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: 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.
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?).
ECommerce: Nurturing Customer Trust in 2020
Customer Trust in eCommerce in the Post-Quarantine Era
With social distancing still in effect in many regions of the world and lingering uncertainty over the timeline of a return to ‘normal,’ brands everywhere are banking on innovation to ensure business continuity.
The coronavirus crisis has forced teams to rethink decades of marketing best practices and forced brands to shift their focus to what really matters to customers today: trust.
From supply chain issues to new health & safety measures via delivery delays — brands have faced significant challenges over the past few months.
Today we will look at how Covid-19 has brought the issue of customer confidence to the forefront, how teams have had to adjust (sometimes in a matter of hours), and how customer trust is more crucial to businesses today than it has ever been.
How customer trust became top priority in less than 48 hours
Customer trust: from important…
You may not even notice them at this point, but they are everywhere.
Whether you’re ordering a new set of headphones on Amazon, a blender at BestBuy or a repeat order of cat food on PetSmart, reassurance elements are peppered throughout the customer journey.
In marketing lingo, reassurance refers to everything a business does to convince a prospect or client that their purchase is risk-free and that trusting their brand is a safe bet.
Secure HTTPS connection, customer reviews on the homepage, post-purchase guarantees — reassurance is present at every step of the user journey.
And the stakes are high.
Competition has never been so great… and neither have customer expectations. Customers today want to know that their transactions are secure and exactly what you plan to do with their personal data.
… to make or break
And then came the Covid-19 crisis, a period we are still navigating, and during which our need for transparency and guarantees has never been so concrete and important.
Remote work, furloughs, layoffs, the adjustment of distribution operations, delivery delays —many businesses have had to rethink their entire supply chain in a matter of hours or days.
Here are some examples of measures put in place by brands to adjust their services to these new challenges:
- Temporary extension of return timeframes to 30 days after store re-openings for Zara:
- Free delivery until store reopenings for Topshop:
- Dedicated shopping hours for the elderly and most-at-risk at Tesco:
- Contactless delivery for food delivery service JustEat:
- Contactless pickup within 48 hours and CTA to download travel permit for French DIY store Castorama:
These are just a few examples of some of the measures implemented overnight by brands across the globe. And as businesses set together the new standards of customer-centricity, it will be interesting to see which of these services and changes are here to stay.
In uncertain times, a lack of clarity in the visitor journey and insufficient guarantees are a surefire way to lose customers.
Customer trust: why doing the minimum is no longer enough
There are two types of elements brands use on their site/app to build customer trust:
- Basic reassurance elements that are today absolutely essential to any eCommerce platform,
- Slightly more advanced reassurance elements that today are key differentiators for brands wanting to stay ahead of the competition.
A – Basic reassurance elements to build up customer trust
You can safely assume that your competitors already have many of these in place. Implementing these on your site is no longer an option, but a question of survival:
- Show the customer service number prominently on your site,
- Make customers know that you provide secure online payments,
- Make sure all payment options are clearly visible,
- Be transparent and clear about you delivery costs,
- Make it easy to consult the exchanges and returns policy,
- Be transparent about the handling of personal data at checkout,
- Showcase customer reviews and feedback,
- Make sure you have rock-solid About Us and Terms & Conditions pages
Of course, don’t forget to adapt all of the above to the mobile experience by displaying only essential elements, adding touch to your site to make calls easier etc
B – Advanced reassurance elements to build up customer trust
Great — you’ve checked all those boxes. We have good news and bad news for you.
Bad news: having all of the above is no longer enough, especially not during these unprecedented times.
Good news: there are three innovative and creative methods to increase customer trust on your digital properties.
Not all of them will be relevant to your activity or audience. Up to you to figure out which will work, depending on your resources and positioning.
Method n°1: reassure visitors through content
While almost 4 billion people quarantining at the same time, the demand for rich, interactive content has never been higher.
No need to drown visitors in ads — instead, help them stay informed and entertained, now and going forward.
Here are some ideas of things you can do to establish customer trust through content:
- Feature an FAQ based on your observations and common visitor queries
- Create exhaustive product descriptions, enhanced with photos and video tutorials
- Offer free, informative content (for example, free Coronavirus news coverage in The New Yorker)
- Leverage your expertise to offer advice and tutorials (for example, The North Face tutorials)
Method n°2: build customer trust through communication
Just because you are separated from them by two screens doesn’t mean you can’t offer your visitors a human experience.
Here are some ways to engage your clients and prospects through communication:
- Include a chat feature so your customers can ask questions directly during a certain timeframe
- Offer an online feedback questionnaire to get better acquainted with their needs and expectations
- Collect customer reviews and feedback — showcase positive reviews and address customer concerns
- Offer free advice sessions (for example, Slack’s remote working consultations)
Method n°3: leverage technology to build customer trust
When it is used correctly, technology can work wonders for eCommerce brands.
Here are several innovative solutions that add real value for customers from the comfort of their sofa:
- Implement web push notifications on your site to offer relevant content to users during their visit
- Leverage VR for virtual try-on
- Reduce disappointment and bounces by managing your supply chain smartly (display stock, receive a notification when an item is back in stock, substitutions, etc…)
Better UX FOR ALL
While it is essential to ensure a seamless journey for all your visitors, you also need to make sure the experience speaks to each and every one of them.
Start by making sure your experience is mobile-friendly, and then customize it to make it more personal.
A – Mobile is king
With mobile now driving the lion’s share of digital traffic since 2018, designing experiences with a mobile-first mindset is no longer optional.
We’ve already spoken at length about m-commerce and its unique characteristics, but here are 4 key things to keep in mind:
- Load time: 53% of visitors will exit your site if the load time is longer than 3 seconds. Improve website speed, optimize caches, shrink image size etc
- Internal search: it is crucial that your visitors find what they are looking for in just a few clicks. Make sure the results are relevant, the auto-complete is optimized and the search bar is sticky.
- Landing pages: one word: consistency. Each of your landing pages needs to be a perfect extension of the messages and expectations set by your ads and campaigns.
- Checkout: do everything you can to optimize what is for many people the most annoying part of the shopping journey. Guest checkout, multiple payment options, Paypal, there are many things you can do to improve your checkout flow.
B – Personalization: the devil is in the details
It’s not the first time we’ve mentioned this but in an era of hyperconnectivity and information saturation, personalization is key!
The good news is that today, customization is within every team’s reach:
- Offer similar products or complimentary products
- Use geolocation to display nearest store availability
- Make reordering easy
- Fine-tune segments to personalize specific sections of your site
Know your audience
Knowing your target audience is of course key to offering the right product, at the right time, and to the right customer.
But while basing this understanding on the behavior of the people who have already visited your site is key, don’t forget to cater to first-time visitors, too!
According to our 2020 Benchmark data, 55% of visitors are new to your site.
During the quarantine, these numbers have surged as industries like online grocery, health or fashion acquired new audiences more used to shopping offline.
A survey of 1115 French consumers carried out by Forrester between April 10 and 15 found that 19% of digital grocery customers were buying food online for the first time ever, and 10% of consumers had never paid for anythign online before. Une étude de Forrester
Nurturing customer trust is even more important when it comes to these customers, who are primarily offline shoppers in ‘normal’ times.
Up to you to make sure your site is trustworthy, and resembles the physical stores your audience is used to interacting with.
Up to you how you make that happen but chances are, making digital more human is the key to success 😉
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 Dell, 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.
- Live and interactive events taking place on Youtube Channel.
- Experience the fun and frolics of the shop floor on Lush Tik Tok page.
- Live updates on Instagram.
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.Introducing the New Zoning Analysis: Our Signature Feature is now More Powerful and Easier to Use than Ever
After months of hard work and dedication, our Product team is ready to unveil our new Zoning Analysis with a more complete experience than ever.
So how did Zoning Analysis become Contentsquare’s most-loved feature? The answer is simple. In essence, you get intuitive and flexible visualizations that tell you why visitors engage, hesitate or get frustrated by overlaying key UX metrics directly onto your website.
With these clear business and engagement metrics, it has never been easier to understand and explain differences in customer behavior. With a clear view of what site visitors find engaging and helpful, versus what might be considered obstacles along the user journey, teams can quantify their content decisions at a glance, and easily get rid of friction. This granular read of visitor behavior also grants brands a way to attribute revenue to their content and UX investments.
What makes all this so practical is that Contentsquare’s single tag captures every single customer interaction, including every click, scroll, hover and swipe. The platform automatically captures behaviors on dynamic content and historical versions of your site, enabling you to jump straight to your analysis.
In a world where every business is striving to exceed the latest standards of speed, ease-of-use and seamlessness, we believe digital CX stakeholders should also enjoy an optimized user experience. That’s why we’ve now made your favorite power tool for in-page analytics even smarter and easier to use.
Say Hi to Our New Zoning
Having worked closely with our customers on a solution that provides answers to real-life use cases, we’ve completely revamped our Zoning Analysis so teams can answer questions faster and even more efficiently.
The new Zoning Analysis is even more tailored to our operational goals: fast and easy to use.
Agathe Orsoni, Digital Marketing Manager at Petit Bateau
We made Zoning Analysis inside the platform as quick and easy to use as CS Live, our nifty browser extension. With our Live Zoning, your website becomes your dashboard. Simply browse your site including dynamic content and drop-down menus, overlay metrics in one click and answer questions on the spot.
Need to dig deeper into the data? Take snapshots to save them into Contentsquare, analyze any element of interest or track its progress regularly.
Comparison Made Easy
Let’s say you recently launched a new campaign and want to analyze the performance of your hero banner before and after adding a new promotional offer. Or, you just performed an A/B test and want to compare different A/B test elements side by side. By comparing the two, you immediately see why one version performs better and can take actions based on your visitors’ preferences.
Spot a win or a decision you want to celebrate? Simply export your analysis as a PDF to share with key collaborators, whenever you need.
“The intuitive new Zoning allows us to make more detailed analyses especially on CRO / AB Testing subjects where all test variations have to be studied. The new side-by-side functionality allows us to compare the data of each test variation more easily and to learn the best lessons.”
Hazel Dinler, CRO Analyst at Sephora
Ease of use and speed to insights are the key pillars of our new Zoning Analysis. At Contentsquare, we believe in making decisions based on data, not opinion. And we think this level of customer intelligence should be accessible to all. Zoning Analysis was designed to be used by everyone — its highly visual metrics can be leveraged by anyone, not just analysts, and allows everyone on the team to pursue shared goals autonomously.
If you want to learn more about our new, improved Zoning Analysis or if you’d like to see it in action, we’ll be happy to give you a tour!Sheltering In Leads To Home Improvement
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.
After weeks of working from home, working out from home, socializing from home, and doing just about everything from home, data shows that consumers everywhere are in the mood for a little home improvement. With a +22.8% increase in the volume of visits to home decor/DIY stores last week (compared to the previous week), it seems that many have come to the realization that working from your bed is not all it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, consumers have increased the time they spend browsing furniture and home furnishings by +46.8% since the start of the outbreak — the largest surge in browsing time observed across all retail sectors. And looking at the number of transactions, these home makeovers are not just virtual. Transactions on furniture and DIY sites in the UK and US were up +52.3% last week from the previous week, contributing to a +101.4 increase in home purchases since the start of the crisis.
So what exactly are consumers itching to change around the house?
How Towels And Linens Became The New Necessary
The volume of products browsed in the linens / bath linens category shot up +96% last week compared to the previous week, with transactions in this category almost doubling over the same period (+96%). It could be that staring at their bed every day is the push many need to finally get rid of that old duvet cover, or it may be less of an aesthetic decision and more of a practical one.
While 85% of people in America may own a washing machine, legions of renters in major cities like New York don’t, relying instead on laundromats — considered “essential businesses” in many areas of the country. But with millions of people trying as much as possible to avoid trips outside the home, and the CDC recommending you don’t share personal household items when caring for someone who is sick, it makes sense that consumers are looking to increase their supply of sheets and towels.
Home Is Where The Office Is
If you’ve ever subscribed to a furniture store or large retailer email list, your inbox is probably inundated right now with invectives to smarten up your home office. Home office inspiration landing pages and promotions on office furniture have been proliferating the past couple of weeks, and a quick scan of the data shows that consumers are indeed looking to upgrade their work stations.
Visits to pages featuring desks, lighting and tables were up significantly this week from last — in that order (see table above). Those three categories also accounted for the greatest increases in the volume of purchases, with a +95% increase in table sales, +92% in lamp sales and +87% for desks.
Spring Has Sprung
For those lucky enough to have a garden or yard to sit or play in to offset cabin fever, it’s hard to not notice that, even during a global pandemic, plants will bloom in April. Pages featuring garden items and outdoor furniture got +33% more attention this week than last, and the volume of transactions on these items was also up +33%. And with supply chain issues becoming a regular occurrence on grocery stores around the world, victory gardens are making a comeback.
Other product categories that are seeing more traffic and purchases include kids’ room decor — +16% increase in volume of products browsed and +44% more purchases this week compared to last. And purchases of sofas and armchairs have also recorded somewhat of a surge, with a +66% increase in purchases from the previous week.
The growing interest in home furnishings and decor is very much in line with the generalized surge in eCommerce traffic and transactions recorded in the past couple of weeks. Total traffic across sectors was up +3.2％ last week from the previous week (+10.3％ since the start of the crisis) and transactions were up +18％ (+32.6％ since the start of the crisis). As consumers navigate a new reality without access to brick-and-mortar shopping, their reliance on digital is now almost entire, and for many brands websites are adjusting to becoming the only store. And with the overall conversion rate up +82.6% since the beginning of the outbreak, the home decor sector seems to be carving out its place as one of the necessary digital businesses.
Join our webinar next week, From Convenience to Necessity: How the Coronavirus Is Impacting the Grocery Sector, featuring our Chief Strategy Officer Jean-Marc Bellaiche, this insight-packed webinar will share our latest findings on customer behavior and how the grocery industry is adapting to the new reality — April 16th at 1 pm.
Driving Personalization through Marketing and A/B Testing
This article was written by our partner REO, as part of our series highlighting direct insights from our large ecosystem of partners.
In 2019, for the first time ever, digital ad spend represented more than 50% of total global marketing spend. Whilst the UK was considerably ahead of this trend (63.8% of UK’s total ad spend was attributed to digital in 2018, 66.4% in 2019), the US has now joined the group with online ad spend going from 48.6% in 2018 to 54.2% in 2019. With eMarketer forecasting a 17.6% year-on-year growth (to $333.25M) in worldwide digital marketing spend, the need to ensure each of your marketing channels is delivering the best possible ROI has never been higher.
Within the conversion rate optimization (CRO) space, most brands conduct A/B testing without fully considering which marketing channel or source their customers have come from. Customers are typically bucketed into various user segments based on their purchase history, onsite behavior, geographic and demographic data. However, users within the same audience segment can often demonstrate varying behavioral attributes when navigating through the purchase funnel, across countless online and offline touchpoints.
Let’s Take Paid Search as An Example
If a user arrives on your website via paid search, you already know what they searched for and which ad they clicked on; however, users who click on the same ad, but searched for different terms/items, will often experience the same customer journey. For instance, if a customer has searched for “luxury men’s white shirt” – not only do you know the item they are looking for, you also know they are looking at the higher end of the market.
A/B Testing the landing page a user is taken to is quite common, but you can go a step further and explore how to change the experience for the customer based on their search criteria.
A potential testing idea could involve pre-sorting these shirts by highest price first, and on the Product Listing Page (PLP), displaying all the available men’s white shirts. This can develop into personalization if the user has visited the site previously, within the cookie period; e.g. by storing size data within the cookie, you could pre-select the shirt size which the user filtered by on their previous visit.
Reducing the number of clicks and filters it takes a user to find their item can only have a positive impact on conversion rate, especially on mobile. So, by showing a customer the items they’re looking for, sorted by their desired price point and filtered by their size, you will make the purchase journey more tailored to that specific customer.
Understanding a visitor’s context (location, date and time of day, device, internet connection, etc) as well as their intent (are they here to complete a quick purchase, to research and compare products, to seek inspiration, to test a coupon, etc) add an invaluable layer of behavioral understanding to your analysis, and will allow you to execute a more impactful form of personalization.
Making the Affiliation between A/B Testing and Voucher/Cashback Partners
By applying this testing method to the affiliate channel, you can optimize the largest click and revenue drivers; namely voucher and cashback websites. After all, you can already assume that users coming from these two affiliate types are both online-savvy and price-sensitive.
Voucher and discount websites should have a conversion rate of at least 20-25% on mature affiliate programs – so any of these affiliates who have a conversion rate lower than that, represents an opportunity for incremental revenue. For cashback sites, expect this figure to be upwards of 40%.
A test idea for these two affiliate types could be to re-enforce the discount or cashback offer listed on the affiliates’ website. For instance, if the deal was “Save £15 when you spend over £100” – you could use a “loading bar” at the top of the page which gradually fills up as you add items to your basket, until the user hits the spend threshold to activate the discount.
For cashback sites, you could test a cashback calculator onsite, which automatically calculates the amount of cashback the user will earn if they purchase everything currently in their basket. This type of gamification can be incredibly effective in increasing the number of units per sale and, in turn, the average order value.
Serve Less Content, but More Dynamically
“Content is King” – we’ve all heard it before, but how can you be smarter in how you serve it? Content, and specifically dynamic content, is another channel where source-based A/B testing can improve engagement, click-through-rates and leads/ sales. If you know the article or blog post a user has come from, you can use this insight to serve them relevant and dynamic content, making their customer journey more seamless and less detached across the two sites.
User journey analysis shows that visits to content sites usually happen in the “Discovery Phase” of the sales funnel – including on product review sites, influencer social posts, news/magazine sites and blogs. Such content is informative and persuasive; perfect to push the user towards the bottom of the funnel.
Some of the more content-heavy merchants, such as insurance brands or high-end technology retailers, will have an eclectic and extensive array of content across their website, making navigation more muddled. A solution? Reducing the amount of content on-site and instead, storing the less frequently visited content pages elsewhere, to then be served dynamically.
For example, if a user looking to buy insurance is reading up on excess and the impacts it has on a claim and future premiums, the existing content about excess could be tweaked accordingly – which could be as simple as changing the title of an article, calling out the keywords or changing the order of the content on that page.
Again, a granular analysis of how customers are interacting with individual elements of content will help paint the complete picture of engagement. Measuring clicks alone will only tell one part of the customer behavior story: tracking metrics such as exposure, attractiveness and conversion rate per click (to name a few) will give a more complete view of how content is contributing to (or stalling) the user journey.
As the capabilities of A/B testing and personalization platforms continue to evolve, the way you test and analyze a customer journey should follow suit. One of the major challenges of channel/source-specific testing can be a lack of traffic volume. If you have insufficient traffic, it will take a while before a test reaches significance. For example, the 5th highest paid search term, or 4th largest voucher site probably won’t have the volume to justify running an A/B Test on.
Want to Know More?
Contact us! REO is a digital experience agency. We are an eclectic mix of bright and creative thinkers, embracing the best of research, strategy, design and experimentation to solve our clients’ toughest challenges. We work across a variety of sectors, with companies such as Amazon, M&S, Tesco and Samsung.
Also invaluable to our company is our scope of partners, including Contentsquare, which allows our customers to capture the nuances of their end users’ behavior for even more sophisticated segmentation and ultimately, deeper personalization.
Whatever the challenge may be, REO applies design thinking to identify and deliver big growth opportunities.
Hero image: Adobe Stock, via blankstockSuperstars and Software: Highlights from our 2020 Worldwide Kickoff
Last year’s annual team retreat was already off the charts, but this year’s Worldwide Kickoff exceeded our wildest expectations. First off, this commencement was double the size of last year’s (580 people!), coalescing workers old and new, including those from our vitalizing acquisition of 2019.
Our lively lot metaphorically set sail to the company’s country of origin: France. After briefly staying at the very first Contentsquare office (in Paris), we sojourned on the Lac d’Ailette, in the heart of the French countryside to the northeast of Paris.
Secondly, we stayed true to our work ethic of working hard and playing hard, with jam-packed days of games and parties, balanced by meetings and workshops. Lastly, WWKO 2020 was a memorable event; for some, it was a fresh dive into the world of Contentsquare, for others, it was a chance to reconnect with the growing force that is our team.
We spoke with our team members from across the globe to get their perspective on this year’s kickoff.
Worldwide Kickoff 2020: Best Moments & Other Reflections
“The 2020 WWKO was amazing, the atmosphere of our close to 600 employees arriving from all countries was outstanding! I am sure we managed to provide them with the full update on where the company is, how we ended 2019 and our plans for 2020 and the years ahead.”
– Shlomi Hagai, Global CFO, Israel
“Kickoff was a really cool opportunity to get the US, French, and Israeli support team members together in the same room for the first time.”
– Steven Rayl, Support Engineer, Customer Support, US West Coast
“This was my first year at the Contentsquare WWKO and it was insane, very well organised you can tell how much hard work had been put in to get it put together. I have never experienced anything like the hype and camaraderie on the first day. It makes you very proud to work for a company that is doing great things but still cares and looks after the employees.” –
– Daniella Sykes, Sales Development Representative, UK
“My favorite moment was when we saw the brand video about the teams during the keynote presentation. It was so impressive, it gave me thrills. You really feel you’re part of one family. It’s so important because it’s part of our DNA.”
– Julien Crevel, Customer Success Manager, Paris
“WWKO 2020 was a great way to connect with team members that you Slack every day but don’t get to see in person. The same way that I love meeting clients in person so that they feel understood and heard, I really enjoyed meeting and seeing the rest of the global team during our team breakouts.”
– Monique Fan, Product Experience Manager, New York
“WWKO 2020 was a great opportunity to finally meet in person a lot of the people I’ve been interacting with from the different teams and locales.
– Sergei Shenderovich, Senior Technical Solution Architect in Sales Excellence, Israel
“My favorite moment in WWKO 2020 has got to be riding the inflatable unicorn in the ball pit… my 6-year-old self came back out and had a blast! On a more serious note, it was great to hear about the company’s vision and where we’re headed, especially sinceI’m new to the business.
– Louise Duseigneur, Customer Success Manager, UK
“WWKO 2020 is, with Hackathon, definitely one of the highlights of the year for me. It somehow managed to keep a small startup atmosphere while constantly improving the level and quality of the event throughout the years.
– Antoine Auffret, Lead Customer Success Manager, Paris
“This WWKO 2020 was definitely one of my top three kickoffs. I’m so glad to see that after 8 years at Contentsquare, we are able to go beyond ourselves and make it even better!
– Fanny Pourcenoux, Head of Global Design, Paris
“My first WWKO at Contentsquare, and I am blown away! I’ve been to kickoff events with some of the biggest SaaS companies in the US, and they don’t even come close to capturing the energy and connection at the Contentsquare WWKO.”
– Derek Webb, VP New Business East Coast in Sales North America, New York
“On the heels of what we’ve done last year with the two acquisitions and amazing growth, I think this WWKO 2020 contributed to building trust, the vision of the company, sharing enthusiasm, encouraging communication, and increasing collaboration.”
– Joaquim De Sa Alves, Chief Financial Officer, Paris
“Overall it was a very fulfilling experience interacting with teams across the organization and “visualizing” who is who and the organizational structure. Another would be the Customer panel sharing insights into how they are using and benefiting from Contentsquare.”
– Jace Dicker, Sales Director in Sales North America, US East Coast, New Business North America – West
“This was my 3rd WWKO and easily the best one yet. We upped the ante in every aspect; the content, the strategy, the presenters, the client involvement, the location, the atmosphere, the parties, the food…?!”
– Gareth Drabble, Head of Customer Success, Northern Europe, UK
“This WWKO has been just great! It truly embraced our values of team-building and enthusiasm, bringing together people from around the world, who have worked hard and proven their value to the business for an entire year, to have fun and build memories together during these wild 3 days.”
– Alessandro Boschi, Inside Sales Executive – Italian Market, Paris
“The first day of WWKO 2020 was also my first day at Contentsquare. To me, it was incredible to see how the company is sticking together, how each individual is following the same goal (to make Contentsquare great) and how transparent and honest the management team is with regards to the current situation and vision of Contentsquare.”
– Benjamin Gruber, Sales Executive in Sales Europe + ROW, Denmark
“Those three days of kickoff were awesome. Lots of great announcements and reflections to celebrate our common successes and ambitions. The parties were just crazy, with a ton of epic costumes and people full of energy and enthusiasm. It was impressive to see so many people from different cultures and countries, often meeting for the first time, working, chilling and having fun as one.”
– Fanny Rousell, Innovation Project Manager in Product, Paris
“This Kickoff was an amazing experience which started from booking half of the plane, and flying all together – the journey to the venue itself was an exciting experience since our drive from the office took 3.5 hours. The venue looked great, with stunning views, a cool countryside atmosphere and stunning sunsets.”
– Daniel Kanevsky, DevOps Engineer in R&D, Israel
“I joined the company back in June 2019, so this was my first WWKO. It was a great experience for many reasons. It gave me the chance to get to know my London colleagues better, but also connect with people across the organization, especially the people in SDR from different regions. I really found the presentations interesting and motivational — to see how the company is doing, and what to look forward to in the future!”
– Gabriel Andersson, Inside Sales Intern Nordics, UK
“ The WWKO was a brilliant and rare opportunity to spend time with employees from all around the world, build relationships that cross oceans and help us work together as one giant team — we are incredibly fortunate to be part of such a global and diverse organization and that deserves to be celebrated!”
– Kirsty Champion, Customer Success Manager, UK
“I’ve been attending kickoffs in 5 different companies almost every year for 20 years. The 2020 WWKO at Contentsquare was, without any doubt, the best I’ve ever attended. I’m a newbie and I really felt that I’m part of an awesome team in an amazing company. I loved Jon’s presentation about our history and where we come from.”
– Pierre Bancelin, Product Marketing Manager in Product, Paris
“The music, the words, the pictures have strengthened the sense of belonging to the Contentsquare family. We are big, unique, professional and the presentations were very clear at the same time. Best kickoff ever.”
– Frederic Kingue Johnson, VP Sales Western Europe, Paris
“The 2020 Kickoff was my first at Contentsquare but definitely not my last. Kickoff is not just a word. It’s a statement. It’s the embodiment of team building, team spirit and of course, lots of fun. It’s the perfect opportunity for the Contentsquare family to get together, share ideas, philosophies and opinions. It’s unique. it’s us.”
– Kristian Kramp, Business Development Representative in Sales Europe + ROW, UK
“My first day was January 13th, so being super new to the company I was pretty nervous and shy to meet not only my London office but the whole global team. Everybody I met made me feel incredibly welcomed from the beginning, and going to WWKO was a special way to feel a part of the team, very early on.”
– Matt Christie, UX/UI Designer in Product, UK
“It was my first kickoff and it was a big pleasure for me to be there. I was impatient to meet my colleagues from other countries. My favorite moments were when we were all reunited in the big room for the presentation of 2019 by Jonathan Cherki.”
– Sonia Ghodbane Lamraoui, Senior Accountant in Finance, Paris
“It’s so mind-blowing to see that Contentsquare has doubled its size, while still keeping the on-fire spirit as usual.I loved the strategy presentation most showing realistically where we are at in the market, and the huge opportunities ahead in different continents. Love to contribute to that! Parties are always so crazy, and they were during our WWKO 2020.”
– Yefei Mao, Senior Product Manager, Paris
“I love attending the WWKO each year, as it’s an opportunity to meet people I regularly work with around the world, and reconnect with friends I made last year. My favorite moments were the unexpected ones – impromptu games sessions in our cottage. WWKO was also an important week to strengthen existing bonds and form new ones – talking face to face is much more natural then virtually, and can often uncover hidden opportunities to collaborate and help each other out.”
– Georgiana Hunter Cozens, CEM, UK
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.
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.
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 MedvedevaHow 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.”
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 Marvi74 Tips for Maximizing Engagement & ROI on 2019 Holiday Gift Guides
Wondering how best to set up your digital gift guides in time for the holidays? Follow these four tips to make sure your website is making the most out of its “featured gift” products, and is helping users navigate through the 2019 holiday season chaos with much-needed ease.
1. Avoid using content blocks that take up the entire length of a screen.
Steer clear of what we in UI call the “false bottom” — the illusion that a page has ended when it hasn’t. This UX misstep could stop your visitors from scrolling further down the page, and may restrict their exposure to content. Instead, let your visitors know there is more to see — the more categories they see, the more likely they are to find the one that is relevant to them.
Check which categories have the highest purchase conversion or conversion rate per click and prioritize these. It is possible that some categories drive higher engagement, but record lower conversions. This points to frustration and confusion, intel you can use to optimize a particular site element.
2. Be specific with gift guide categories.
Your gift guide categories should be as specific as possible. It is harder for users to narrow down a large product catalog on a product landing page (PLP), than to click into a category that already has a narrower scope.
It should be clear before users choose a gift guide that they will find on the gift guide list page. Is the category based on price, interests, demographic information..? Find out what’s most important to your visitors, and wherever you can, personalize suggestions based on these needs.
Also keep in mind that in gift guides, users are likely to be shopping for somebody else, so recommending repeat purchases based on past sales isn’t always relevant.
3. Ensure that your filter and sort function on your gift guide PLPs are optimized and easy to use.
The more difficult your filter and sort function are to use, the more frustrated users will become when trying to find the most appropriate product on a gift guide list page. Avoid adding frustration to the already overwhelming task of sifting through hundreds or thousands of products.
4. Provide a seamless way to access various categories from the gift list page.
Displaying shortcuts to other gift categories on the list page can help reduce navigation friction. Visitors shouldn’t have to go back to the homepage, main gift guide page, or use the global navigation to quickly access other gift options.
Examples of Online Gift Guides with Great UX
Here are some great examples of online gift guides:
On the homepage, the gift guide category features an eye-catching GIF that plays automatically. On the gift guide list page, there is a category dropdown that helps users jump to different gift categories. Users can also easily narrow down listings using categorization buttons like “Best Selling” and “Gifts under $25
In this example, at least 3 categories are visible on the homepage without the need for scrolling. Once the user clicks to the gift guide list page, they can also use a category dropdown to jump to more specific gift guide categories.
Gift guide categories are specific and speak to users’ personalities. Above these categories, there are also categories based on price.
Hero Image via Adobe Slack, by Nnudoo