globe have also suffered as a result. Most retail stores, unless considered “essential” have had to close, with many also ceasing online operations. 

We’ve seen the above statement everywhere. From websites to mobile apps, emails to social media, as well as hand-written notes in shop windows. It’s become ingrained in our everyday lives.

While all industries are affected, some are harder hit than others. Take a look at our dedicated Covid-19 Impact Data Hub, where you’ll find a detailed overview on the impact of coronavirus on digital consumer behaviour, as well as a deep dive into industries and sub-sectors. 

Despite consumer confidence dropping, digital traffic and transactions overall have climbed significantly since the onset of the crisis. Parents can’t buy shoes, clothes or tablets for their children’s homeschooling anywhere but online right now, meaning shopping online is the only place to shop. Your priority needs to be ensuring continuity for your customers and adapting to their new circumstances and needs.If you can create a meaningful experience for your customers now, and provide the kind of value they’re looking for, you will be building loyalty and investing in long-lasting customer relationships

Discounts, free delivery, extended returns; these are all effective. But for those industries that are facing the most uncertainty, and in some cases, seeing their services completely disrupted you’ll need to keep customers engaged in other ways. So when that confidence returns, they’ll feel compelled to spend with you. 

Now more than ever we need to maintain brand awareness and keep users engaged. Below are four examples of brands leveraging technology to elevate the CX, from augmented (AR) to virtual (VR) reality to classic email and social media channels. 

1. Virtual Artist with Sephora

Sephora allows users to visualize a product with Virtual Artist

Prior to Covid-19, you could venture into one of the Sephora stores, pick up several different testers or maybe even have a makeover with one of their consultants. Today that’s not possible, but instead you can try on a range of different products; from lipsticks to mascaras to multiple shades of foundation, virtually. With tutorials also included, you can learn from a variety of styles, including how to apply the “No Makeup Look”, just in time for your first zoom call. 

Happy with your new look? You can save for later or buy now.

Although it’s not possible to visit physical stores right now, this is an innovative way to get new and existing customers involved with your brand. As well as gaining a real understanding of what a customer needs and expects when it comes to purchasing makeup, without being able to do it in store. This doesn’t have to apply just to beauty brands though, Ace and Tate / Warby Parker are using similar technology that allows users to try-on glasses. 

Both Web and App versions available.

2. Augmented Reality with IKEA Place

As we’ve all been stuck indoors the last few weeks, it’s become natural to dislike items in your home. From that living room rug, or that strange looking lampshade in your bedroom you’ve been meaning to change for years, it’s understandable that you fancy a change. 

We observed in our data a few weeks ago a wave of re-decoration happening across many homes, and not just because of that ugly lamp. Our homes have now become multi-purpose – they’re offices, schools, gyms or even small restaurants providing food for the vulnerable. We’ve had to adapt and rethink what makes a “home”.

Buying a new chair or desk however is not as easy as purchasing a smaller item, such as a vase or plant pot. There’s a certain degree of risk involved, that actually, it might not look right or even fit in your new office. The solution…go virtual.

Does that chaise longue look good in that empty corner of your living room? add to your wish-list for later or purchase through the online store.

We all love visiting an IKEA store – from jumping on the bed, to sitting at the kitchen counter or rolling around on that fluffy rug. With this app, you can get those items in your home…virtually (just please don’t try jumping on this bed, it’ll hurt).

Available on iOS and Android.

3. Social Media with Lush

Now back online, during quarantine Lush had to temporarily close their physical stores and pause all new online orders.

But, they added ways customers can still keep in touch and be engaged during this challenging period.

Utilizing your social media presence is more important now, than it’s ever been before. Stores are closed, online orders are paused for the foreseeable future. How are you navigating the crisis? Keeping your employees safe? What are your plans for reopening when safe to do so? Businesses, like us, have human concerns. Think of fun and informative ways to keep customers committed to your brand; Instagram stories, Tik Tok, prizes and giveaways, the list goes on. 

Times are tough, but going that extra mile for your customers now will help you significantly in the long run.

4. Airbnb’s Email Digest 

Airbnb have been keeping users up-to-date through weekly digests – a weekly email with advice, tips and updates on how they’re supporting the community.

As I write this, many brands are being proactive and delivering countless updates to their customers. Keep this up! 

As consumers we need reassurance, and a weekly update goes a long way. 

 

Although we’re living through unprecedented times, with stores closing and online operations halted, there’s still ways we can keep users engaged and informed. Let’s band together and be creative!

For examples on how websites are dealing with the current situation, subscribe below to access our lite version or contact us for examples dedicated specifically to your industry.

Customer Love: How To Cultivate A Happily Ever After With Your Clients

If you ask any of my Contentsquare colleagues how many clients we have going into the new year, most of them will reply, without a second’s hesitation: 600.

And they’re right: we did wrap up 2019 (our most ambitious yet in terms of new business) with a portfolio of 600 leading global brands. 

But because we love numbers so much at Contentsquare — and because it’s almost Valentine’s day — let me share with you a much more exciting number: 12,000.

That’s the number of people behind those 600 logos who use our solution as part of the work they do every day. In other words, 12,000 individual relationships to nurture and sustain, or, if we’re being really ambitious (and we are), 12,000 reasons to keep the spark alive every day. Of course, these are business relationships, but they are still first and foremost human relationships. Some examples:

I could keep going, but that is not the point. Let us focus instead on what really is at stake, here: how to create, improve, and renew meaningful engagement for these 12,000 users of our solution. If the answer seems obvious, that’s because it is. Yes, it’s true, for B2B as for B2C, the cornerstone of sustained customer engagement is (drumroll) a good experience — and ideally differentiated, experience.

One of the foundational pillars of a good experience is LISTENING to your customers. (which is an essential element of another one of our core values: Team Spirit). At Contentsquare we make listening to our customers a priority — we are constantly collecting feedback on our product and roadmap through individual or group sessions, we ask our clients what features they want us to prioritize, and we ask them to weigh in on our product positioning strategy. In fact, our clients are involved in every aspect of our growth; from the development of new functionalities to the strategic vision of the company. We believe alignment with our customers is crucial to our innovation agenda and future as a company.

The second pillar is CONNECTING our customers with their peer-based community. The most visible representation of this is our very active client community. Many of our clients will tell you they really enjoy and look forward to these recurring meet-ups and clubs, which are a chance for them to share use cases and best practices, or quiz their peers about the solutions that work for them and the challenges inherent to their industry. 

The last pillar, ENGAGING, is also how we measure the success of our customer experience. Our most engaged clients are true brand ambassadors and sponsors, and you’ll often find them speaking alongside our CX-perts at conferences. They’re very giving of their time, they recommend us to their peers… with enthusiasm.

The last thing I’ll say about customer engagement is that it starts with every team being engaged with customers and their mission to create better experiences for their customers. Whatever our department, country, office, or role, customer experience touches each and every one of us and we all need to be — if not obsessed — deeply committed to delivering excellence in this regard. 

Of course, no one is perfect and it’s important to remember: a good relationship is one that evolves, as each party changes and understands each other better. So yes, we will continue to challenge ourselves to keep listening, keep growing and keep improving to always be the best partner our clients need us to be, and in doing so, to keep the spark alive. 🙂

With love,

Sonia

RSVP at [email protected]

 

 

 

NEWS: Contentsquare, Worldwide Leader Of Digital Experience Analytics, Grew 200% In 2019

After raising $120 million since 2017, and following the acquisitions of Clicktale and Pricing Assistant, digital experience analytics leader Contentsquare announced record results for the full year 2019. For its vision and accomplishments, the company has been named a 2020 BIG Innovation Award winner by the Business Intelligence Group.

“The digital experience analytics industry is growing at a rapid pace and Contentsquare is leading the way. Our company had tremendous growth this year including revenue, clients, geographic reach, employees, partnerships and product,” said Contentsquare CEO, Jonathan Cherki. “Customer feedback makes it clear we have the right strategy executed by the right people so we look forward to a bright 2020.”

Record Company Growth

With a mission to empower brands to create better web, mobile, and app experiences, Contentsquare grew annual recurring revenue nearly 200% during 2019. New and expanded clients include industry leaders across sectors such as BCG, Best Buy, Caixa Bank, Crocs, Deichmann, Dell, Europcar, Eurostar, Ferragamo, Orvis, Pizza Hut, RBS, T-Mobile, TomTom, Toyota, Tumi, Unilever, and many others. Contentsquare analyzes more than 9 trillion consumer interactions each day to provide its more than 600 enterprise clients worldwide with benchmarks and recommendations.

Companies worldwide are turning to Contentsquare for a new breed of analytics which surfaces digital behavior insights essential for improving customer journeys, increasing mobile conversions and increasing revenue. In 2019, more than 200 new customers joined the Contentsquare community and total usage of the platform increased nearly 300%. Contentsquare’s international sales grew at a brisk pace in 2019, with 40% of its business now in the United States and 50% in Europe, including strong adoption across France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Nordics. The company is growing faster than expected in Asia, particularly in Japan; Contentsquare is investing across the region in Australia, Singapore and China.

Contentsquare doubled its staff in the last year, growing the team from 300 to 600. The company plans to fill 200 positions this year. Contentsquare has 7 offices in Paris, Munich, London, New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. In line with its mission to create better experiences, the company continued to invest in its employee culture, adding new benefits and bringing all employees together for the annual offsite.

Ecosystem Integrations and Strategic Partnerships

Building a strong partner community is a key ingredient of Contentsquare’s strategy. The company’s partner program invites both services and technology partners to leverage the Contentsquare technology in order to create value for their customers. The company has built technology integrations with more than 100 software vendors, including some of the key players in its ecosystem such as Google, Adobe, Oracle, Medallia, Qualtrics, Tealium, Dynamic Yield, Usabilla, Monetate, Kameleoon, Qubit, ForeSee and OpinionLab. Contentsquare also announced in 2019 a business and technology integration with Salesforce. These seamless ecosystem integrations allow clients to leverage the power of Contentsquare data and insights to enhance the value of their commerce and marketing solutions. The company has also developed strategic partnerships with consultants and digital marketing solutions providers around the world, including WPP, Capgemini, Havas, Accenture, BCG, Wunderman, Dentsu Merkle and many others across Europe, the United States, LATAM, the Middle East and Asia. See them here.

Innovation with Artificial Intelligence, Privacy and Security Focus

To keep up with the needs of its clients, the company is constantly innovating and adding new modules to the platform. With 170 people in R&D and Product, Contentsquare is built to provide instant insights that go beyond what traditional “clickstream” analytics can show. A major new version of the platform debuted in 2019, integrating capabilities from its acquisitions such as Session Replay and featuring innovations such as Revenue Opportunities which estimates the financial impact of recommended modifications. The company also introduced the industry’s first turnkey holistic online experience score, the Digital Happiness Index.

When it comes to data privacy and security, Contentsquare continues to put its clients and their end users first, obtaining ISO 27001 certification with SOC 2 compliance completing in 2020. The company is also fully compliant with applicable data privacy laws such as EU GDPR and California CCPA.

In addition to the 2020 BIG Innovation Award, Contentsquare was named as a Next40 growth company by the French government and recognized by Global research firm Gartner, as a leader in the Customer Experience Digital Analytics field. Contentsquare CEO, Jonathan Cherki is participating in this year’s Davos World Economic Forum.

“Our ambition remains unchanged: empower brands to deliver better digital experiences. We are creating an intelligent brain inside the cloud that, thanks to our amazing clients, is improving the digital products and services that we all depend on every day. Our team constantly goes beyond traditional limits to achieve this vision. The results obtained over the last 12 months just strengthen our ambition to put the power of Contentsquare in the hands of every digital professional,” said Cherki.

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

Salesforce World Tour New York 2019: Lessons on Digital Engagement & More

I was chartering unknown territory when I set foot in the venue for Salesforce World Tour 2019 in New York City. 

The tour — which voyages multiple cities across the US and the globe — is the flagship event from Salesforce, covering everything from the multitude of Salesforce products, their integrations, and of course, user and customer experience (CX). 

The event was branded as “a day of innovation and inspiration” on its website, and upon entry to the vast expanse that is the Javits Center, I was able to sense these ideas in the ambiance.

Let me set the scene: the ground in the reception and main halls was coated in green carpet, with large sculptures of the characters found in Salesforce products, particularly those of its Trailhead characters, decking the convention. They too were surrounded by greenery: shrubs, trees and fireplaces kept them snug.

Modern-day carollers were warbling Christmas tunes with a dose of beatboxing. Further along in the Trailhead-themed area, a wide array of brands set up shop to tout their latest products and innovations. Makeshift theaters (with no enclosures) were set up for some of the sessions; much in line with the Trailhead world, the seats here were little tree trunks.

Further down, the sessions were a bit more sophisticated, with larger volumes, larger screens and headphones provided for all attendees. I was excited to have a listen and imbue as much CX knowledge as possible. 

Here are some of the key learnings I acquired:

Creating 1:1 Opportunities with Conversational Commerce 

One of the first sessions I attended stressed that the best shopping experiences are personal. This means taking the catered in-store (or bank, etc.) experiences into the digital world. As such, websites and UX take the role of digital salespeople. Like a real sales associate, they must act as someone who helps customers find the products they want.

This, in turn, creates increased engagement with your brand, which encourages loyalty. A personalized CX is a kind of 1:1 experience customers have with brands, but since there are no sales associates online, digital players must employ conversational commerce into their strategy.

Conversational commerce refers to an e-commerce method that employs various means of inciting conversations. This includes using chatbots on sites and apps, artificial intelligence (AI) and the newer advent of voice technology which includes speech recognition.

Salesforce relayed the importance of using VIP chatbots, which ask site visitors what they’re looking for upfront and in a casual way. These bots can then help set up customers with a real associate, who gives recommendations based on the info shoppers gave to the bot, removing an annoying layer of repetition with the associate. 

This closes a loop and shows that you’re paying attention to customer needs. It also helps personalize the shopping process by digitizing its best assets. The key is to make these chatbots mimic human conversations as closely as possible. 

Brands can leverage chatbots and other conversational commerce techniques (messaging apps, Siri, etc) as a means of helping customers solve hurdles, particularly those that they can take offline and implement it into the digital space.

All in all, conversational commerce has the prowess to streamline the shopping process to make it more scalable. It enables you to put your customers at the center of your business.

Improving VoC with Interactive Emails

Naturally, one of the lessons from the World Tour came from one of Salesforce’s own and relatively new innovations: interactive emails. 

Implemented into the Einstein marketing cloud, along with other email capabilities this fall, interactive emails allow customers to provide their feedback in their own inboxes, as opposed to clicking on a link and being sent to a website or app.

This form of email extends the personalization factor that emails already can provide, so brands ought to tap into this trend. It also enhances email UX, as it augments emails with a web-like function. 

Essentially, it’s a new form of VoC, providing customers with the convenient option of staying within the comfort and privacy of their own email.

Brands can capitalize on interactive emails by attaching a survey or poll at the end of their message to collect vital customer opinions and attitudes. These can be towards a number of digital or customer experiences. Alternatively, brands can dedicate entire emails for this purpose.

For example, a fruitful interactive email strategy is to simply add an open text box so that a customer can type in any concern, effectuating a service case to be created — all without the need to create a new email or search for an answer elsewhere on the net.

Interactive emails provide a great brand experience and can be used across industries.

Undergoing a Customer Revolution for All Sectors

Brands are competing on experiences — whether they know it or not. As Parker Harris, the Salesforce Co-founder and EVP remarked in the keynote session, “customers may love your products and services, but do they trust you? if not, they will move on to someone else.”

This rings true even for niche brands and those in more “serious” sectors, ie, B2B and other non-retail fields. Consider this scenario: there are two banking services that offer the same kind of accounts, with limited restrictions and fees. However, one offers a customer-centric UX in which customer service and website sessions are quick and hassle-free.

Clearly, customers will gravitate towards the bank with the better experience. Given that the financial services vertical is known as being less tailored for experiences, competing on experience may seem like a forbidding challenge. 

However, even basic financial tasks like checking a debit card charge and disputing it can be leveraged and turned into a personalized, well-serviced experience. To achieve this, the UX should be made frictionless and require the least amount of steps to do something, ie report a fraudulent card charge.

For example, if customers report a fraudulent charge via a chatbot or by phone, they’ll often get redirected to another representative or department most suited to handle their case. A common UX source of annoyance is being asked a second (or third time) to repeat an issue already reported. Thus, when rerouting customers, or getting back to them after a break, associates should be fully aware of their issue to tackle it head-on, instead of wasting time asking for specifics.

No one wants to waste time, so if your customer services are optimized for speed and their issues/preferences recorded, your customers will notice. Dovetailing to this idea is the general approach chatbots take in conversing with customers: the chat shouldn’t start with “how can I help you?” but rather by asking something more concrete, showing that you understand your customers.

This can be gathered from their previous purchases or VoC feedback or even past chats if it’s a returning or logged in customer. 

Putting Customers First Digitally

Although it lasted for roughly a workday, Salesforce World Tour 2019 has fired up my neurons. The main takeaway from this convention is that digital experiences need to require minimal effort from users to either complete an action or traverse your site in general. 

Aside from seamlessness, the event accentuated the need for personalizing and customizing experiences. The reasoning for this is that if you don’t, you will lose quality customers. The impact you as a business should aim to create is that of making your customers feel understood and listened to.

Per the recommendation of Parker Harris et al. in the event, you should also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into your digital strategy, whether it’s through live support, standard chat boxes, or even in your customer data collection.

When you do, you can bet on their return to your site — and not just for browsing purposes. 

 

Three UX Tips to Avoid the Snowball Effect in your Digital Experiences

This time of the year is all about staying cozy and warm, sheltered from what is going on outside. While this may be a good remedy against the cold December days, brands shouldn’t get too comfortable when it comes to their digital strategy. The last thing you need as a business is to land in a digital stagnation cocoon. 

Every now and then, companies are exposed to external or internal factors that can hamper their efforts to deliver a great customer experience (CX) and get in the way of them meeting their digital objectives.

There are several things you can do to avoid the pitfalls of a poor customer experience:

Customer satisfaction begins with team synergy. Getting everyone aligned around the same customer intelligence is the first step to being able to tackle CX improvements in a holistic, impactful way. 

The ability to create (and maintain) a deep connection with your customers is another key challenge for brands. Understanding what visitors are trying to achieve on your site or app is crucial to building trust and delivering an online experience that is helpful and ticks all the boxes.

Companies spend a tremendous amount of time, energy and money on acquisition strategies, but once traffic objectives are reached, you need to give your audience a reason to come back. Getting complacent is very easy, especially when site elements, and sometimes entire pages, are being neglected. 

The impact of neglecting some of these details is often underestimated, and what is initially perceived as a small thing can have disastrous effects on revenue and retention. 

Here are some examples of the snowball effect, and 3 tips on how to prevent them.

Don’t stagnate, innovate 

Stagnation is often characterized by the tendency of a company to rest on its laurels after meeting a period of success and growth. Once expectations are being met and results are being generated, the risk for your website is to stagnate and remain where it stands.

Keeping your customers excited and enthusiastic starts with making sure you always provide them with innovative digital experiences. As in any kind of relationship, users don’t like to be taken for granted — keeping it fresh will help keep the engagement up. 

The big disruptors are leveraging digital innovation and technology-powered convenience to build seamless digital experiences. Autonomy, speed, the ability to visualize products before buying… these are just some of the things technology has facilitated for consumers. 

Adobe Stock, via Instagram.Com/_alfil

 

Keep the communication lines open

As the saying goes,“either you follow up or you fold up.” Not being responsive to your users’ needs will annoy your customers, and even worse, lead them to write or voice bad reviews. Known as VoC, this method of airing out bad UX can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line, as is often emphasized by our digital strategists. 

Reviews make up the most commonly used VoC method. Positive reviews can boost a company’s reputation, but bad ones can severely damage a brand’s credibility. According to Inc, it takes roughly forty positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review. Communication is also making the customer understand that their needs are being prioritized and their voice is being heard. 

Adobe Stock, via Wei

 

Don’t let your digital strategy be an after-thought

In most cases, implementation is simply about what the future strategy of a company will be to increase conversion rates and boost visits on your site. 

When it comes to your website, you need a solid plan to minimize interferences and remove pain points to enable easy customer journeys. The success of your digital experiences rests on their ability to meet the expectations of your customers. While most businesses have embraced digital transformation and understand that customer intelligence is the foundation for a great CX, implementing a digital mindset remains a big challenge for many brands.

So, make sure your team is equipped with the right tools to implement a data-first approach to experience building and business decisions. 

The good news is, if you’re guilty of one of the above, it is not too late to react. A good way to counteract these snowball effects is to first acknowledge what has been neglected, take into consideration what could have been done earlier, and come up with a stronger digital implementation strategy. Understanding customer expectations has never been easier, nor has dropping intuition in favor of data.

 

Hero Image: Adobe Stock, via Maria Medvedeva

Balancing Content and Product Investments for Retail Brands
Though an obvious goal of a business is to sell, the customer experience (CX) expectations that consumers have are not as obvious. Particularly in a landscape that is defined by digital innovation, it can be hard to keep up with shifting CX expectations. Customers place a high amount of interest in value — whether it’s the value of convenience, economy or sustainability — and that’s often on top of the product itself.

A retail brand’s challenge in the digital space hinges on balancing content investments versus product and merchandising decisions. While any marketer can argue in favor of the value of content, businesses are often concerned with the evaluation of its ROI.

When a brand invests in content and pushes a large message, it is not always with a strict “purchase” agenda. The message could be emphasizing a directional change, new mission or in some cases, an explanation to customers. What is difficult to measure is if this content has a positive, long-term halo effect on conversion.

So what is the real value of content & how do you stay find the right balance to drive sales and repeat purchasing?

Three Methods for Approaching Content

Retail brands exhibit three major forms of tackling content:

Approach 1: heavy content with few, but staple, products
Approach 2: very little content, but a vast product inventory and customer reviews
Approach 3: balancing content and product within the same site page to drive engagement

Smaller click-and-mortar, or digitally native brands, are able to master the challenge of approach one, prioritizing content over product. With less inventory to showcase, a strong focus on (often inspirational) content allows a brand to distinguish itself and create a loyal customer base. These brands are able to capitalize off of the staple products they’ve created, and create deep connections with a targeted audience.

For example, Away, a digital luggage company, uses a content heavy approach. This brand positions itself by highlighting lifestyle, with content around everything one might need for traveling and nothing unnecessary. Their content identifies with a variety of travel personas, while also considering travel standards. Their content directly states their product solves real travel pains. By the time a user navigates to the product page, they’ve learned enough about Away to ensure this purchase will improve their travel experience. The sleek and modern designs do not hurt, either.

The second approach, product-first with very little content, is present in larger retailers, those with a seemingly endless inventory. These businesses reap large revenue. Amazon, the world’s largest online marketplace (and seller) caters to a variety of retail sub-verticals without much content, but rather, a reliance on customer reviews.

 

Adob Stock, via kathayut

 

Balancing Product Prioritizations and Content Creation

There are plenty of brands, including our own customers that take the third, middle-of the-road approach. To find the right balance between content and product, there’s a solution; measure the performance of your content. Once you measure content and segment audiences properly, you’ll have a better understanding of what content is driving purchasing across which customer profile.

If you can draw the lines between customer engagement, conversion and revenue, and answer how to measure the ROI of specific content elements, it removes the guesswork and fear of making content investments.

This safety net allows you to go bold when you measure the success of each content element, with the agility to test different versions or remove the content altogether. You will also answer the looming question of yes or no: whether content has a correlation with product sales.

Adobe Stock, via beeboys

 

The Verdict

When making investment decisions for content against product, you need to determine whether your content — or any proposed content — is complementing or detracting from your product. Unfortunately, there’s no single best practice for every brand.

Content is a longer term engagement than promotions, because a sale may lead customers to come to your site once or intermittently. The goal of content is different, with the intention to drive repeat visits, purchases, and ultimate loyalty.

Content can be engaging, but without substantial or trusted product behind it, there are no sales. And yet product is not always standalone — it may involve storytelling, materials, or qualifications to encourage a customer to add-to-cart. In either case, analytics is the connection between content performance and revenue objectives.

How bold can you go to allow your brand to shine? That’s something only granular behavior analytics can answer.

 

Hero image: Adobe Stock, va jeler

How We Prepared for the 2019 Salesforce B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam 

The Salesforce B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam is going down tomorrow, and we’ve been busy polishing our own live demo performance, and figuring out the best way to showcase our new and improved digital experience analytics platform.  

Here’s a look at how we’ve been preparing to take home the Demo Jam crown…

What Sets the B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam Apart

With participants having to do away with slideshows, presentations and videos, the challenge was how to create a condensed, 3-minute, to-the-point live demo of our solution.

If that doesn’t set the event apart, its setting and rules will. That’s because the Demo Jam is set up like a game show, meaning one team will walk away the winner.

The visitors are a live audience of approximately 80-100 spectators, as hungry for the next best thing as we are. We’re also in it to win it, so we can’t wait to square off with the five other partners, execution style. 

Joking aside, we’ve been working up a storm in preparation for the Demo Jam.

How Contentsquare Prepared for the B2C Commerce Partner Demo Jam 

We made sure key stakeholders from Marketing, Product and Sales were involved in prepping our performance. 

At a tactical level, we launched an internal brainstorm, inviting the entire Contentsquare US team to ideate over pizza and booze — the best possible stimuli, of course. With so many great minds in one room, our brilliant Content Director recommended breakout sessions with 3 separate teams to streamline the collaboration. 

What surfaced were 3 easily applicable concepts, and 1 winning idea that inspired a theme, script and the tapping of members from our Solutions Engineers, Digital Marketing and Client Success teams to creatively present the idea. 


Building on Our Partnership with Salesforce

This event is critical to our partnership success with Salesforce, because it enables 3 key opportunities:

Exposure: elevating the visibility of Contentsquare to prime stakeholders is an evolving challenge, and Demo Jam is an event that is promoted by Salesforce to and by their teams, who strategically promote partner solutions to clients and prospects.

Competitive benchmarks: Demo Jam feedback and consensus are instant, relatively speaking. The Insight Link Partners ascertain from the event hosts and audience questions, and ultimately the voting results, is a useful indication of whether or not your presentation and use case value mapping is resonating with attendees and prospects.

Demand generation: Customers who watch the performance and are interested in learning more about partner solutions opt-in to receive info. Need we say more?

Our Unique Demo Jam Take

Our singularity springs forth from our platform. The Contentsquare solution visualizes data in a unique way, and can show any brand directly from its website view where customers are getting frustrated or stuck across the acquisition funnel and which content is encouraging conversions. 

We display unique behavior and revenue attribution metrics directly onto the web page — which elements of content have a high Attractiveness rate, where visitors Hover and hesitate, what sections of the page drive revenue etc… Demonstrating this always brings the “oohs and ahhs.”

 


Why We’re in It To Win It

Aside from the fact that winning is universally fun, Contentsquare has powered Customer Experience insights for Salesforce customers like GoPro, L’Occitane, Crocs and the Gap, helping their team make data-driven decisions, innovate the experience and increase revenue. Winning the demo jam helps publicize how we can prove similar results for more of Salesforce customers who haven’t heard of us yet or are still considering how to best invest in their digital CX.

Closing Off on the Demo Jam

The Demo Jam prep was great fun, and helped align the entire team around a common goal. Everyone on the team has a unique take on how to best tell the Contentsquare story, and we wanted to bring all these perspectives together for this exercise. We also discovered hidden talents across the team — turns out we have a bunch of thespians and scriptwriters in the office! (As ever, we’re reminded that when good people come together, great things can happen.

Tune in to watch us go head to head with 5 other Salesforce partners during the webinar at 11 am.

How to Identify and Fix a Broken UX with User Behavior Analytics

Some website users undergo a bad UX, which leads them to exit — or worse — bounce from a website, possibly to never again return. Understanding what causes premature site exits is key to improving the customer experience (CX), and delivering journeys that help customers meet their wide-ranging digital expectations.

Making use of data for a UX analysis is the most practical approach to scrutinizing customer journeys, including high-level views that locate friction points and counter-intuitive navigation patterns. Once you’ve identified your problematic pages through a high-level view of user behavior, you can make more fine-tuned changes by assessing individual pages and elements.

Achieving a fulfilling digital experience is attainable, but you have to identify what constitutes a broken UX in the first place, and establish the visitor segments that come across one. Once you have this insight on hand, you can prioritize optimization efforts to improve your digital experience and make your visitors crave more.

Identifying What’s Amiss in the Customer Journey

We quizzed Ying Yang, our Lead Product Experience Manager, to get her thoughts on where to start. “The first thing you must look at when identifying a poor UX is the customer journey,” she said. “You should be able to break it apart page by page to see exactly how users traverse your site during each session.”

A well-built customer journey analysis tool will show you each step a customer takes during their time spent on a site, help uncover what they are trying to do, and how they went about doing it. You ought to be able to detect where the first UX friction lies on a high level; to find this, you have to pinpoint where users are bouncing or leaving the site, and what led to this outcome.

“You need to identify the last page that a segment of users stayed on during their journey before leaving your site. It is this page in which their UX was disrupted,” explained Ying. 

However, in longer customer journeys, note that a page from which a user has left the site may not signify a bad experience. Instead, the user may simply feel that their stay on the site is complete, and requires no further browsing.”

As such, observe the pages that contain bounces initially, as there is some shortage of retaining the visitors’ interest. Furthermore, since a bounce is more caustic than a regular site leave, it requires immediate attention. (Bounces reveal a non-existent journey, or one of one step/page visit).

Now that you’ve found the page with the UX culprit of bouncing or exiting, let’s delve further. 

A Further Analysis of a Crippled UX

Entering step two of making corrections, you will need to work out the cause behind particular site exits or other behaviors indicative of frustration or unmet needs. In order to spot individual obstacles in the customer journey, you’ll need to analyze specific elements within a page. 

Through this approach, you’ll be able to catch the exact cause of friction (whether it’s a CTA, image, product description, form field, etc), as opposed to guessing what regions and elements of a page led users to leave.

So what do you do when analyzing a particular page element? You take a hyper-focused turn in your UX analysis. “This is a more granular step,” says Ying. “As such, you’ll want to look at a robust batch of behavior and revenue metrics. These present a deeper dive of your UX to follow up the customer journey analysis.” 

Here are just a few of the metrics you can appraise for a granular UX performance check:

Hover Rate: The percentage of pageviews in which visitors hovered over the zone at least once, determining which zones are consumed the most. This helps you rank zones and assess if they are consulted properly, by weighing in factors like averages of other zones and the page length. 

Click Recurrence: represents the average number of times a zone was clicked when engaged with during a pageview. This exposes either engagement or frustration. For example, a high click recurrence on a carousel is good news, as it shows a high engagement with an element offering many clickable areas.

It can also point to frustration. For example, if users click on the same element multiple times — such as an image or link, it means the element is drawing up errors; it’s either unclickable or not performing its function correctly. 

Conversion Rate Per Click: Applying only to clickable zone, this metric relays if clicking on a zone impacts the user’s behavior or conversion goal.This helps you determine which elements contribute to or deter from conversions. A conversion can be any behavior you set. 

Exposure Rate: identifies how far down a page a user scrolls; it’s accounted for when at least half of a zone is viewed. This helps you understand how much users scroll, allowing you to make empirical sizing adjustments.

Attractiveness Rate: Relays the percentage of visitors who clicked on a zone after having been exposed to it. This informs you on optimizing the placement of content on your page. For example, if more users click below the fold, you should move that content further up for more of them to see it quicker. A high rate proves the high performing attractiveness of an element.

Segmenting Your Users for UX Comparisons

After you analyzed the elements of your page with granular behavior metrics, you’ll need to analyze further, by conducting comparisons. This will help you determine what comprises an underperforming UX more clearly. To do this, you would need to compare a good behavior with a bad behavior.

Comparing the experience of visitors who accomplished the goal of a page with those who didn’t, will further confirm what needs fixing. You can carry out a zoning analysis on these two segments as well as make comparisons on each metric. 

This allows you to catch where non-converting visitors tend to hover and where they are more inactive. But most importantly, it allows you to weigh this data against the users who did convert/ achieve what they came to your site to do. 

“For example, you can build a segment for the users who saw a 404 error page and compare it with the ones who had the same issue across different journeys or those who didn’t run into it,” explained Ying. “Additionally, you can create a segment around users who clicked on a CTA, deepening their journey against a segment of users who didn’t, or worse, ended their journey on that page.”

Main Examples of UX That Cuts the Customer Journey

One of the attributes of a broken UX is content that doesn’t engage users or is not seen, thus prompting visitors to exit the site. Pages that require too much scrolling, for example, may yield low engagement or little to no views.

For example, a particularly wide banner that takes up much of the screen may be obscuring other content that’s crucial to generating revenue. Some users may not even be aware of the content below the fold. 

“Most high-performing content should have real estate above the fold,” Ying advises. “Does your business have a major campaign or sub campaign running? Post more than one type of content about it above the fold. These can exist as tiles, a carousel or both.”

This source of friction is especially damaging to mobile UX, which has a much smaller screen size than desktop. As such, some functionalities aren’t well suited to be crammed in. “Big banners, images and accordions (vertical menus) push everything down below the fold, so don’t overuse them. You will probably need to scale back on some of these elements to avoid a UX that has turned sour.” 

Another example of poor content occurs when banner usage is slight and/or doesn’t achieve the goal of a page. For example, a banner can send users to a PDP (product details page) that cuts off their browsing journey.

“PDPs, in general, have high bounce rates, as in the case of our retail clients, so you need to be careful what products you send users to, should your banner send them to a PDP (or even a product landing page). Landing on a PDP is especially detrimental to the user experience when the real goal was to send users to a PLP (product landing page), which shows several product options as opposed to a PDP.”

Adobe Stock, via studiostok


Fixing Customer Journeys

Now you know how to move the needle from a high-level UX analysis to a granular level to spot what caused your customers to struggle or give up with your site. After you identify what leads to bad digital experiences, you are all set to start optimizing. Customer experience analytics are your best friend when it comes to augmenting your content ideation strategy.

Since it allows you to meticulously identify digital experience issues, it fastracks you to brainstorming sessions to rectify the issues in a data-backed way. Some things will be clearer than others. For example, if you find 404 errors and other dead-end pages, the quick fix is the get rid of them, or replace them with the proper pages. 

“For example, if an item is no longer in stock, or no longer being digitally offered, make sure it doesn’t yield the 404 error. But if it’s a product users can purchase, or if a page offers any other type of conversion (signing up for content, etc.), make sure your page is functional and devoid of any confusing elements,” said Ying.”

 

Hero image via Adobe Stock, by Marvi7