Know what people are doing on your store

Knowing what people are doing when they hit your online store means you’re better placed to optimise the customer journey, create smoother pathways to checkout and reduce friction which prevents conversions. If you aren’t yet tracking user behaviour, the good news is that there are several tools on the market to help you incorporate this process into your marketing activity.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps are colour-coded graphics which represent user behaviour on specific pages of your site. They work in real time and will show information such as where users click on a page (allowing you to identify the most popular links or hot spots).

Heat maps are especially useful for retailers – if you have a heat map of a category landing page, you can easily see where the majority of activity and user engagement is centred. You’ll be able to determine at a glance which products are the most popular and then ensure your category page is organised by popularity, with those most popular products located up on the page.

One thing to be careful of with heatmap work is ensuring you have enough data to make the map useful. You also need to factor in other considerations, such as if a user is tabbing through a form rather than clicking on each field, to get the full picture before you act on the visual data being presented.

Some useful options for heatmaps include

Google Analytics

If you’re relatively unaccustomed to Google Analytics, or put off by the sheer volume of data and dashboards, it’s well worth giving it a second chance and spending some time getting to know this most useful of tools.

Not only does Analytics show you where your visitors come from, its flow visualisation dashboards mean you can track each visitor’s journey through your site, from the page they land on, where they navigate to and which page the exit your site from. As well as helping you identify your best performing landing pages, this information makes it easy to pinpoint exit points and target them for improvement. That might mean you need to work on your product descriptions or overhaul your registration or checkout page.

You can also use your Analytics data to create funnels showing where customers are entering and leaving your site, giving you plenty of food for thought when it comes to adjusting marketing campaigns and tactics. A word of warning though – you will need a decent amount of data to base decisions on. That means looking at flows over the course of months or quarters, rather than weekly or daily.