How to use session recordings to increase e-commerce sales

Sep 28, 2021

Published by: Sean McCarthy
Lucky Orange Session Recordings for E-commerce

Session recordings (or session replays) are a video playback of an actual person’s movement during their time on your site. You’ll be able to see mouse movement, clicks, forms completed and any other action during the playback. 

Often used for conversion rate optimization (CRO), session recordings can be an invaluable tool to increase your understanding of what visitors actually do when they visit your website. 

People in a variety of roles can optimize using session playback

Session recordings can help a variety of different job types with customer experience management. Of course, if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’ll be handling recording analysis.

If your team is a bit bigger, we recommend handing the keys to whoever is responsible for optimizing your website. This may seem obvious, but ensuring online customer insights start with the person (or team) who knows every nook and cranny of the site makes the next steps easier.

Within a big organization, insights from session recordings can impact everything from social media strategy and split testing to customer support scripting and development or user experience decisions. 

Wondering who on your team should handle conversion rate optimization (CRO) in general? Check out this strategy for choosing your team's CRO expert.

Focus on visitors that matter to your current project with session filtering

When it comes time to analyze your store, you may choose to look at the user behavior on a specific page or instead go after a segment of visitors--or even one visitor based on a behavior tag

If you want to see how website traffic with an above-average cart value behaves, you can segment session recordings and only watch those visitors using custom user data.

Other helpful visitor segments to analyze will be those who add to cart but ultimately abandon, make a repeat purchase or have an order number that’s now experiencing a complaint about shipping times or costs.

Even with all this powerful information available, it’s worth noting Lucky Orange always prioritizes data security. This is why, when people type in form fields, you’ll see asterisks in place of the actual information provided.

Choosing optimization goals for your e-commerce store

What website metrics can you optimize to increase conversions? We expect you’re already paying attention to general e-commerce metrics like add-to-cart rate, average cart value, average order value, etc.

Here are some key moments of the customer journey to monitor:

Effective fold on key web pages: How far down the page an average visitor scrolls before leaving the page

CTA visibility: Based on the effective fold, what percentage of a page’s visitors will see your key call-to-action or key messaging

Form abandonment rate: Which form field causes the highest bounce rate, as measured by the field a visitor is working on prior to leaving the form

Form field time and order: How long visitors take to complete each field and in what order

Top-clicked elements: Which elements (buttons, links, navigation items, popups) across the entire site are being clicked at the highest rate

You may have elements like CTAs across a variety of page types, but your goal may be quite different in different locations. For example, you may have a homepage button leading to a Clearance merchandise page whereas a CTA on your product page leads directly to checkout.

The point is, it’s worth considering the context of each page prior to choosing the desired action you're measuring.

Step-by-step: Using Session Recordings to optimize every page of your e-commerce store

There is a fine balance between making your entire product line findable on the home page and not being overwhelming. You want people to know you have a product or sale that matters to them without creating confusion or frustration.

Most of your traffic will also likely begin their journey on your site on a different landing page like a product or sale-specific page.

So, when we look at a session recording for a home page, we should start by seeing how far down the web page they scroll and make sure all important CTAs and key messages are visible.

Make sure your average visitor is seeing what you need them to see. And on a home page, this is usually a concise representation of product categories (or however you generally organize things).

Product category pages

On an e-commerce category page, what’s your main goal? Usually, the answer is to get visitors to engage with a specific product or to filter the category to better fit their needs. 

First, look at a few session recordings to see how users are engaging with your filtering options. Are most visitors even seeing them? If so, are there any competing, clickable elements too close to the filtering that may be distracting? Consider prioritizing filtering over primary navigation (at least visually).

Second, take a look at how people go through the specific products highlighted on the page.

Do they go straight down, left to right and then down or is there no discernible pattern? If you use multiple pages within a category, how are visitors engaging with the pagination? Do they get to the end of the products shown and scroll up or are they quickly engaging with buttons to display more?

Knowing this information will help you better understand how to organize your store. Some stores see success with a featured product image and several smaller options while others will benefit from image carousels and more copy elements to help with navigation.

Individual product pages

This is where the money is made. In e-commerce, a product page with a great product description and beautiful product images is a solid starting point. 

Here, session recordings can show us if visitors are moving through a certain number of product photos, having any issues with sizing or other customization tools and whether or not they’re scrolling to the bottom of your layout. 

If you’ve added a new web page feature, such as social proof testimonials, see what visitors do when their mouse path hovers over this area. Are they staying still to indicate reading behavior or are they immediately moving along?

Checkout and shipping information pages

A successful conversion funnel leads people to the checkout page. And no matter if you have a single or multi-step checkout process, you’ll want to watch session recordings for visitors who make it to this point. 

This may be a great place to deploy Form Analytics to see which fields are too difficult or generally cause a higher rate of abandonment. 

With session recordings, we can also watch visitors who are trying to find shipping information or spot signs of struggle with a form like getting error messages.

This could share average shipping times, how you handle returns or anything you believe customers want to know--without introducing unnecessary confusion or doubt.

While many e-commerce platforms don’t allow full customization of checkout pages or forms, watching session recordings can at least give you an idea of what changes you might make prior to the visitor getting to that point.

For example, if visitors tend to leave once shipping costs appear (after entering their address), consider putting this function inside the product page with a zip code field to estimate costs.

Blogs and content-heavy pages

Some e-commerce websites will leverage blogging and search engine optimization to attract new traffic or bring back existing customers. Regardless of intent, we can easily use session recordings to judge content success.

Watch recordings for visitors who come to enter the site via a blog post and end up making a purchase. See how much of the content is consumed (scroll depth and time on page) and then follow along as they navigate through other pages leading up to the purchase.

On the flip side, be sure to watch recordings of visitors who come to the site to read the content and leave before making a purchase.

If you have a lot of content receiving organic traffic, take the time to compare the performance of long-form versus short-form pieces. While SEO experts generally lean towards long-form content for search ranking, it’s possible your customers prefer lighter pieces.

If you’re looking to convert more of these readers, consider how you can incorporate forms and CTAs into the body of the blog post (check out the h3 CTA concept from Nectafy).

E-commerce continues to grow around the world

With over 2 billion people worldwide expected to make online purchases in 2021, e-commerce isn’t going anywhere.

As more attention shifts online, the importance of an optimized shopping experience will grow. And there’s no more powerful way to understand visitor behavior on your website than watching someone navigate the site with a session recording.

So, what can your business do with Session Recordings? 

Check out our podcast

Welcome to the show where we're closing the gap between hearing about a business topic and knowing how to take action with it in the real-world.