Tips and Tricks · 6 min read

5 user experience optimizations for the best holiday season ever

The FullStory Team
Posted August 16, 2023
5 user experience optimizations for the best holiday season ever

Prepare for the holiday shopping surge

The holiday shopping season, for all of its joys, can be a taxing time for ecommerce businesses. ‘Tis the season that can make or break annual revenue goals.

The good news? The numbers are in your favor. 

  • In 2022, retail ecommerce sales grew 3.5% year over year, amounting to over $211 billion in November and December alone.

  • By 2024, it’s expected that over half of all online purchases will be made via mobile device, reaching over $620 billion. 

  • Forrester predicts that digital-influenced sales in the U.S. will grow from $2.7 trillion in 2022 to $3.8 trillion in 2027. 

So what can you do to ready your site—or mobile app—for the coming shopping frenzy? Here are five ways to optimize your user experience this season. 

1. Find and fix friction in the checkout flow

As of 2022, the cart abandonment rate was 86% for mobile phones. Even well-optimized ecommerce sites are sure to have opportunities to improve.

Start by analyzing the checkout flow with your digital experience intelligence platform, such as FullStory. FullStory captures and organizes detailed user interactions, allowing you to create dashboards with metrics and conversion that string together the digital behaviors that matter most.

Integrate those digital experience events with custom events (such as those from Tealium or Segment) to include otherwise unseeable data.

The result is a clear visualization of your funnel—and insights into where folks are dropping off. With metric alerts, you can even be notified about urgent changes in user behavior, like an increase in error clicks, and quickly respond to improve the customer experience.

Digital Experience Intelligence platforms also allow teams to analyze funnels. For example, Conversions will reveal if a customer issue—revealed through Rage Clicks or other on-page frustration signals—is holding shoppers back, as well as how it's impacting metrics.

Once you prioritize what’s most important, take a closer look with session replay to confirm the problem. And with all that digital experience context, ideas for immediate fixes, optimization, or future A/B tests will arise.

2. Optimize performance for high-volume traffic

Performance has a huge effect on ecommerce KPIs. Wor example, Carvana’s product team wanted to make the site’s search bar more functional and user-friendly. To do this, the team worked through half a dozen iterations and watched user sessions in FullStory to analyze engagement and evaluate each version. Ultimately, the changes the team made resulted in an uptick in product usage, all without sacrificing site speed.

So how do you keep your finger on the pulse of performance?

If you're a medium-to-large retailer and plan to offer seasonal doorbuster specials, try load testing. Here are a few recommended tools: 

  • Check out Blazemeter, the continuous testing platform, along with this extensive list of load testing solutions to choose from.

  • For ongoing performance monitoring, consider tools like Calibre or Rigor. They measure page load speed for an entire shopping cart flow.

  • FullStory’s Dev Tools helps teams glean insights into page performance from real users—not synthetic traffic as with other performance monitoring services. Check out the Network analysis view that reveals requests made by the browser and how long each request took.

For more, read how Carvana used FullStory to achieve a 5% lift in cars reserved for checkout without affecting site performance

3. Have a mobile-first mentality

Typically, mobile volumes pick up as the season approaches. Just don’t expect mobile shoppers to be in a relaxed state of mind. 

A Deloitte study found that improvements in site speed had a direct correlation to improved funnel progression. Conversely, the bounce rate increased by 123% when a mobile site’s load speed went from one to 10 seconds. You can likely expect a mobile shopper's patience to be at its lowest when they’re hunting for the best deals at the last minute.

To stay on top of this, you should build a conversion funnel for mobile shoppers.

In your digital experience analytics solution, build a segment of users who experienced your site or app on a mobile device. From there, construct a conversion funnel to reflect seasonal deals. This could be the checkout flow to examine mobile conversions. Or build out a funnel to the highly marketed deals, store hours, or contact us page.

To make the most of replay analysis, follow these steps: 

  • Save a funnel as a segment to easily use it for future analysis. 

  • Identify which steps in your funnel you want to troubleshoot and exclude the event filter at the point of failure. 

  • Watch these sessions and note any behavioral trends. 

4. Account for various browsers and screens

It’s important to understand where customers are—all types of devices, computers, browsers, and operating systems.

  • Review the checkout funnel using various web browsers.

  • Set the screen resolution as low as it will go and do it again. 

  • Switch to a different operating system and repeat those steps. 

  • Now repeat with other devices like a tablet or smartphone.

The goal is to make sure your site and ecommerce shop look good and function with every combination of browser and device customers could possibly be using.

While this could all be done manually, you could also pop open a DXI solution like FullStory and look at the screen resolution breakdown.

Additionally, select replays from customers on a particular browser and device and watch those sessions to take note of any glaring errors or rendering problems—like the team at Moosejaw did.

5. Help customer service breeze through the support queue

One (huge) benefit to installing a digital experience platform that has the ability to replay sessions is that it helps aid in providing excellent customer service.

Why? Without session replay, your team may need to ask clarifying questions or request screenshots to resolve tickets. The more emails that go back and forth with a customer simply to understand concerns, the more frustrated the customer gets—and the longer the queue becomes.

With the ability to replay the customer’s session, you can review the origin of the customer’s frustrations, how they tried to resolve them, and how to help them achieve their goal. All but the most complex tickets can be closed in a single touch, freeing up your team to tackle the next problem (and maybe even giving them some breathing room to take a walk or grab some coffee).

Have the best season yet with digital insights leading the way

This season, you will be armed and ready with digital insights. Find and fix friction in the checkout flow, keep an eye on the performance with key metrics, build conversion funnels for mobile users, test across various browsers and screens, and use a DXI solution to create replays to aid customer support. 

Enjoy watching those orders roll in, and may this be your best season yet. 

Whether you’re just beginning to think about ecommerce experience strategy, or you’re ready for a more robust digital experience solution, FullStory has the answers you need. Request a demo today

The FullStory TeamContributor

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Our team of digital experience intelligence experts shares tips and best practices.

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