Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Transactions Peak as Digital Becomes the Only Store (Update 6)

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

After weeks of browsing for necessities only and preparing their homes for weeks (months?) of quarantine, consumers everywhere are resuming some of their normal buying behaviors. And with non-essential stores closed indefinitely in many western countries, digital is providing most of the answers to customer needs today.

We have captured and analyzed billions of user sessions since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, and have been sharing week-by-week updates on the latest trends in consumer behavior across industries.

Our study includes more than 5.6 billion sessions and 27 billion page views, captured over the last 14 weeks of 2020, from January 6th 2020 to April 5th 2020. To understand how Covid-19 is affecting global eCommerce, we’ve compared recent weeks to the period immediately preceding the global reporting of the outbreak (or, the first 6 weeks of the year, which we call the reference period).

In last week’s update we wrote about the surge in traffic and transactions recorded in the grocery sector, but also the increases observed across KPIs in the fashion industry. 

These are the trends we recorded this week:

Traffic and Transactions Surge as eCommerce Habits Resume

Total visits across all industries were up +3.2% last week from the previous week, contributing to a +10.3% increase since the very start of the outbreak (or, reference week). We also recorded a +18.0% surge in transactions in the last week, bringing the total increase in the number of transactions since the beginning of the crisis to +32.6%.

What does this tell us? That after dedicating the first few weeks of home quarantine to procuring the most basic of necessities — starting with food and health items, and then moving on to home office and fitness equipment — consumers are now resuming some of their normal shopping habits.

And with non-essential brick-and-mortar stores still closed in many places, digital has shifted from convenience to necessity when it comes to making routine purchases. With traffic and transactions remaining steady or increasing across many of the verticals we analyzed, we are observing digital compensate for the pausing of offline retail.

Impact of the Coronavirus on digital traffic since the beginning of the outbreak:

Coronavirus impact on online traffic by industry

Impact of the Coronavirus on digital transactions since the beginning of the outbreak:

Coronavirus impact on eCommerce transactions

 

Home Decor and DIY Sectors Get Digital Makeover

Faced with the prospect of several more weeks at least of home quarantine, many consumers spent some of their time and budget this week on improving — or at least thinking of improving — their pad. 

Some have found it hard to stare at their apartment or house all day without itching to make improvements, and consumers clocked in +46.8% more hours browsing furniture and DIY supplies since the start of the oubreak. This is the greatest increase in browsing time recorded across all industries.

Last week in particular saw a sharp increase in the volume of visits to websites from this sector  (+22.8%). Many consumers last week hit purchase on items to upgrade their home office or living space, with a big +52.3% increase in the number of transactions compared to the previous week. In fact, this collective enthusiasm for home improvement and furniture has caused transactions in the Home Decor/DIY sector to more than double since the beginning of the outbreak (+101.4%).

The sector also recorded a +82.6% increase in the conversions rate — one of the largest rises observed across industries.

Grocery Store Supply and Consumer Demand Align

Visits to grocery sites were down for the first time in six weeks, dropping -9.3% last week compared to the previous week. But despite this slow down, overall traffic volume has grown a massive +189% since the beginning of the outbreak. 

Meanwhile, transactions were up +19.6% last week from the previous week, contributing to an +80% increase since the beginning of the outbreak.

The combination of this slight dip in visits and increase in purchases could signify that customers are slightly more realistic this week about the delivery slot situation (scarce!), and are perhaps more accustomed to and willing to agree to product substitutions. Grocery stores everywhere have risen to the challenge of increasing consumer reliance on home delivery, and have come up with innovative ways of managing shifting customer behaviors.

 

Grocery sector: Traffic (Index 100: pre covid-19):

Traffic supermarkt

Grocery sector: Transactions (Index 100: pre covid-19):

And Then There’s Tiger King

While visits to TV/Streaming sites have grown a healthy +25.2% since the start of the crisis, transactions have escalated +125.9% as consumers look for alternatives to in-person socializing.

Interestingly, last week, both transactions and visits were down since the previous week (-16.8% and -12.5% respectively) — perhaps reflecting the fact that many consumers have now picked out and signed up for the subscription services/Netflix shows that will get them through quarantine.

Beauty Sector Sees a Spike in Visits and Transactions

As consumers resume some of their eCommerce routines (and run out of face cream or their favorite shampoo), personal care purchases are once more a thing, following on the heels of a bit of a resurgence two weeks ago. This renewed interest also reflects the way many players in the beauty industry have been focusing their promotions and homepage campaigns on hand soap and other necessities. 

In fact, the Beauty and Cosmetics sector recorded an impressive +24.3% increase in visits last week compared to the previous week, coupled with a +36.7% surge in transactions. This contributes to a whopping +106.1% boost in the number of transactions since the start of the outbreak, for a modest +14.2% increase in the volume of visits.

 

Cosmetics / Fashion sectors: Traffic (Index 100: pre covid-19):

 

Cosmetics / Fashion sectors: Transactions (Index 100: pre covid-19):

Moving Up the Maslow Pyramid of Needs

The Fashion sector recorded a second week of growth in the volume of transactions (+20% compared to the previous week). This sector is now above pre-Covid-19 levels with a recorded +22.9% increase in the number of transactions since the start of the oubreak. 

There seems to also be light at the end of the tunnel for the Luxury and Watch /Jewelry sectors, with transactions still below normal but up last week by respectively +18.5% and +53.5%.

At the top of the Maslow pyramid of needs, it is worth noting that the Tourism and Events sectors are still completely amorphous with -90% dip in the number of transactions compared to our reference week.

 

Luxury / Jewelry sector: Traffic (Index 100: pre covid-19):

 

Luxury / Jewelry sector: Transactions (Index 100: pre covid-19):

We will keep monitoring the data over the coming weeks to bring you timely updates on how events are impacting various sectors. In the meantime, sign up to our upcoming webinar, Showing Up For Your Digital Customers (Apr 15 @ 1PM ET) — a discussion around how to adapt to consumers’ fast-changing needs with our Head of Strategy Jean-Marc Bellaiche and special guests from Kohl’s.

Feature image by stokkete

 

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. 

Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Consumers Settle Into Quarantine (Update 4)

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

As more and more cities and regions across the world adopt lockdown and shelter-in-place measures, digital consumer patterns are once again shifting to reflect new needs and ways to adjust to an altered reality.

We’ve been analyzing billions of user sessions every day to bring you week-by-week updates on global browsing behaviors across industries. We have broadened our approach to include more than 4.8 billion sessions and 23 billion page views over the last 12 weeks of 2020, from January 6th 2020 to March 23rd 2020. To understand how the fast-evolving situation has impacted global eCommerce, we’ve compared recent weeks to the period immediately preceding the global reporting of the outbreak (or, the first 6 weeks of the year which we call the reference period).

In last week’s update, we referenced American psychologist’s Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, illustrated as a pyramid, with the lower tiers covering the most basic of needs, including food, safety, social needs etc. What we observed this week is that, after focusing their efforts on securing the most basic of needs such as groceries, health products and financing, consumers have been shifting their online activity to focus on items and services that will help get them through an extended period of isolation.

Coronavirus impact on eCommerce traffic

impact of coronavirus on ecommerce transactions

Online Grocery Stores Struggling To Keep Up With Demand

Traffic to online grocery stores shot up +84% in the last week, contributing to an overall +161% increase in visits since  February16. The number of transactions, however, was down -15% last week, in stark difference to the 32% increase recorded the week before. We have observed that in many countries, as consumers increasingly turn to online supermarkets to keep their pantries stocked, delivery slots are running low and some products are unavailable, resulting in a higher number of abandoned carts. At the extreme, in the UK, supermarket chain Iceland has restricted online shopping to “over state pension age, self-isolating and other vulnerable people.”

Retail healthcare clocked in a steady number of visits in the last week but significantly fewer transactions (down -35%), suggesting consumers may have already stocked up on essential medical supplies, vitamins, etc. to last them for the weeks to come.

As some grocery and retail healthcare players experience supply chain issues, it is worth noting that transactions on cosmetics websites were up last week by +33% from zero the previous week. Many beauty players have indeed decided to refocus their offering, with much success, on necessities such as soap and hand cleaning products.

 

Consumers Get Equipped To Stay Indoors

With a huge part of the workforce now officially in WFH mode, and a great number of children switching to e-learning, many consumers spent some time this week upgrading their hardware. Tech retail sites recorded a +20% increase in traffic in the last week — higher than the total jump in visits since February16 (+15%). The sector also recorded a higher number of purchases than any other week we analyzed, with a +30% increase in transactions. As a comparison point, the week immediately preceding this one had shown no change in the number of transactions.

Visits to sites specializing in books and toys increased +25% in the same period — double the total increase since the start of the outbreak. As parents everywhere contemplated weeks of homeschooling and indoor play, the number of transactions followed suit, with a +140% increase in the last week only.

And despite a -2% dip in the number of visits, sports retailers saw a +30% increase in the number of transactions this past week, a significant increase compared to the changes recorded in previous weeks. As social distancing measures limit people’s ability to go to the gym or take part in group sports, consumers are making sure they have the right equipment to keep up with their fitness regime at home. This is true in particular in the US with more than 60M American members of a gym club now in need to work out from home!

 

coronavirus impact on ecommerce transactions

 

Traffic to Media and Streaming Sites Peaks

Visits to TV/streaming sites went up +34% in the last week — almost three times the increase recorded during the previous week, and +43% since the start of the outbreak. Transactions for the sector doubled week on week, with a +108% increase over the previous seven days.

Media sites continue to record a weekly traffic increase (+24% this week), steadily adding up to a +80% increase since the start of reporting.

Connectivity has taken on a whole new importance in people’s lives over the last few weeks and the telecom sector is continuing to see its traffic grow. The +7% increase in visits to telecom sites this last week is half the spike in traffic observed three weeks ago, implying many customers have now made sure they are properly connected to weather the next few weeks or months.

Tourism and Real Estate Continue to Suffer

Following three weeks of relative stability and a slight dip two weeks ago, the real estate sector recorded a huge dip in traffic this past week — -46% compared to -52% since the beginning of the outbreak.

The travel and hospitality sector continues to experience a slowdown in traffic, which was down – 44% last week. Transactions were also down -67%, contributing to a decrease of -81% since the start of the crisis. Luggage sites followed suit, with a -42% decrease in visits — the biggest drop since we started our analysis.

Meanwhile, visits to fashion and luxury sites were down approximately -15% this past week, and apparel sites in particular saw a -8% decrease in transactions.

 

For a free walkthrough of the latest data, sign up for our upcoming webinar on March 31st, 1pm. Our CMO Aimee Stone Munsell will be sharing fresh verticalized insights in an effort to help experience stakeholders make sense of the impact we are all experiencing. 

 

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.

 

Phygital CX: The Changing Face of Omnichannel Retail

Not to be outdone by the wordsmiths of this world, the retail industry recently came up with its own neologism, coining the term “phygital” to describe a new form of commerce — one that blends the best of offline and online experiences for an elevated customer experience (CX). 

It may be early days in the world of “phygital” CX, but brands are experimenting away, and coming up with innovative solutions to fit the needs of today’s omnichannel customer.

But how do you build links between a digital platform and physical store? What experience transfers are already proving successful in terms of engagement and conversions? And how do you make digital features work in the physical world, and vice versa?

What’s certain is that the line between eCommerce and brick-and-mortar is more blurry than ever. The reality is that digital has transformed everyday life. Many of our daily activities — work, communication and of course, consumption — play out in the digital realm. 

In fact, we have fully become phygital beings, and retailers are racing to adapt the customer experience to reflect our evolving needs and expectations. 

THE CUSTOMER IS KING

Consumers today expect seamless omnichannel journeys. But that’s not all they are looking for — they also want choice, and they want to feel special. And VIPs love nothing more than customized product or services!  

Digital has unlocked new opportunities for retailers, but has also made things slightly more complicated. Consumers are no longer looking for the cheapest product or best customer assistance — they seek excellence throughout the customer experience.

“Today we’re seeing a real convergence between online and offline, with many advantages for consumers,” explains Jérôme Malzac, Innovation Officer at Wide Agency. 

“On the eCommerce front: easy search, time-saving, the ability to order wherever, whenever… When it comes to local shopping, the human and physical dimensions are incredibly important, as well as contact between the retailer and the customer — advice, service, getting more info on a product and how quickly it can be purchased.”

LEVERAGING CUSTOMER INTELLIGENCE FOR A SUPERIOR CX

One of the main challenges for brands today is delivering intelligent customer journeys that are adapted to every customer. Collecting and aggregating customer behavior data can help brands identify pain points along the customer journey (both online and offline). But it doesn’t stop there, as a granular data collection allows brands to effectively personalize the experience and services. 

“Thanks to data, we can follow our customers along their journey both on and offline, and suggest relevant products to them. For example, a woman who has just purchased newborn clothes will get suggestions for baby shoes,” explains Vanessa Guignoux, head of digital and eCommerce at Gémo.

Integrating mobile app localization can also help brands deliver useful information to customers at the right time, and make their store visit more efficient. Brands can optimize a store visit based on a digital shopping list, for example. And understanding app behavior allows teams to maximize the role of smartphones in facilitating a great CX at every touchpoint.

“Digital makes omnichannel possible, and allows access to things that were only possible in the physical world, removing obstacles to purchase, understanding, sharing and knowledge. In the other direction, from digital to physical, we see gains on the human, emotional front,” explains Yann Carré, head of the marketing communication cycle for Decathlon. 

“But you need to maximize this potential. The most important thing is to have a completely responsive website, one that can be browsed and visited from any device, be it desktop, tablet or smartphone. To illustrate this, for over a year now, more people visit the Decathlon site on a smartphone than a desktop. All of our content (image, text, video, comparison tools, 3D) are conceived to be accessible digitally and to complete the offline and in-store experience.”

With consumer needs and expectations evolving fast, agility and continuous monitoring of customer behavior have never been more important. Digital teams need to analyze the way customers interact with their digital properties as part of their daily workflow. And adopting a design thinking approach and test & learn strategy allows teams to react quickly and keep up with customer expectations.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Armed with a better understanding of their customers, digital retailers and brick-and-mortar stores have started to adopt a phygital CX strategy. Drive-throughs, in-store lockers, click & collect and online reservation are just some of the ways brands have integrated offline and online to improve omnichannel CX. 

Brands have also been exploring the benefits of expanding the reliance on digital in-store, removing typical customer frustrations prevalent in physical stores such as: low inventory, or a certain size not being available. Sales assistants now use tablets to help customers complete an in-store purchase online. Some brands even mix in-store help with added online services to offer product personalization, for example.

“Our sales assistants and department managers have access to the same information as our customers via smartphone, tablet or interactive in-store touch-screens. But they’re also able to analyze buyer behavior from a mobile number or email address. By checking their information system, they can view the purchase history and searches, and engage Mr. D with advice, product suggestions, etc,” said Yann Carré. 

“And each department manager also has all the information that will allow them to make pricing, inventory and merchandising decisions. For example, if a competitor is offering a more competitive price on a particular item, they are empowered to change the price of this particular model to match or to offer a more competitive price. They can predict how this will impact sales either positively or negatively. They have all the intelligence they need to make important decisions completely autonomously.” 

Phygital logic also drives a store’s merchandising strategy. For example, if an item gets anything less than a 3 out of 5 customer score, it is removed from both the online and offline store in order to be improved.

There are many other innovations on the horizon. Monoprix, for example, is hoping to speed up in-store checkout with its Monop’Easy solution. It’s simple: customers scan their items via the mobile app, pay, and receive their receipt by email. 

Sephora also offers a mobile app that blends digital and physical realities, allowing users to test out makeup thanks to AR, and delivering info and advice to in-store customers as they are browsing the physical aisles. And beauty brand Passion Beauté has been inviting social media influencers into their stores.

Pure players have also been playing the phygital game, coming up with concept stores that allow them to get closer to their customers. In New York, you can rent pajamas and a book a bed for a 45-minute nap at Casper’s Dreamery. 

Sezane, which started off as a pure player, has opened showrooms it calls “apartments,” where shoppers can browse exclusive designs and new releases in a cozy, trendy setting. 

Brands are constantly coming up with unique ways to explore the transitions between digital and physical, and elevate the click-and-mortar experience. “We want to be (to sports) what Airbnb is to accommodation and travel,” says Yann Carré. “We want to offer more than just the value of the product and create value around sports, too. 

The more people do sports, the more opportunities there will be for us to connect with them, and sometimes, even if not always, that will transform into a purchase.”

 

What Not to Do on the Homepage: UX Advice for Fashion Retail 

The homepage is often a key webpage for direct and organic search channels for players in the retail fashion industry. In addition to being a crucial step in the browsing process for users, it’s also an opportunity for businesses to introduce and showcase their brand identity through editorials and fashion trends.

However, according to the data we collected in Q1 of 2019, fashion retail homepage bounce rates were as high as 40% across all devices. Users also still spend an average session time of 7min on desktop and 3min 41s on mobile. (Remember, Contentsquare measures bounce rate as having only seen the single page and leaving the site). 

It can be difficult to know what kinds of design iterations will help prevent users from exiting without having viewed at least a few product pages. It’s also impossible to create the perfect homepage, but we have some great tips to follow if you’re looking to improve the design of your fashion eCommerce homepage. 

Don’t place text on cluttered areas of images

Although images and photography are crucial for communicating brand identity and editorial content, make sure you choose images that are text-friendly. Place text over emptier areas of the image, change the image, or place text on an overlay. Always use white text unless brand guidelines say otherwise. Users tend to skip over text that is too long, too small, or just difficult to read. Keep in mind: any information must be easy to digest at a fast pace, especially for mobile users.

Don’t make the hero image the full length of the page

If you’re showcasing your Fall/Winter looks, consider using a static banner —a prominent, single banner on the page that does not have rotating content, one that allows other content to be seen above the fold. We often find the exposure rate — how far down the page visitors scroll — drops drastically below the fold line. 

A hero image that spans the full length of the page could mislead users into thinking there is no other content. Because the average length of mobile pages is around 3,400px, we need to encourage users as much as possible to scroll past the fold line.

Don’t automate carousels

If you’re showcasing new collections or promoting sitewide discounts, avoid automatically rotating slides within the carousel. Instead, use static carousels that do not include more than three slides to allow users an opportunity to digest both the image and information in each slide. Users should be able to use arrows to easily move from one slide to another. 

Although there is a big debate in the design world over whether carousels are effective, we see much less exposure and engagement on the second and third slides. Automating carousels can rob users of control over the experience and as a result, they are more likely to ignore it if the slide moves too quickly for them to read.

Don’t hide primary CTAs or category links below the fold

Instead, make sure they are clearly above the fold line; try placing them on an uncluttered area of the image. You want to encourage users to immediately begin browsing, whether it leads them to a category page or list page for product catalogs that are currently being prioritized. 

Try placing a horizontal category slider at the top of the page and evaluate whether that improves your users’ browsing process. 

 

 

Showcase editorial content that is space-conscious and easy to interact with

Make sure that any editorial images on the homepage lead the users to specific categories, seasonal collections, or product pages. Giving them a purpose beyond aesthetics encourages users to explore beyond just the homepage and can help increase session time.

Here is a great example from Ralph Lauren:

 

 

The above image on the left showcases the bag as both aesthetic and functional, enticing users with beautiful photography, while leading them to the product page. The text is succinct, easy-to-read, and placed on an uncluttered area of the image. 

The carousel placed on the right provides even more options for the user to view additional products for the upcoming season. Both the image and carousel do not extend past the screen, making it easy to view. Part of the content of the next section is viewable, avoiding the false bottom and encouraging users to scroll further.

Making design iterations to your site never ends. As user behaviors continue to evolve faster than ever, it’s important to continuously evaluate and reassess the performance of individual elements on your pages. It’s important to make design changes based on the needs of your user base, not the general users of the industry. 

Don’t forget to regularly check on other players in your industry for inspiration, as there is much to learn from the digital experiences and websites you enjoy. But remember, just because a competitor does it, doesn’t mean they are improving the experience of their users. So be inspired, yes, but consult your own customer data before implementing changes.

 

Hero Image Via: Rawpixel.com, Adobe Stock

Summer Marketing Campaigns: What 18.6 Million Visitor Sessions Reveal About Summer Sales

With summer drawing to a close, we thought it would be a good time to review one of the season’s most popular digital objectives: summer sales. Never ones to miss out on a data opportunity, we surveyed millions of digital visitor sessions to understand exactly how consumers interact with summer promotions, and how these campaigns are impacting revenue for brands.

In this article, we’ll share what online summer shopping reveals about desktop and mobile use, as well as the difference in digital behavior between buyers and nonbuyers. Relying on unique behavioral and revenue attribution metrics to understand how shoppers consume digital content, we’ll be sharing key insights into the customer journeys of summer bargain hunters.

Summer Sales in the Digital Experience Defined

A summer sale — in the context of digital experience — is defined as a marketing campaign centered on promotions and deals that explicitly mention the season. It often manifests in banners or carousels, with call-outs that feature discounts, naturally ones that allude to the summer. 

In this way, summer marketing campaigns are more broadly encompassing; they don’t refer to just a single holiday such as the Fourth of July and as such, can exist longer than a typical, holiday-focused sale. 

In terms of UX and website design, summer sales take precedence in a designated section of a page, such as a menu, slideshow, or the aforementioned banners.

Methodology

For the purpose of this article, we analyzed customer interactions across 8 websites, in four retail sub-sectors: apparel, accessories, beauty and jewelry. We included all visitor sessions on these sites for the month of July (July 1st – 31st).

Our survey on summer sales drew data from 18.6 million user sessions with a total of 122.4 million pages collected. From this wide set of data, we were able to glean a twofold macro comparison: that of typical behavior on desktop vs. mobile and tablet, and that of buyers vs nonbuyers during the summer sales period we studied in the US. 

Let’s learn how summer sales in 2019 performed in the ecommerce retail industry, in addition to how visitors interacted with summer sales content.


Device Performance for Summer Sales in 2019: Desktop Vs Mobile Vs Tablet

Conversions:

The biggest conversion driver for summer marketing campaigns in 2019 was desktop sales, par for the course based on the findings from our mobile report. Coming in at 4%, the average desktop conversion rate is double that of mobile. This manifests even more prominently in the average cart, which is 14.7% higher on desktop than on mobile — $106.99 on desktop, vs $93.30 on mobile. 

Meanwhile, the average cart on tablet is extraordinarily close to that of desktop, at $106.68. This average is inversely related to summer sales traffic by device, since mobile reaps the highest traffic: 68.01% of sessions, representing a whopping 12.65 million sessions. This number dwarfs tablet sessions, which garner only 5.72% of traffic. Desktop traffic came squarely in between at 26.15%.

Bounce Rates:

Much in keeping with our mobile report, mobile also bore the highest share of bounces, which averaged in at 41% — 6% higher than the desktop rate of 35%. The bounce rate on tablet was in between at 38%.

Time Per Session, Number of Pageviews & Time Spent on Site:

With an average session time of 8 minutes 9 seconds and 6.9 pageviews per session, the data shows that the bulk of summer sale browsing occurs on desktop. Mobile had the lowest stats on both accounts, with an average session time of 4 minutes 8 seconds, across 5.4 pageviews.

Despite mobile visitors seemingly unwilling to linger too long on a site, this audience still rakes in the highest sales volume with 257,000 sales, vs 222,608 for desktop. Nonetheless, desktop revenue remained the highest at $24.8 million.

So what does this tell us? That the gap between user expectations and user experience on mobile prevails, as desktop reigns supreme, with its lowest bounce rates and highest conversions. But with mobile traffic beating out all device types, mobile still presents a tremendous revenue opportunity.

Summer Sales 2019: Zooming In On The Homepage

The first thing we noticed when analyzing homepage interactions was that all summer sale shoppers click mostly on the menu to get to the products (28.10% click rate). The Sale tab on the menu drives only 2.88% of clicks versus 4.91% on the sale banner. It appears that when looking for a shortcut to a summer deal, shoppers will sooner click the banner than the Sale section on the navigation bar.

Although it has a fairly low click rate compared to the rest of the menu, the Sale tab on the menu boasts a healthy Conversion Rate per Click — 11.46% versus 6.35% for the menu — implying that those who do click on it are determined to convert. 

However, the Sale tab was defeated by the sales banners, which generate the highest conversion rate per click at 12.09%.

The high hesitation time on the banner (1.41% versus 0.92% for the Sale tab on the menu) points to a need for optimization; perhaps the wording isn’t clear, or visitors are not sure where or what to click.

Summer Sales: Comparing The Behavior of Buyers And Nonbuyers

Buyer Vs Nonbuyers: Time on Page

We found that shoppers who ended up making a purchase spent almost twice as long browsing as those who didn’t buy anything (28 minutes versus 15 minutes). Buyers also consume many more pages than nonbuyers: 28 vs only 6 by nonbuyers. 

Once they’re on the page, however, they essentially dedicate the same amount of attention to it — 58 seconds for buyers vs 53 seconds for those who don’t complete a purchase. These two audiences also appear to scroll in a similar fashion, with a 59% scroll rate for buyers and 57% for nonbuyers.

Visitors who made purchases consistently exhibited the highest number of pageviews across a wide scope of pages, including category, product and checkout. They viewed three times as many product pages on average than nonbuyers, and more than twice the number of category pages. 

Buyers Vs Nonbuyers: Interaction, Interest & Hesitation 

Overall, buyers were more likely to interact with the search bar than those who stuck to window-shopping, with 26% more clicks on this element. Much like other consumers, shoppers who end up making a purchase tended to access their summer bargains via banners instead of the Sale tab on the menu — 6.20% versus 2.90%. 

To maximize sales, make sure the search bar is prominent — making it sticky assures its viability no matter how far users scroll — and offer the best deals on your banners to take advantage of this interest.

Nonbuyers manifested a larger degree of interest for the homepage menu, with an almost 10% higher click rate than buyers. Nonbuyers were about as likely to click on the Sale tab as buyers (that is to say, not that much), but nonbuyers exhibit a much lower float time on this element, suggesting they are just as keen to score a bargain.

Their higher menu engagement and low hesitation time imply that non-buying visitors are interested in products, but may not have found exactly what they were looking for. Therein lies the need to optimize your homepage elements for this group, particularly the menu; distinct items that are hard to categorize should have their own menu category, or at least exist as a sub-category. 

Nonbuyers have a considerably higher average time before first click on the Sales banner, search bar, Sale tab and menu elements, showing that they ingest content much longer before clicking on it. 

Their hesitation also points to a more cautious attitude. Buyers arrive at summer sales elements with the intent to buy, while nonbuyers are far more careful, which inhibits them from buying. Thus, it is best to accentuate the savings aspect of your sales, sometimes across each item to lure in nonbuyers. Perhaps they won’t convert the first time around, but this will bring them back.

Tips to Optimize Your Summer Sales Campaigns

Understanding how visitor segments interact with promotional elements such as banners and the Sale tab on your menu is the first step to understanding how these areas of your site may fall short of user expectations. Optimizing the experience based on the unique behavior trends associated with various device and segments will ensure you make the most of the season’s revenue potential.

One of the first things you should do is look into what’s causing high bounce rates on mobile. This can be due to your touch areas being too small and other easy design fixes that can put an end to user frustration and therefore, exits. 

There could also be a variety of internal issues on your mobile site or app hindering your UX  and we provide 3 areas of improvement to optimize the mobile UX. Tablet users may also face the same issues that mobile users confront and can therefore rely on similar optimization tactics.

Whether they end up clicking the Purchase button or not, visitors tend to be more attracted to promotional banners than to the Sale tab on your navigation bar, so it is important to concert your tactics on optimizing this region. Take advantage of the higher engagement on the banner by highlighting products through images and text call-outs and maximize interactions by making the entire area clickable. 

Given that the menu receives the highest click rate among buyers and nonbuyers, you should focus your UX efforts on this element as well. Capitalize on it by including all the necessary categories possible on desktop, but keep it simpler on mobile. Make sure it includes a Sale tab for visitors who want a shortcut to discounted products. 

How The North Face Optimized Its Gift Guide By Leveraging Customer Experience Intelligence

Although we’re slightly past mid-summer and have got quite a way to go before the mercury significantly drops, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holiday shopping season. Aside from which products you want to highlight and which promotions to push for the season of gift-giving, you’re keenly going to need to fine-tune your digital strategy. Otherwise, a UX left unoptimized for the holidays won’t reap the sweet bump in holiday conversions.

Optimizing the customer experience (CX) for the holiday shopping season begins with… you guessed it, your customers. There is much you can learn from the data on your visitors’ behaviors during the holiday shopping season — make sure these insights don’t go to waste! Our case study with one of our top clients, The North Face, shows that the proof is indeed in the pudding, as our granular insights informed key CX changes for the 2018 holiday shopping season.

The North Face & Its Primary Holiday Shopping Challenge: The Gift Guide

The North Face is a top-name brand that offers outdoor gear, particularly activewear and equipment to athletes, the athletically-inclined and anyone who wants to go on adventures and look stylish doing so.

Originating as a San Franciscan storefront, the brand has been investing heavily in its online customer experience to better serve the digital community of North Face aficionados. We worked with the gear company to help the team optimize a key digital asset for its 2018 holiday shopping season: its online holiday gift guide.

This gift guide is an annual online experience that helps customers find the right gifts through a wide index of products designated for the holidays. This content serves a critical purpose in aiding Q4 sales and maximizing the mighty potential of the season.

The gift guide was strategically set to go live in October, right before the high tide in holiday traffic, which granted the digital team ample time to analyze the digital engagement of early-bird shoppers. Through a granular analysis of digital interactions, The North Face was able to continue its strategic approach to its holiday shopping campaign, as it directed its UX findings to adjust the experience prior to initiating its gifting-centered marketing campaign.

The North Face is well-known for its outdoor and sporting gear.


Putting UX Analytics to Use

As part of its analysis of the Gift Guide, the digital team surveyed customer interactions on a per-page basis, to reel in a comprehensive understanding of the guide’s performance. The team specifically was on the lookout for frustration and friction points in the customer journey

The team looked at exposure rate, which takes into account how far down a page a user is scrolling and considers a zone seen when over half of it was viewed by a user. 

The North Face continued the UX analysis by studying the click recurrence (which measures engagement and frustration), the click-through rate (calculation of pageviews and clicks) and attractiveness rate (attractiveness of an element, dealing with clicks after exposure). What they found allowed them to make UX decisions rooted in data, which lead to several improvements.

The digital team at The North Face used heat maps and a variety of unique metrics for measuring the user experience of its Gift Guide.


Findings & Actions Taken to Yield an Improved User Experience

The digital team at The North Face analyzed the exposure rate of various elements of the guide, which sets forth how far down a user scrolls. It also dictates that a zone is seen once over half of it was viewed by a user. 

This analysis displayed a low exposure rate of the category CTAs, pointing to a need of adjusting the CTAs above the fold to improve their exposure. This UX change proved to be an improvement, as it brought the exposure rate of the CTAs up by 50%. This resulted in an increased visibility of each gifting category.

Heeding the click recurrence, the team unearthed a frustration stemming from multiple clicks on the hero image. This pointed to the fact that the hero wasn’t entirely clickable, so the team made it so, not just the product. This brought down the click recurrence of the hero to a satisfactory rate, with far fewer clicks since all of it was clickable.

The click recurrence metric also informed the team that there were multiple clicks on links to head to the Women’s Gift Guide page — even though users were already there. Through this insight, the team placed a header title to the page to make visitors aware of their presence on this destination within the site. Consequently, this action also reduced the click recurrence. 

As far as merchandising optimizations go, the digital team observed the click-through rate and attractiveness rate of each gift category. Through these, they were able to discern which categories were the most popular, as well as the importance of the position of these categories on the page. As such, the team moved the most popular ones further above the page to access the most popular items quicker.

The gift guide left users unbeknown that they were already on the Women’s Gift Guide page, unlike this clear-cut section on the website.


Optimizing Holiday Shopping Campaigns

Holiday shopping campaigns, much like many other retail campaigns, require a keen understanding of customer intent and engagement. Customer journeys are never stagnant, so you’ll notice that they alter — even among some common trends from season to season. That’s why you have to constantly monitor them, otherwise, you’re not getting the full picture of how customers and potential customers navigate your website, their frustrations and conversion opportunities.

Looking to granular analytics, the kind that can provide on-page behavior and interactions per element is a cure to the UX ignorance of your site. That’s because this kind of digital analysis doesn’t only show, it tells, particularly the correct implementations to your digital experience. This will assure you don’t remain in the dark on your UX during for the holiday shopping season for 2019, which is fast approaching.

 

Why Our Turnkey Salesforce B2C Commerce Integration Is A Game Changer For E-Commerce Experience Makers Everywhere

Today we give our clients the ability to quiz their digital properties about customer engagement and turn these answers into visual UX cues that can be leveraged by anyone on the digital team. The natural next step in democratizing data for all digital experience makers is to make our specialized metrics available where they can have greater reach and more impact — right in a team’s eCommerce dashboard.

That’s why we’re thrilled to be joining forces with the world-class Salesforce B2C Commerce platform, and giving brands a shortcut to our solution through the Salesforce LINK Partner Marketplace. Now, teams using Salesforce B2C Commerce can directly access our exclusive KPIs to understand the fastest ways to increase conversion, revenue and overall digital happiness.

By adding Contentsquare to your Salesforce B2C Commerce, you can understand what’s driving your conversion numbers, run meaningful A/B tests, measure the ROI of creative content, and make the most of your acquisition spend. And you can do this across your entire ecommerce team, day in and day out.

Insights For All (Or, No More Optimizing In The Dark)

A doctor wouldn’t prescribe drugs without knowing what was wrong with their patient. And you wouldn’t dream of putting on makeup in the dark. So why do so many UX improvements still stem from something as error-prone as instinct? Or from click data that assumes all customers have the same intent, needs, and goals across all web sites? Or from an analysis not readily accessible to those making the decisions?

Customers are telling you what they expect from your specific brand’s site or app experience with every click, scroll, or hover. Our solution captures all these interactions and translates them to a language anyone can understand. This means you don’t need to rely on analysts to crunch the numbers for you — from eMerchandising to art direction, everyone can access the same clear insights into which actions need to be prioritized.

Our integration with Salesforce creates a shortcut to these insights inside your eCommerce platform. No need to see experience-building and experience-improving as two separate things — now your team can improve continuously inside one system, and reduce speed to optimization.

Because our one-click insights come in a format that is digestible and makes sense to everyone, your team can quickly agree on priorities and be confident in their impact. By understanding what your specific customers want from your brand, your team can create a unique brand experience that is relevant to customers and rewarding to your bottom line.  

Digital Happiness: There’s A New E-Commerce KPI On The Block

Many psychologists will tell you that being understood is even more valued than being loved. And value is exactly what brands are expected to bring to the table today. Knowing where your customers exit and whether or not they convert is interesting. But knowing why they left and why the journey didn’t end in a purchase is actionable.

That’s why we analyze all mouse movements, including Hovers and Scrolls, and why we’ve developed unique metrics such as Attractiveness and Conversions Per Click; we take into account how consumers engage with all your content to give you a richer understanding than a simple page exit rate ever can. When you consider that over 50% of content never gets viewed, you realize the depth of the gulf you have to cross to establish an emotional brand preference that results in sales, margin and loyalty.

The digital trailblazers at GoPro have already been leveraging the power of our next-gen analytics with Salesforce B2C Commerce with great success — with results such as an 80% increase in conversions.

With storytelling such a huge part of GoPro’s offering and of the GoPro.com experience, the brand has a vital need to tell a rich digital story while encouraging direct-to-consumer conversions. For everyone’s favorite lifestyle brand, that meant enriching the experience with bold, brand-relevant content in a way that also positively impacted the ultimate sales.

Supercharge Your eCommerce With Turnkey Integration

Right now there are more than 350 brands who regularly rely on Contentsquare insights as a part of their workflow. Today you too can access this level of customer understanding in Salesforce B2C Commerce in a few clicks. We look forward to welcoming you into our community.

 

Contentsquare Helps Brands Grow Revenue and Loyalty Through Exclusive Behavioral Insights Powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Integration with Salesforce B2C Commerce Gives Teams Access to Unique Customer Conversion and Content ROI Metrics Within Their Commerce Dashboard

NEW YORKJune 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Contentsquare, a leading digital experience optimization platform trusted by brands like Avon, Kenzo, Sephora, and GoPro, is making its actionable customer behavior insights available to brands through the Salesforce LINK Partner Marketplace.

Fueled by intelligence, Contentsquare goes beyond traditional KPIs to give brands a granular understanding of the performance of their web, mobile site and app — down to which in-page elements are encouraging visitor engagement and which are stalling conversions. When paired with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Contentsquare’s exclusive engagement and revenue metrics (Content Attractiveness, Revenue per Click, Hesitation Time, etc), Salesforce B2C Commerce clients can quickly see how to streamline their product search process, tailor customer journeys, and enhance content for conversions.

GoPro Story

Global lifestyle brand GoPro uses Contentsquare on a daily basis as its “source of truth” for understanding customer behavior and delivering inspirational experiences to its community of content-hungry fans.

“I have never been more stoked to see a technology solution like this one that makes it easy for businesses like mine to scale quickly and achieve our aggressive goals,” said Kathy Ando, Senior Director of eCommerce, GoPro. “GoPro.com is stronger, smarter, and more prepared to take on massive digital transformation through Contentsquare and Salesforce B2C Commerce. Our Conversion rate has never been this strong, thanks to the actionable insights from Contentsquare and the flexibility SCC affords us. Contentsquare has armed GoPro with the fuel to propel our velocity and Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud is our launching pad.”

Enriched eCommerce

The Contentsquare integration available through the Salesforce LINK Partner Marketplace provides brands like GoPro an enriched eCommerce management experience. Brands no longer have to toggle between systems to understand visitor behavior in order to troubleshoot issues or zero in on best practices. Valuable input from our common customers will continue to shape our integration roadmap throughout 2019.

Empower the Entire Commerce Team

With Contentsquare’s full capabilities at their fingertips — including the CS Live browser extension, which displays KPIs directly onto the brand’s Salesforce B2C Commerce site — the entire eCommerce team can leverage highly visual data to quickly prioritize the UX actions that provide the biggest improvements and identify previously unseen opportunities for growth.

“This integration is the natural next step in our mission to democratize access to insight and empower all experience-builders with access to a deep, straightforward understanding of why customers behave the way they do on their sites and apps,” said Jonathan Cherki, CEO and Founder, Contentsquare. “Consumers today want integrated experiences and so do the teams that are working every day to raise digital standards. We are proud that our experience insights solution is available globally on the Salesforce LINK Partner Marketplace.”

Contentsquare experts and members of the GoPro team will be available at Salesforce Connections 2019, the customer engagement event of the year. The ContentSquare integration for Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud is currently available on the Commerce Cloud Marketplace.

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