Complete Guide to Ecommerce Heatmaps for Better Customer Interaction and Conversions

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Ecommerce heatmaps can give you an overview of what users do on the different pages of your online store. The insights you can get will help you improve your site and positively impact your business decisions.

Having heatmaps is like having x-ray films of your site that tells you what your users are reading on your site, what they click on, aspects of your pages where they are most engaged with, how many of your users scroll down your pages and more.

In this article, we will show you the most common types of ecommerce heatmaps, the different pages of your site where a heat map analysis is essential, and the some tools that can generate these visual data for you.

We will also discuss why heatmaps matter and show you case studies that will demonstrate just how effective these are for ecommerce conversion rate improvements.

Types of ecommerce heatmaps

In general, heatmaps allows you to see where people click and how they scroll through your site. It is a broad category of visual data representation that includes the following types – hover maps, click maps, attention maps, and scroll maps.

Hover maps are also called mouse movement tracking. It is a type of heatmap that shows areas of your site where people hovered over with their mouse cursor.

hover map

The logic behind hover maps is people look where they hover, thus showing business owners how users read their site.

Although hover maps are patterned after a usability test called eye tracking, its accuracy is sometimes questionable. One argument is that site visitors may be looking at portions of a site that they do not hover over. And conversely, they may be hovering over a portion of your site that does not get their attention at all, rendering it inaccurate.

Click maps comprise aggregated click data, which expresses your users’ intent better than hover maps. If they click on an image or a link, it means they are interested to look into the product more closely or they want to move to the next step of the conversion funnel.

In a click map, a blue spot means less clicks, a red spot means more clicks, and a white and yellow spot means the most clicks.

Click maps

Click maps are valuable when it comes to site optimization. If your click map tells you that your users are clicking on an image, button or a phrase, but these do not have links, a good way to optimize it is to make it clickable instead to meet your users’ expectations.

Conversely, click maps tell you which parts of your site are not getting clicked on. With this information, you will have more confidence to move your clickable elements on your site, such as your call-to-action buttons, and increase its visibility.

Attention heatmaps show you how much attention a portion of your site received from your visitors. It tells you the areas of your page that are viewed the most, how far people have scrolled down, and how much time they spend on a particular page.

This type of ecommerce heatmap is helpful when designing your site as it tells you how and where to position your text and images that is visible to almost all of your users. You have a clear idea on how to fix your least engaging pages and make your most engaging ones even more effective.

Scroll maps tell you how far your users scroll down your page. It shows you where people tend to drop off and how much more downward scrolling they are willing to do. Similar to the color assignments in a click map, white, yellow and red colors mark the areas of a page that received the most attention and green and blue colors mark areas that were least viewed.

Scroll maps are helpful when designing long landing pages and lengthy checkout forms. While it is normal to expect your users to not make it all the way down your page, scroll maps tell you the text and images you need to prioritize on the higher areas of your page.

Scroll maps

Overall, it helps ensure the effectiveness of your page design, especially your above-the-fold area.

What pages should you focus on

Heatmaps are indispensable ecommerce data. It shows you whether your users are distracted by too many elements or widgets on your page. It helps you improve your conversions and tells you the best way to redesign your pages.

To ensure that your entire ecommerce site is always working well towards your ecommerce conversion rates, make sure that you get a heatmap for the following pages – homepage, product page, shopping cart page, and checkout page.

Homepage

Your ecommerce homepage is the first place your users interact with your site. It acts as the entry point of your store and the design affects how your potential customers will navigate down your conversion funnel or if they simply bounce off. Having an heatmap on your homepage will help you ensure that it is converting and guiding your potential customers well in your conversion funnel.

With a heat map analysis of your homepage, you can see if…

  • your potential customers are using your internal site search. Is it omnipresent on your site? Do they easily find it?
  • your navigation bar is organized for easy product category selection.
  • your unique value proposition is communicated immediately.
  • the images on your homepage (e.g. featured products, new arrivals, sales and promo announcement banners) are interesting to your customers.
  • your homepage footer contains your contact details as most people would expect to see it.

Your ecommerce homepage’s objective is to entice your potential customers to go deeper into your site. A heatmap will uncover if the different elements in your homepage are contributing to that objective. Also, reduce the bounce rate on your homepage as much as you can with these 13 best practices.

Product page

Product pages are crucial pages of an ecommerce site. If your product pages are visited, it means people are interested to buy your products. However, if they abandon them instead of clicking on the ‘Add to Cart’ button, it means you have to make your product pages sell more.

With a heatmap analysis of a product page, you will find out:

  • if your product descriptions are being read and are effective at influencing buying decisions. (Check out these 7 practical tips to make sure that your product descriptions are doing the selling for you.)
  • if your product images (e.g. thumbnails, photos of products at different angles, photos of products while being used) are influencing your visitors to purchase your products. Product images are key conversion drivers aside from descriptions.
  • if your product videos are helping your visitors buy your items or just unnecessary.
  • if your call-to-action buttons are clear and people are clicking on them correctly.
  • if your visitors are spending a great deal of time reading customer reviews. If your heatmap shows that they do, add more reviews and even social proof to keep your visitors engaged.

Knowing what draws people to your product pages will guide you in its design; make it more user-friendly and have valuable information prioritized accordingly. Also, let these seven secrets to increase the conversion rate of your product pages help you out.

Shopping cart page

If your visitors arriving on your product pages means they are interested to shop, people who are on your shopping cart page have intentions of buying them. They are one step closer to your checkout page. You then have to pull out all the stops to make this page convert.

If your shopping cart abandonment rate is high, get a heat map analysis. It may help you discover truths about your shopping cart page, such as:

  • your free or flat shipping banner is not visible enough, leading to unwanted cart abandonment.
  • your shopping cart page is cluttered and confusing. Your customer’s eyes and mouse clicks are not focused on the list of products they need to review prior to check out.
  • your customers are looking for your ‘Proceed to Checkout’ button in the wrong places.

Shopping cart abandonment happens for many reasons. Reduce them effectively with these 7 smart steps and have a heatmap to see if this is an area subtle design changes and an improvement of the user interface can fix.

Checkout page

The quality of your checkout page can make or break your sales and a heatmap can tell you how you are losing customers at this very critical point in the shopping journey.

A heat map analysis of your checkout page may tell you…

  • what distracts your customers from completing their purchase. After a closer inspection of your checkout page, you might realize that you need to declutter your checkout page and remove unnecessary images, widgets or simplify your forms.
  • if your customers are willing to scroll all the way down your checkout forms and provide all the information you are requiring. If your heatmap shows you otherwise, it might be time to convert to a one-page checkout page or simply remove form fields that are optional or unnecessary.
  • if your customers are able to find the help they need. You might need to move your FAQ link or live chat button to a less obscure area on your checkout page.

Aside from having an ecommerce heatmap, you can have the perfect checkout page also with these 7 smart strategies.

Tools to generate heatmaps for your site

Analyze the behavior of your site visitors better by pairing your analytics ecommerce data with heatmaps. To have your ecommerce heatmaps, you can get them from the following providers:

Crazy Egg provides click maps, scroll maps, and heatmaps that allow you to see where your visitors are coming from and what areas of your ecommerce site gets clicked on the most.

SumoMe, on the other hand, specifically offers click maps, which will tell exclusively where people are clicking and not clicking on your ecommerce site.

Clicktale offers all four heatmap types – hover maps, click maps, attention maps, and attention maps.

Mouseflow has click maps, scroll maps, and attention maps. They also have movement heatmaps, which are similar to eye tracking, and geo heatmaps that shows you where your users are located. Uncovering geographic patterns will let you better understand your visitors.

Why you should start using them?

The general objective of ecommerce heatmaps is to make you understand your users’ behavior on your site better, but it also matters in the following areas of your optimization process.

Assists in A/B testing

Combining analytics ecommerce data with heatmaps allows you to make well-guided A/B tests on your site.

For instance, your ecommerce tracking data tells you that your ‘Free shipping’ offer on your product page is not gaining attention, which now prompts you to perform an A/B test.

By pairing your analytic ecommerce data with a click map before and after doing a split test, you will see if changing the color of your free shipping button will generate a greater distribution of clicks or not.

Similarly, pairing your ecommerce tracking now with a hover map, it can tell if you changing the position of your free shipping button to a more visible area on your site will increase the number of customers who are enjoying your free deliveries.

Heatmaps alone can lead you to effective A/B tests so you should get knowledge from your ecommerce heatmaps before implementing any changes on your site.

Encourage people more to take action

Today, it is not enough that your ecommerce site looks pleasing, has good usability or has a constant offering of the best products in town. You have to regularly evaluate your site’s performance, ensure that it is meeting your business goals, and perform tweaks whenever necessary.

Heatmaps allow you to optimize your site and make design changes all backed up by data, allowing you to maximize your site’s capacity to sell products and your audience’s limited attention spans.

Tiny changes can make a huge difference

When we optimize our sites, we sometimes get carried away by making drastic design changes to immediately win those lost sales back. But that is not how optimization usually happens and heatmaps can teach us that even the smallest design changes can lead to a significant increase in conversions.

With the heatmap example below of Urban Couture, an online furnishings store, they found out that their users were scrolling the banner on their homepage, but none of those banners had a clear call-to-action. Also, they discovered that visitors used the internal site search to browse through their products.

benefits of heatmaps

With this data from their heatmap, Urban Couture created a banner image specifically designed to encourage visitors to browse through their product catalogue. This significantly reduced the time it takes to click on the button to three seconds, which in turn increased their store page views by 6.86%.

The best heatmap case studies

Below are more examples of ecommerce heatmaps at work, which you can learn and get inspiration from as you optimize your site.

Bros. Leather Supply

Bros Leather Supply, an online store for leather bags, wanted to make their product pages more helpful to their customers.

Based on a click map, they found out that one of the most clicked elements on their product pages are the small thumbnail images of their products.

heatmap case studies

To take advantage of this trend of user interaction, they showcased more photos of the product on their product page. They added more images of the product taken from different angles and also while it is being used.

This supports strongly the behavior that when people are shopping online, they base their decision to purchase from the available product images. It is, after all, the easiest way to somehow experience the product before proceeding to the checkout.

Harry Fay Jewellery

With the help of a scroll map, Harry Fay Jewellery, an online jewelry boutique, was able to identify key areas of their site that were driving visitors away. Some of these were failing cookie notifications and unanswered customer queries during the ordering stage.

benefits of a scroll map

More importantly, they discovered that their visitors were not scrolling down their pages where majority of their core content are placed.

After some crucial design pages, they were able to make their site more engaging to their potential customers and even recover profits more from what they paid for the heatmap software.

Remember: Any content that is important to your business objectives, you have to bring them at the top of your pages. Anything that falls secondary to your goals can be placed further down the page.

Coleman and the F-shaped reading pattern

According to a Nielsen study, people read web content in an F-shaped pattern, which simply means people skim their way through online content. Their attention starts at the headline, then the sub headlines and they select which parts of a larger text they want to read.

This is what Coleman also found out in an attention map of one of their product pages.

benefits of attention map

What we can learn from this is that your visitors won’t read your content thoroughly as you wish them to. Word-per-word reading is not common in web content and more so for ecommerce sites.

Especially for product pages, use your headlines wisely and make your product descriptions scannable by having them in a bulleted list.

Your first two paragraphs must state your core information followed by sub headlines, paragraphs, and bulleted lists that contain your keywords or your information-carrying terms.

Bonus: Even better interactions and conversions

If you want to improve your audience’s experience of your site and increase your conversions even more, consider having live recordings or videos of actual user sessions on your site. A great addition to your ecommerce tracking requirements, live user recordings capture all mouse movements, scrolls, clicks, and keystrokes of your site users as it happens.

By adding several JavaScript code to your ecommerce site on the header or footer, you will be able to see exactly what your visitors are doing once they arrive on your site.

This is a great tool to have in addition to your ecommerce heatmaps because it allows you to monitor your site, spot script errors easily, and fix them immediately. It shows you whether your visitors are using your site the way you want them to use it or not.

Conclusion

Heatmaps are essential tools for better customer interactions and conversions. While your data analytics can help you focus your attention which along the conversion funnel you are losing customers (e.g. the percentage of your site visitors who abandon their shopping carts or the checkout page and pages on your site that are least engaging), your heatmaps can give you the entire picture as to what you need to change to make your site convert better.

Have a combination of different heatmaps so you can learn more about how your visitors are using your site. And aside from your home, product, shopping cart, and checkout pages, consider having heatmaps too for your FAQ and resources pages, your company blog, and the landing pages you create specifically for your marketing campaigns. Have a heatmap too for your official Facebook page just to see what keeps your fans most engaged on social media.

When it comes to your heatmaps, always think of your business objectives. Use it as a baseline to see if user actions on your site are meeting your goals or not.

Set up the heatmap you want and need on Crazy Egg, SumoMe, Clicktale, and Mouseflow, to name a few providers and use it to analyze your site, see how your users navigate through your conversion funnel, and let it assist you in your split tests.

Go the extra mile and complement your heatmaps with live visitor recordings to draw more data-driven and descriptive insights about your site.

About the Author

John Komarek is the founder of Pixelter. He helped over 63 e-commerce businesses boost their mobile sales by up to 183.5%. He uses advanced UX research, A/B testing, and AI-driven personalization to deliver the results. Learn more about how he can help you grow your sales.

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