Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas shopping or the January sales, this time of year is amongst the busiest for retailers.

The pressure is therefore on for eCommerce brands to provide a consistently excellent experience to their customers. Increased visitor traffic can put pressure on the ability to deliver this – so it is more important than ever to understand the customer experience and identify issues affecting your customer journeys before they have a major impact on revenue.

Session replay technologies can help brands uncover this information but, realistically, with the hundreds and thousands of journeys captured every day, it is pretty unachievable to replay a large volume of customer journeys to identity issues.

A more intelligent approach is needed. I’ve provided some top tips to stay on top of the customer experience during the busy periods:

  1. Implement Customer Experience Analytics with Flagged Events

When choosing a customer experience analytics solution, one key requirement is the ability to create flagged events that look for particular indications of struggle behavior (e.g. errors, repeated payment attempts, restarting checkout etc.). These events are counted, aggregated and reports can then show trends over time of these events.  Allied with email alerts, this provides early warning of customer experience issues and drills down to the customer sessions that matter.

  1. Score the Customer Experience

UserReplay has come up with a unique way to numerically score the quality of customer experience. Using the basis of the flagged events described above, UserReplay can score both individual customers and the site as a whole in terms of the quality of experience.  When these scores are measured over time, it is easier to spot sudden degradation in customer experience, and points you to the reasons for this – along with example journeys.

  1. Actionable conversion funnels

Drill down from the key abandonment points in the funnel and understand the issues, allowing for further analysis from here. This has considerably more value and actionability than the static funnels that are typically used in web analytics tools such as Google Analytics.

  1. Understand the Impact

Understanding customer issues is the first step but what eCommerce organizations really need to know is ‘How much will this cost my business?’. UserReplay provides a monetization summary that provides an ‘at-a-glance’ view of the revenue impact of the top customer experience issues. This will help prioritize which issues should be addressed first to minimize the impact of lost sales revenue.

If you are not currently taking a proactive approach to managing your online customer experience, don’t worry, you’re not alone. 71% of organizations believe lack of investment in this area is having an impact on their ability to grow, according to our recent research study, Counting the Cost of not Knowing. The good news is that the technology is available now to address this –  so it is a great time to start your planning for the holiday season in 2016!

In a data rich world, it’s surprising how many brands we come across that lack full visibility of their customers’ experiences. According to the Counting the Cost of not Knowing research report, only one in five eCommerce organisations can fully and accurately quantify the amount of revenue being lost through a less than optimal online customer experience.

Yet in 2014, according to research by e-nor, 67% of Fortune 500 companies were using Google Analytics, 26% Adobe Analytics and 12% Webtrends. Why then, in an age when many organisations are prioritising their online channel, are they experiencing blind spots in their visibility?

Don’t get me wrong, web analytic tools have their purpose, and can be very useful – I would say a majority of our customers use a web analytics tool alongside UserReplay. But herein lies the key: full visibility of the customer experience requires a mix of qualitative and quantitative data insight to achieve true visibility.

Web analytics tools provide the high level facts about your website –  e.g. conversion rates are down – but you need to know the ‘why’ to discover the specific issues that are causing particular situations. It is recognised that one of the best ways to do this is through capturing and replaying customer journeys – thus allowing you to uncover specific issues that are being experienced by real customers. 73% of the eCommerce professionals surveyed in the Counting the Cost of not Knowing research said a combination of quantitative and qualitative feedback on the performance of their online channel is ultimately most useful.

However, being able to replay user sessions is just one element in bridging the visibility void.  The eCommerce and digital marketing functions are busier than ever and nobody has the time to replay hundreds of user sessions trying to find the needle in a haystack.  It is necessary to have a layer of customer experience analytics that directs you to those journeys that are most interesting and relevant.  Also, once an issue has been discovered, these analytics need to provide quick quantification on it’s cost to the business.

Typically, website analytics are usually owned and controlled by the marketing function, and it can be challenging for the wider business to holistically understand their customer base. Sharing and access to the data captured about customer experience is imperative to develop informed strategies, and to measure the impact of those decisions.

The goal for eCommerce brands is to understand their customers’ wants and needs as though they were standing in front of them in a shop. Complete visibility of the customer experience across every facet of the website journey is essential to achieve this.