As I write this, I am feeling rather ‘Springy’.
Clocks changed – tick!
Daffodils aplenty – tick!
Summer kit and caboodle now available in store – TICK!

Change is in the air

In the UK, Snowmageddon (Round 3) has been called off and although it might be a little chillier over the next week or so with some unpredictable weather (aka rain!), we can look forward to two 4-day weeks without bread and milk shortages – hoorah!

Despite the fact this year’s Easter Egg hunt may be a bit soggy, and for all the chaos caused by the UK’s recent bad weather, there are some important positives to focus on, especially if you work in eCommerce.

Bad weather is great weather for online business

According to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, January’s online retail sales saw an increase of 13.9% YOY and the post-Christmas month-on-month sales decline of 20.4% was lower than the 24.1% 5-year average.

Rainfall was above average in January and high-street footfall was at the lowest recorded in 5 years – the two, of course, are connected.

IMRG’s February stats shop a back-weighted month thanks to all the lovely snow we encountered and this is expected to show in the early March stats too.

YoY Growth IMRG

The close connection between weather and consumer spending has always been there driving interest in anything from BBQ’s to woolly hats – and it is a huge opportunity!

It’s…Snow joke for your brand!

Over the years, harnessing weather conditions to popularize a business or a brand has seen the birth of some of the most innovative campaigns that will go down in the marketing history books.

A brilliant example was Polo Mint back in the day with one of my most favourite guerrilla marketing campaigns ever.

Polo Mint

Photo credit: Ads of the world.com

Back in 2009 when the UK was covered in a thick blanket of snow, London agency JWT made the most of this by creating a stamp of the iconic mint, winning them the Gold Outdoor Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival 2010.

Boden, ASOS, John Lewis et al have been quick to identify that the recent inclement weather we have been experiencing is a great way to connect with their social media audience with bright, witty and often funny comments!

“The weather has influenced consumers’ choice of purchases, and driven their choice of channel” – RetailWeek.com 

Boden, Hunter

Summer Ready?

Forgetting about all the harsh weather 2018 has thrown at us this far, now is the time to plan for the possibilities and positives summer 2018 could bring.

Last June, our soaring UK temperatures (around 30C/100F!) were considered responsible for the UK retail sector growing faster than expected. These figures were assisted by the rapid sale of summer clothes during the hot weather we encountered.

As I sit here shrouded in a blanket, it’s rather hard to imagine that kind of weather but it did indeed occur and early reports suggest that we could be in for a scorcher in 2018.

Challenging as it may be, now is the time to think about how to deliver a great online experience to these shoppers and maximise the revenue opportunity the weather can present.

Switch-off from sledges and get thinking about the factor 50 – for 2018. Keeping an eye on the weather will help drive your eCommerce success.

As Forrester opines, we are currently in the “Age of the Customer”, whereby every initiative and business decision should be driven with the customer in mind. Much of this thinking and shift in typical, transactional relations is owed due to advancing technologies; changing the power paradigm from organisations to customers. With more information, literally at their fingertips, customers have become more demanding in terms of what they expect online.

With a variety of tangible and intangible factors involved, safeguarding the online reputation of businesses becomes a widespread task. While many are using new technologies to achieve higher profit margins and revenues, fewer companies are succeeding. This is exemplified by the average life span of companies on the S & P 500 Index, which has fallen in recent years to just 18 months. Ensuring success requires consideration of all eventualities including risk.

Pope Inauguration

Digitally focussed: Pope Benedict Inauguration (2005)/ Pope Francis Inauguration (2013)

What risks are centred around these digital trends?

Forrester security and risk expert analyst Nick Hayes identifies “the four V’s” associated with accelerating risk into today’s digital climate. These are broken down into the following:

Volume: The number of influence impressions put in front of customer
Visibility: The ease at which public opinion can be widely distributed
Volatility: The unpredictable impact of consumer’s opinion
Velocity: The speed of change to brand perceptions

With so many factors at play concerning reputation it’s perhaps unsurprising that we have seen a 461% increase in reputation linked losses in the past five years alone.

Everything is amplified in today’s World

Whether it’s a data breach, security issue, marketing, third party or even financial bug, when reputation is concerned any of these has a risk component attached to it. Both individually and as a whole these actions can impact on an organisations reputation for better or for worse. Given today’s connected culture it’s the intangible assets that can make or break you. Data innovation, intellectual property, employee experience, customer experience and much more; all contribute to how your organisation is perceived.

1975 to 2015

While many positives can be derived from the wealth of technologies available it’s also imperative to keep a sense of perspective and shift your mentality towards risk when required.

Studies show that a 1% improvement in a firms CX score can translate into an additional profit of $150 million dollars per year. On the flip side, there is also the chance that a 1% decrease can have the reverse effect, an often-neglected perspective. So how do we measure this to improve the likelihood of success and mitigate risk, safeguarding reputation?

Insights driven businesses are faster and fleeter

The most successful organisations are ones that are data and insights driven, actively utilizing the wealth of information available. Experts are forecasting that these companies will grow at a much greater rate than those that aren’t acting upon this available data.

Key to success, is the requirement to be ‘digitally intelligent’ with a business’s online assets. Everything from internal properties and information to workflows and processes should be consistent and mapped, including the touch points with internal and external users. Regarding reputation, you should be thinking about the ways in which you can better evaluate your own interactions as well as the experiences your customers have. Consider:

-Systems of engagement (touch points with people)
-Systems of record (host processes)
-Systems of automation (connect to the physical word)

From these processes, gather and drive risk insights

When we start thinking about common processes and technologies we can start to gather different types of insights. From this you can identify risk factors and produce what Forrester’s Hayes calls, KRIs (Key Risk Indicators), which can be used to balance out your more typical KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Whilst continuing to deliver value to customers, you can design digital risk initiatives like the below:

-Establish goals (identify metrics that align)
-Inventory processes
-Create metrics for performance management
-Use metric data as KPIs
-Determine performance thresholds (at which points should you set risk, what is the limit?)
-Report outcomes
-Evaluate and realign as required

By assessing the likelihood of risk, the degree of potential damage to reputation and the frequency of occurrence, you can better understand the measures and scope to put in place.

What we can learn

By parsing out the different types of reputational consequences and costs; you will foster a far greater understanding of what constitutes a risk and how to mitigate it. By finding ways to offer strategic business support for key departments, organizations can efficiently outline causes, put in control contingencies and kick-off key initiatives to manage reputation.

By having effective measures in place to track reputational impact, key risks to reputation are easily identified and handled. Whilst it’s imperative to continue to deliver an exceptional customer experience, remaining cognizant of risk factors can ensure your online reputation remains intact.

This article was taken from a talk with Forrester’s Nick Hayes. You can watch the full talk here.

SSFCU Webinar

It’s time to turn down those lights,
Get the champers on ice,
Tee-up a little Barry White on Spotify,
And slip into something a little more comfortable, why don’t you…
It’s Valentine’s Day!

To some, it may be just a cynical, made-up day, manufactured by the world of retail to flog heart shaped goodies and mushy greetings cards (…sorry…what’s the problem with that!?!) but, to this old romantic, it’s a fantastic excuse to show those closest to you, just how much you care for them. I mean, who doesn’t like a little romance and to be ‘wooed’, a little? Oh, Mr Darcy!

Of course, some might argue that we shouldn’t really need a special day to show our true feelings and make a bit of an effort for that special someone. We really should do this all year round, right? Do we really need all the pomp and fuss in the form of flowers, trinkets and heart embellished Hallmark moments?

This translates to eCommerce when we think about how we schmooze our website visitors and the Customer Experience (CeX) you give them. This should be a consistent ‘all-the-time’ thing, showing our customers the ‘love’ every time they visit our website. Of course, delivering great CeX needs some real commitment!

There is only one thing for it, and I know it’s a bit ‘old-school’, but as far as I am concerned there is nothing more romantic than a good old-fashioned mix-tape.

So, dear eCommerce website owners, developers and influencers, here are a selection of Valentine’s appropriate tracks to bear in mind as we consider what needs to be done to get customers using the ‘L’ word when they visit you online!

Everything I Do, I Do It for You – Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams knew exactly what he was talking about back in 1991 when he penned this little gem, and if you have taken note of Forrester’s 2018 Predictions report, you will also have gathered that his sentiments also apply to eCommerce. (Seamless link there!)

‘The key to successful retailing in 2018, is obsessing about customer experience’ so it’s time to roll out the red carpet ladies and gentleman, and place our lovely customers at the centre of everything we do.
Being customer obsessed isn’t something I hear many retailers object to, in fact, quite the opposite is true. There is huge support for placing the customer at the heart of business actions and decisions, however, being set-up in a way that allows this to be realised is something of a challenge.

To do absolutely everything you can to deliver great CeX to your customer, traditional organisational silo’s need to crack and teams that have previously worked apart (i.e IT and eCommerce) need to come together. As it stands, the ‘siloed’ nature of our businesses can actively prevent the delivery of a seamless and revenue generating interaction with the customer, which will never do!

Our advice:

IT, swipe right on eComms.
eComms, defo DM I.T.
You guys are made for each other!

Something Stupid – Frank Sinatra & Nancy Sinatra


The chat is flowing. You are gazing into each others dilating pupils and even sneaking in the odd hand-brush and arm touch…it’s all going well…until a flippant, ill-considered comment pops out of your mouth that you immediately regret and can’t take back….damn it! We’ve all been there, haven’t we? (Please say ‘Yes’!!!)

It’s the same when you are buying something online and there is a bump in the road. The size drop-down isn’t working because you are using an IOS device or there is a circle going round and round after clicking the ‘buy’ button but no confirmation of purchase comes through. Did I buy it? Have I been duped? It’s frustrating, worrying and, not only could it impact the customer completing that transaction with you, it could also cost you that customer for life.

Keep a close eye on the health of important website areas like ‘Search’ and ‘Check-out’.

Even what appears to be a seemingly minor, short-lived, online issue impacting <0.5% of your check-out visitors could create a negative impact on revenue if left unresolved.

Ask your team:

Can we identify sessions where users are encountering struggle?
Can we quickly identify what sessions have been impacted by an issue?
Can we give our tech team the details of this issue so they can replicate and resolve it?
Can we quantify the impact of these issues so you can prioritise fixes?

This level of insight and detailed interrogation will ensure visitors check-out with their Visa, and not emotionally!

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith


This the title track to 1998’s ‘Armageddon’, starring the delightful Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, makes a rather important point.

No one wants to miss out on the important stuff in life, do they? It’s really annoying, and be it wondering how Liv Tyler is getting on back on planet earth while you’re hanging off gigantic chunks of space rock on a mission to save the entire planet from imminent annihilation -OR- casually sipping on a pepper-mint tea in the office, wondering why Gloria from Bourton-on-the-water never did buy those art deco designer pastry forks, in limited edition rose gold, despite her repeated visits to your website, it’s just massively frustrating!

The good news and bad news on this one.

Bad news – space rock on a collision course with earth; bit of a pickle to sort really…

Good news – it’s really not so difficult to figure out what happened to poor old Gloria and the mystery of the cutlery purchase that never was.

There are lots of CeX tools that can provide you some insight into a user’s online experience on your website, however, many provide only a sample of the sessions that have taken place. Sample data is good for making a call on some basic usability issues, however, it’s pretty poor for drilling into the specifics of an individual user journey and interrogating the reasons that something didn’t work.

Wherever possible, remove the information gaps, guess-work and conjecture on what may have taken place. Ensure you are capturing 100% of user sessions and what’s more, demand insight from your CeX solution that is fully monetised and actionable so you can prioritise your work and that of your teams’!

With the right tools in place helping you deliver the online CeX required and driving revenue upwards, you may notice you CFO is generally a bit more cuddly to!

From all of us here at UserReplay have a delightful Valentine’s day and remember;

When your website is read,
Customers shouldn’t be blue,
Great CeX is awesome
For increasing reven-ue!

(Hey…I tried!)

As consumers are getting more comfortable with making financial transactions online – from ordering grocery to banking and purchasing insurance – the market is also becoming more competitive for financial institutions (FIs.)

You aren’t just competing with the bank down the block or the credit union in the next town. While you have the opportunity to access a national or even international clientele, you’re also competing against other FIs from around the globe.

How can you stand out?

The financial industry is highly regulated and many consumers consider most financial products as a commodity.

Simply coming up with a slightly different product or a marginally better pricing is no longer enough to set you apart in this competitive landscape.

Thankfully, there’s a gap in the market and if you fill it before your competitors do, you’ll set your brand apart and gain market share.

Customer Experience: the New Frontier

Consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (CX), which will become the key differentiator, overtaking price and product by the year 2020.

Customer Experience Statistics

Source: https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics/

Your customers have developed high expectations when they interact with other consumer brands that deliver a user-centric customer experience.

In addition, the line between online and offline is blurring. Customers want a seamless omnichannel experience even when they switch channels or devices while interacting with a brand.

However, the financial industry has lagged behind in delivering an outstanding customer experience. Many FIs fail to meet customer expectations and consumers are increasingly frustrated with the industry.

A report titled “Improving the Customer Experience in Banking” found that only 37% of organizations have a formal CX plan.

While many FIs are starting to invest in CX initiatives, they’re still facing a lot of challenges in the implementation – especially with data analytics, technology, and the creation of a 360-degree customer view.

In addition, most FIs still approach CX from the perspective of internal benefits (e.g., cost cutting, increasing sales) instead of customer benefits (e.g., ease of use, responsiveness), which is the key to delivering a customer-centric experience.

How Financial Institutions Can Improve Customer Experience

To successfully deliver an excellent customer experience, you need to shift the focus of your organization’s digital engagement from cost reduction to experience enhancement.

Focus on building trust and developing relationships with your customers throughout the entire customer journey – engaging them from the moment they’re researching about a financial product, to opening an account and becoming an advocate for your brand.

Here are some ideas for designing an engaging CX that will improve customer acquisition and retention:

Create an Exceptional Mobile Experience
More and more customers are engaging with FIs via mobile devices. For example, 49.5% of all online searches for life insurance and 42.1% for over-50s life cover came from mobile devices, according to Alex Koslowski, head of proposition in the consumer division at Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual insurer.

To capture these customers, develop a mobile-optimized website that’s not only responsive but also utilizes mobile-specific features such as tap-to-call, location service, and auto-fill to streamline the user experience.

You can also create a mobile app that enables customers to carry out specific tasks quickly and easily, e.g., pay bills or deposit a check.

Barclays Mobile Banking won two FStech Awards for a feature that enables customers to call the bank directly from the app and introducing instant lending on a mobile device.

Use Engaging Content To Simplify Complex Processes
Many consumers are intimidated by the complexity and variety of financial products. FIs can create interactive, educational, and engaging content, e.g., a quiz or product selector, to help customers understand their needs and choose the best products.

Streamline your online application processes by simplifying product configurations and pricing structure.

In addition, you can use gamification to increase customer engagement and loyalty.

Deliver a Consistent Omnichannel Customer Experience
Customers want a seamless experience when they interact with your brand across all touchpoints and devices.

Develop a centralized database for storing your 360-degree customer profiles, which can be updated in real-time as customers interact with your brand on multiple channels.

With the development of a single customer view, you’ll also have the opportunity to leverage advanced analytics, machine learning, and contextual engagement to be proactive about your advisory and sales activities and deliver a highly personalized experience through your customers’ preferred channels. Defining an audience

Source: http://www.experian.co.uk/blogs/latest-thinking/single-customer-view-2/

How To Optimize Customer Experience Cost-Effectively [ Case Study ]

Creating an exceptional customer experience is a sizable undertaking that involves many moving parts.

What can you do to ensure that your CX initiative is achieving the desired customer experience and the associated business objectives?

Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) is an $8 billion member-owned organization. It’s the largest credit union in Texas and the 8th largest in the nation, serving more than 700,000 members worldwide.

As more members choose to self-serve online, SSFCU needed to offer high-quality service in their digital environment. SSFCU had to take its website usability and online service capabilities to the next level quickly and effectively.

SSFCU worked with UserReplay and used advanced technologies such as machine learning, a variety of CX analytics, and patented interactive user session technology, to define and improve their CX strategies.

As a result of this collaboration, the credit union reduced the time it needs to identify and fix CX issues by more than 50%. They’re able to act on critical issues immediately to minimize the overall impact on the business.

In addition, they have the ability to test new products and services with their members before spending the time and resources to bring them to market so they can maximize ROIs.

With the aid of advanced analytics and technologies, you can now take the guesswork out of implementing CX initiatives for your financial institution and make data-driven, informed decisions.

SSFCU Webinar

Today’s customer-led market has created a shift from what is acceptable to what is expected of e-commerce brands. If you’re not continually delivering smooth, connected customer experiences that outperform your competitors, then you’re missing out on millions of dollars in earned revenues and future business. Customer conversion is key.

The typical online business conversion rate of just over 2% is no longer good enough. If you’re going to compete in the age of the empowered customer, you need to dig much deeper to understand why the other 98% of user journeys aren’t converting – and do everything you can to decrease basket abandonment, which currently averages 75%, according to industry research. You need to do more than the competition is doing, to build the trust generated by the customer experience.

Barriers to customer conversion

Chances are, most barriers to conversion are nothing more than basic errors and common site issues. According to Forrester, 48% of sites don’t perform well, most digital interfaces disappoint and rookie mistakes are rampant. Yet, if you don’t find and fix hidden errors – which we find account for between 40% and 100% of our customers’ lost revenue – these problems will start to hurt your business.

Machine learning helps you deliver actionable insight and focus on the details that often go unseen internally, yet have a huge impact on your customers. It looks for abnormal patterns in your data, across each of the paths attempted by the customer, to auto-discover hidden obstacles. It learns from every micro step of every unique user’s online journey, covering variables like why some customers choose certain paths, what actions they take and what triggers these actions.

The advantages of actionable insight

This actionable insight is only possible when you capture 100% of the data and combine it with machine learning. From there, you can identify the users that are really struggling and at which stage of their online journey – whether it’s signing in, searching for products or during purchase. It’s a necessary level of precision that tells you exactly why potential or lost customers voted with their fingertips.

Machine learning highlights the issues that caused these obstacles – and because a monetary value is attached to each one, you can see exactly how many customers are affected and how much revenue is impacted. It gives you a list of actionable insights on issues and which issues are leading to abandoned purchases and the loss of multiple customers, so you can prioritize those first.

Total visibility of your customer journeys is available, as all customer segments of interest are promoted. There’s no need to waste time replaying every session but focus on segments and replays that machine learning has identified. And because all manual processes are automated, you can spend your time more effectively – on innovation and key business objectives.

The segments to watch out for

For clients that prefer a fully managed service, UserReplay provides actionable insights through a service called Active Insights, which includes machine learning and advanced analytics, to identify obstacles that affect revenues.

Unlike other solutions, UserReplay offers 100% fidelity video replay of each user journey – so you can relive a specific customer experience first-hand and interrogate the data. All of the data is provided, from the actual code run in the browser from each journey to detailed event data, giving you a full picture of what’s happening and why.

By identifying all issues that seriously affect customer experiences, including the subtle ones that can easily be missed, UserReplay finds revenue segments that other tools miss. And this is a real opportunity for your IT and e-commerce teams to share the insights that matter most.

See eye to eye

By working as integrated product teams and delivering high value insight for both technical and ecommerce teams, you can find and resolve issues up to ten times faster – helping to achieve your companywide objectives of increasing efficiency and improving customer satisfaction.

Actionable insights is the key to customer conversion and it’s imperative to the success of your e-commerce business in this new world. Using machine learning and data will not only allow you to visualise the real value of your customer experience, it will also give you everything you need to optimize it.

See eye to eye, not back to back
Find out how UserReplay can help you win in the age of the empowered customer here

Learn more about adopting this approach. Read our free e-book

Meet in the Middle – click below.

Learn how to see eye to eye hereSources
1 Bridge the gap from CX strategy to digital CX, 2017 (Forrester)

In this highly competitive retail world, every e-commerce organization knows their focus needs to be on putting their customers first; seeing things from their perspective. If you fail to provide your customer with a smooth online shopping experience, they are likely to go elsewhere.

Yet many organizations still lose vast amounts of revenue in this way – because, while their people are united in the cause, their tools and work practices divide rather than unite them.

Back to back

The CMO and e-commerce managers use a range of analytical tools to concentrate on content, while the CIO and their team use application performance management tools to maintain the technical side. Both tools talk a different language and there is little shared intelligence to unite behavioural understanding and performance.

And between the gap, customer experience issues still arise, causing long-term brand damage and lost sales.

What’s required is the ability to see eye to eye internally, rather than operating back to back. IT and Marketing need to partner for a more holistic shared view, if the business is to fulfil its revenue potential.

The possibilities

Imagine having the ability to visualize and interrogate customer behavior and session data more thoroughly to understand exactly why visitors aren’t converting. With this level of behavioral and performance insight, you can identify obstacles and prioritize resolutions more easily – all of which allows you to fix the issues that affect conversions up to ten times faster.

The outcome can be huge. As Forrester points out, a 10% improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into millions of dollars in increased revenue.

Improving your perspective in this way not only enables you to fulfil current revenue potential, it also delivers vital insights to the hidden revenue opportunities that lie in your customer data.

There are also clear business advantages to be gained within the organization. Departments can be better aligned to the objectives of the business, driving progress on a united front and increasing revenue generation.

Additionally, a shared focus on product, performance, revenue and the customer opens up further opportunities within the company to deliver wide-reaching value, improving communication and visibility between multiple stakeholders and driving dynamic digital transformation.

These are the benefits of turning visibility into value, by seeing eye to eye and working hand in hand across your e-commerce business.

Learn more about adopting this approach. Read our free e-book

Meet in the Middle – click below.

Learn how to see eye to eye here

I’m a #Januarygymjoker (There are many variations on this particular hashtag. Many of which are not appropriate for a blog about eCommerce and customer experience – I will leave you to visit Twitter to explore but, I’m sure you get the gist).

For the last 10 days I have become a walking (slightly hobbling, actually), talking, protein-shake drinking, Women’s Health (Gemma Atkinson edition – naturally) reading, gym addict with all the gear and absolutely no idea – the ultimate January cliché.

I pretend I know what I am doing but, in reality, I am just hopping on the various machines, pressing the buttons and hoping for the best. The good thing is, no one notices because everyone around me are all #Januarygymjokers too! Result!

A fresh start

I love a good New Year’s Resolution and getting fit for 2018 is  just one of the many I have. It’s all the more important because now the festive season has finished and the last shimmering, tinsley morsel has been vacuumed up, it’s time to get thinking about a sunny get away for 2018; come hell or high water, I will be bringing some abs with me on holiday this year!

Get your Travel eCommerce site into shape 

 

January 2018 peak travel-booking period has arrived, one of the two traditional booking spikes the travel industry enjoys, annually.

Us #Januarygymjokers have our smartphones in hand, PayPal ready to rock and are online as we speak, making one of the biggest purchases and arguably, one of the most important purchases of the year. Its essential that online travel websites deliver the online customer experience expected by these customers.

I got to thinking – what would be the New Year’s resolutions of an online travel retailer?

Find love

It’s the top of many a New Year’s Resolution list – everyone wants to feel loved, including the customers who take the time to visit our websites!

Take time to build a relationship with your customers and provide them with an online experience that shows you care.

When it comes to booking online travel products, a little love goes a long, long way.

Recent research from PhocusWright tells us that Travelers feel like they are provided with too much information that is simply not personalised or tailored to what they are interested in. Their questions about the holiday or the product they are looking for are often not answered by the content served.

Think about the needs and wants of your customer. Provide up-to-date images and consider links to ancillary products like tours and sources of information on local sites of interest and events.

Booking a holiday product can be a lengthy time-consuming process with multiple steps and information requirements, yet, travelers complain they are still provided with excess information and repeated data requests.

K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) – and let there be love!

Get Fit

If you’re getting summer ready in time for hitting the beach, you might as well get your website on-point to!

Technical website issues at any point in the booking or even research process could cost you the sale and a customer for life, so, ensuring your website is delivering a 1st class experience is vital.

Keep a close eye on the  health of key website areas like the check-out. Travel typically enjoys high basket values so even a seemingly minor short-lived issue impacting <0.5% of your check-out visitors could create a negative impact on revenue.

Ask your eCommerce team:

Can we identify sessions where users are encountering struggle?
Can we quickly identify what sessions have been impacted by an issue?
Can we give our tech team the details of this issue so they can replicate and resolve it?

Can we quantify the impact of these issues so you can prioritise fixes?

This granular level of insight will ensure your website is in great shape.

Spend more time with the wider family

It’s nice to see everyone as we gather together over Christmas and New Year and we often resolve to not leave it so long (…unsuccessfully!)

Perhaps we should also resolve to take this approach at work with those departments that our work aligns with but we rarely see; let’s be honest, nipping down a floor or along the corridor a bit is just a little easier than making plans to drive an hour for coffee with Aunt Ethel.

Often in eCommerce businesses, IT and eCommerce/marketing teams are not closely aligned. In reality, however, when they pull together and join forces, the results can be outstanding.

Technical teams and IT teams draw a lot of their knowledge from APM solution’s like New Relic and eCommerce teams rely heavily on tools like GA and heat-maps – essentially both teams are tasked with the efficient and successful delivery of the online product, however both are using entirely different tool suites and are not collaborating despite their aligned focus.

Each department has a very different view of the business and what success ultimately looks like and this can cause significant separation,  impacting the level of Online Customer Experience delivered.

Great online Customer Experience relies on collaboration across the whole business and it is possible to achieve this by the right teams working together, and harnessing technology that integrates effectively.

I firmly believe in taking stock of what went well and what didn’t go quite so well as we enter a brand new year and this is as important in our business lives as it is in our personal ones.  So crunch your numbers, flex your CX muscles and sculpt 2018 into the year of great Online Customer Experience in Travel.

 

For key statistics and top tips for your Travel website, download UserReplay’s latest eBook below.

When it comes to collecting data for business intelligence, the idea of user session replay has a lot to offer. It’s important for marketers to look at such replays within the full context of marketing analytics, to figure out how to benefit from the power of tracking customers in this very specific way.

The Power of Session Replay

Being able to replay user sessions really breaks considerable new ground when it comes to analyzing customer experience.

Traditionally, companies took in metrics like purchase tracking results, webpage views and clicks on marketing hyperlinks, to try to build a profile of how a customer thinks, and what they do on the web. But all of these are based on static inputs — individual user events. They don’t really show the whole picture.

Imagine how replays can help show marketers more about what customers do online. Instead of getting a list of ‘yes or no’ outcomes, you get a visual look into the customer’s journey — not only where they went, but how long it took them to go there, what controls and menu links they used, and much more.

Session replays allow marketers to get inside customers’ heads in a remarkable way. One of the biggest values of visual approach is being able to see the exact ways in which a user moves through a website or form. Did they pause on certain fields or paragraphs? Was there a moment of hesitation? Did they move between two or more options for a while?

All of this helps marketers to really see and explore the results of what they put in motion with their carefully crafted campaigns. They can see what works, and what doesn’t, and learn more about the psychology of their target audiences. You don’t get this with tracking data.

Efficient Use of Replay

With this in mind, session replay also takes time. It can take many hours to go through all of the compiled user sessions, and figure out what each individual customer did or didn’t do. The time resources can become prohibitive.

UserReplay offers a way to help companies get more precise with the replay of user sessions.

Here’s one way to think about this – instead of just “running all of the sessions” you can use data sets first, and then use specific replays to “validate” what you find.

By crunching the numbers before doing replay, marketers can figure out whether certain sets of sessions were unusual outliers. They can first get a somewhat broad picture of overall user activity, and then focus their replay on very specific sets of user sessions.

For instance, as in the above example, if there were only a few sessions where some moment of hesitation occurred, where a user took longer to move through a form, or where there was a much more complex set of user events, marketers can isolate those sessions to look at, instead of slogging through a whole lot of sessions that really look similar and can be conveyed with just a set of data points.

When you combine these capabilities with the power of pre-formatting data tools, you really get a way to enhance and optimize marketing analytics. You get return on investment in terms of improved conversion near the bottom of the funnel — you get more versatile ways to observe customer behavior when it really counts.

Our software is also compatible with common IT tools such as New Relic (APM) – if you already have one of these service for real time and trending data, you can plug in UserReplay to the equation and get a “backup” tool for additional insight. Use session replay with benchmarking and analytics programs to really boost those processes that fuel conversion. Consider how this addition to your business toolkit could help you to compete in today’s high-tech marketing world.

ROI of Online Customer Experience Management

The Analyst’s Diary, November 2017. Hello Diary, I just cannot believe we are in the countdown to 2017’s biggest online trading days – time goes so fast, but, it seems to move just so much faster in the world of eCommerce!

Preparation for peak trading has been underway for my clients since late August and I have enjoyed working closely with them to ensure they are set-up for Online Customer Experience success as they enter the silly-season.

It’s rewarding to get a client’s online CX ducks in a row, so to speak…especially when there is an especially elusive duck in the flock (…one thing I have learned is there is always a funny duck, on every website…finding it can be tricky though without the right tools!)

The terms ‘Machine Learning’ and ‘AI’ seem to be thrown around so commonly in the eCommerce analytics space these days, but it’s just so fascinating to work closely with these particular capabilities.

The Machine Learning and AI capabilities within the UserReplay solution are incredibly powerful because they identify much more than what us analysts, and indeed, us humans, could ever hope to detect.

Here is an example:
Recently, our Machine Learning algorithms identified that there was a number of customers hitting the payment button repeatedly, indicating struggle behaviour. I sat down with the client and built an event to pick-up on button clicks. Interrogation of this issue identified that this particular problem, although not occurring all the time (and only impacting 1% of visitors trying to purchase), was sporadically taking place more frequently during Windows/Internet Explorer sessions and was impacting conversion by up to 40% – rather meaningful!

Thankfully we always capture the technical data behind each journey so were able to quickly identify and resolve the issue for the client.

Early detection of this issue helped my eCommerce client discover a lost revenue opportunity of several millions of dollars!

I spoke to my key contact at this company tonight and it seems like they are in good shape for Black Friday – I know how important this time is and I am rooting for them.

Felt like this should be in the diary. It’s great knowing we have played a part in getting them organised for this critical time.

Here’s to a happy Online Experience.

Until next time…

The Analyst’s Diary is a collection of scenarios encountered by UserReplay’s Online Customer Experience analysts. Names and some details may have been changed to protect the innocent!

To learn more about how UserReplay could help you detect struggle and Increase online conversion on your website with Machine Learning, then book a demo with one of our experts. 

 

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It’s always exciting to bring-in and increase traffic to your website via multiple channel marketing campaigns. However, any issues on your website that could affect digital customer experience and create struggle, will impact more customers as traffic volumes ramp-up. Struggle detection is therefore critical.

A small issue lying deep down in the conversion funnel could cause major damage and result in masses of lost revenue opportunities.

Despite this, your figures from revenue, conversions and/or funnel analysis may well tell you the campaign is successful (unless the traffic crashes the website!).

These high-level numbers have a tendency to be misleading while increasing sales figures often cover-up long-standing problems on your website.
This final point is the most important, because, if you don’t know a problem is occurring, then you don’t know that your conversion rate could be doubled!

Struggle detection – Gain deeper insight

While web analytics tools provide a basic understanding of the traffic on a website, digital customer experience (CX) analytics offers the deep understanding of how well your customers are being served in your digital store.

If you’re interested in your customers’ digital CX and want to know about the conversion opportunities you aren’t yet capitalising on, struggle detection offers everything you need to know.

When splitting the traffic on a website based on where each session drops out, you can expect a relative static distribution, thus a consistent conversion rate. For example, the figure below illustrates one way how website traffic can be segmented on a retail website.

Window shoppers are purely browsing on the site, not adding things to the shopping basket. Shoppers that have added things to the basket, but have not started the check-out process can be defined as a potential purchase. These two segments constitute most of the traffic on a retail website. They are the prospects that could come back later on and move down the conversion funnel. Their ratio varies depending on the type of the business and its position within the market.

The next segment ‘struggle purchase’ is the bottleneck of the website that could potentially prevent traffic from converting, resulting in low ROI from your marketing campaign. This segment may even make all your marketing efforts redundant and actually damage the brand reputation because of the struggle they experience at this stage.

Actionable insight

The struggle purchase segment can account for 70% to over 200% of the conversion. Given a 2% conversion rate, this crucial segment is between 1.4% and 4% of the overall traffic. It means that struggle detection is ultimately anomaly detection.

While it is difficult to discover this segment, it is ultimately rewarding once it is accurately identified as it opens a ‘rabbit hole’ and exposes all kinds of unexpected issues on a website.

For example;
– You may discover the account login does not work, even after customers’ multiple attempts to reset the password.
– You could uncover a hidden error page that clears the whole shopping basket
– You could find out that the coupons sent out during marketing campaigns do not work because of technical issues.
– The submit payment button, the very last step before conversion, becomes a dead button for certain operating systems and browsers.

It is a combination of some of these struggles that could amount to 70% to 200% to your conversion. As serious as these issues are, they can be easily missed, even when you are equipped with various session replay tools. This is because they only account for 1.4% to 4% of the traffic and your analysts simply do not have enough time to painstakingly replay all user sessions.

Deliver value

Without proprietary machine learning algorithms, surfacing these sessions is just like finding needles in a haystack. Anomaly detection is a challenging problem in the machine learning space and standard analytics technology barely touches the surface of the solution.

At UserReplay, we offer the solution of struggle detection by utilizing a combination of advanced analytics and various machine learning techniques on multiple data sources generated during a user journey.
In the following posts, we will detail information on what we have accomplished in solving this and will present our findings.

Stay tuned folks! 🙂

 

To learn more about how UserReplay could help you detect struggle and increase online conversion on your website, then book a demo with one of our experts. 

 

Request a demo