5 user experience optimizations for the best holiday season ever
Tips and Tricks · 6 min read

5 user experience optimizations for the best holiday season ever

The FullStory Team
Posted August 31, 2021

Prepare for the holiday shopping surge

Each year, the holiday season comes upon us and it brings excitement—and, for retailers, anxiety and terror. ‘Tis the season that can make or break annual revenue goals.

The good news? The numbers are in your favor. 

  • Retail ecommerce sales worldwide amounted to $4.28 trillion and online retail revenues are projected to grow to $5.4 trillion in 2022.

  • Over one-third of retail sales now come via mobile device driving over $47 billion worth of revenue in 2020.

  • Global retail ecommerce sales grew 27.6% compared to the previous year and ecommerce sales accounted for 18% of global retail sales.

Research from Forrester suggests that 62% of all sales are now digitally influenced (for both online and offline sales). That means your digital shopping experience—how customers experience your e-commerce site or app—is now the linchpin to your success.

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

1. Find and fix friction in the checkout flow

As of 2021, the cart abandonment rate was 80.6% for mobile phones. Even well-optimized ecommerce sites are sure to have opportunities to improve.

Start by analyzing the checkout flow with a Digital Experience Intelligence (DXI) platform, such as FullStory. As FullStory stores and organizes user engagement down to on-page interactions—and performance—it's easy to create a conversion funnel that strings together the digital behaviors that matter most.

Integrate those digital experience events from a DXI solution with custom events (such as those from Tealium or Segment) and it will rope in otherwise unseeable data.

The result is a clear visualization of your funnel—and a few hints at where folks are dropping off.

Digital Experience Intelligence tools also allow teams to analyze funnels. For example, 

Conversions will reveal if a customer struggle—revealed through Rage Clicks or other on-page 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 e-commerce KPIs: for 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.

Actionable data can be used to get ahead this holiday season with a Digital Experience Intelligence (DXI) solution. Request a demo and see it in action yourself. 

3. Have a mobile-first mentality

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

In a study examining data from across the web, 53% of mobile visitors abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. How thin is a mobile shopper's patience going to be when they’re hunting for the best deals at the last minute?

Here's what to do: Build a conversion funnel for mobile shoppers.

Using a DXI solution like FullStory, 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: 

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

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

  3. Watch these sessions and take notes on 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 e-commerce shop look good and function with every combination of browser and device customers could possibly be using.

Leading DXI solutions offer a shortcut for this! 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, the customer’s frustrations are revealed, 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 e-commerce experience strategy, or you’re ready for a more robust DXI solution, FullStory’s data and analytics have the answers you need. Request a demo today. 

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The FullStory TeamContributor

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

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