Using Heatmap To Better eCommerce User Experience & Engagement

Want to learn how to make the best possible use of heatmaps for your online business? This comprehensive guide will tell you all that you need to know and how best to utilise them.

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard — 7 minute read.

Heat mapping is one of the most widely-used analytics tools in the e-commerce industry, offering a powerful way for businesses to understand their customers.

Before learning how to use them effectively for an e-commerce business, it is vital to understand what heatmaps are and how they work. A website heatmap is a graphical representation and data visualisation tool that helps businesses understand how certain pages on their websites are performing.

Heatmaps Ecommerce User Experience

In other words, it presents data in the form of a map or a chart to provide a better picture of user behaviour. Such heat maps are generally colour-coded, with each colour denoting a different value or data set.

By collecting and displaying data regarding customers’ behaviour on your web pages, a heat map can help you make the right decisions for your business. And that is what we are going to discuss today.

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The Benefits Of Using Website Heatmap

A heat map is much more powerful and efficient than traditional diagnostic tools. It offers a quantitative look at relevant data and helps understand the qualitative reasons behind them. There are several advantages for a business that uses heatmaps to understand customer engagement. These include:

Heatmap Google Search

1. Enabling Easier Measurement Of Website Performance

Heatmaps borrow colour schemes and palettes to show how users interact. Usually, these warm to cold colour-coded maps highlight areas of interactivity on your website. Areas of a page that appear red or yellow (warm) indicate that customer activity and engagement are higher, whereas colder colours indicate a lower level of engagement.

With this knowledge, it becomes easier for you to take steps to fix issues on your website to increase customer engagement. Using a heatmap, businesses can identify areas or pages that require greater attention more efficiently and take proper action accordingly.

2. Simplifying Numerical Data

Making sense of numerical data is not an easy task. At the same time, most people don’t have the time to sit down and study such data for extended periods. With the help of colour coding, website heatmaps help quickly identify areas that require attention.

Unlike the case with tools like GA and Excel, using heatmaps does not require a lot of technical knowledge or prior experience. This tool is perfect for newcomers and professionals alike.

Additionally, data representation in heatmaps provides real-time actionable information for tracking visitor activities. It can help you understand the users’ mindset more in-depth and efficiently.

3. Helps In Understanding The Customers

Understanding the consumers’ mindset is vital for success if your business deals directly with customers. Here, heatmaps can help you know what the customers expect from the website and make changes accordingly.

In the case of eCommerce businesses, heatmaps help identify where customers are exiting the sales funnel and enable quick decision making. Additionally, this tool eliminates customer bias that can be present in surveys and forms, as it directly provides insights through factors like the browsing pattern, purchase history, etc.

Digital Marketing Sales Funnel Infographic

4. Optimises The Conversion Rate

As discussed earlier, a heat map shows customer activity on different website pages, such as landing pages or product pages, thus helping to identify which areas need to be optimised.

For instance, a user may be stuck at one point on the homepage due to a broken link or a confusing layout. This information hints that you should correct the error to enhance website usability.

Anyhow, knowing about the habits of visitors to your website can help you take steps to improve their experience and engagement.

At the same time, making changes that improve user-friendliness and usability leads to better conversion rates. The insights that heat maps provide can help you take practical steps for optimising the pages that are low on customer engagement.

These are some of the most significant advantages a heat map provides for a business. Now that you know why using a heatmap can be highly beneficial, it is time to look at how heatmaps function.

Website Heatmap Guide

As mentioned above, heat maps are generally colour-coded and follow a warm to cold colour scheme. This colour coding depicts activity and engagement with customers on a particular webpage. However, this is just the basic view of using a heatmap.

Warm Cool Colours Heatmaps

For a proper understanding, we need to look at how a heat map works and how you can use it for your business. So, let’s get started.

1. Establishing The Goal

The first step to implementing a functioning heat map is identifying the end goals and objectives. And for an online business, visitor data is generally required for meeting that goal.

Objectives and intentions vary — but most can be related to solving a problem, and depending upon the type of problem, different types of heat maps can be utilised. For instance, eCommerce businesses can rely on a click map to identify the most click areas and use this knowledge to their advantage.

2. Selecting The Correct Tool

Different types of businesses have varying requirements and, as such, need differing solutions. For instance, eCommerce businesses need to increase traffic and ensure that customer visits result in actual sales.

From that point of view, selecting the right tool is essential because there are several types of heat maps and heat mapping tools. The four most popular heatmaps from an eCommerce businesses’ viewpoint include click maps, hover maps, scroll maps, and attention maps.

3. Setting Up A Heat Map

The final step is to set up the type of heat map that your business will utilise. First, identify the web pages on the site where the heatmap will be placed. It is best to avoid using a heatmap for the entire website; otherwise, you may have large amounts of unneeded data.

A good strategy is implementing the heat map on pages with significant traffic. In the case of eCommerce websites, these are generally home pages, product pages, and checkout pages.

After deciding on the pages to implement the heatmap, you can then select the type of heatmap. And as mentioned earlier, the kind of heatmap best suited for a business depends upon its goals.

Challenges Of Using A Heatmap

Although a highly effective tool for understanding and engaging with customers, heat maps are not the most straightforward process. Let us take a look at some challenges that may come your way:

1. Dynamic URL Linking

While heat maps work perfectly to provide insights into customer behaviour in a graphical manner, they are not very effective in explaining how customers navigate websites. This analysis is very important for delivering personalised service to customers.

Since all types of businesses nowadays have dynamic URLs instead of static ones, every industry faces this issue. Dynamic heat maps are the most effective solution to overcome this problem. These maps provide information about how every individual customer interacts with the website.

Dynamic heatmaps can be especially useful for eCommerce ventures as they help view customer activity regarding specific products, web pages, and actions. These can provide in-depth information at a glance for webpage optimisation, which will result in higher conversion rates.

2. Data Analysis

Heat maps are much more intuitive and faster than traditional data collection and presentation tools. However, correctly interpreting the heat map data is not as simple. One effective way to make sense of the information is to analyse the goals. That is also why setting goals is critical before implementing heat maps.

Undertaking the analysis without establishing the goals of the exercise will prevent you from identifying distractions that are lowering your conversion rates. At the same time, heat maps help identify the most attention-grabbing sections of a page responsible for the highest engagement levels.

Reacting to the data provided by a heat map without considering the end goals can result in a flawed strategy.

Understanding Heat Maps

While heat maps are handy for almost all businesses across several industries, they are especially vital for eCommerce ventures.

After all, the success of any eCommerce business depends upon converting visitors into customers, for which you must identify where customers are showing the most engagement. And while heat maps undoubtedly help in this process, it is necessary to be strategic and thoughtful about where you place them.

So, if you are planning to use a heat map on your website, be sure to implement them practically to grow your business and brand. Feel free to reach out to our team for any guidance on implementing a heatmap.

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey is the CEO of sitecentre® and a data analyst in the SEO, Paid advertising space that uses machine learning and AI to advance sitecentre® as an industry-leading digital marketing agency across Australia.

Find them on their website: sitecentre®, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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