The company’s e-commerce team has worked with UserTesting since 2012 to watch consumer behavior on its site. A recent discovery and fix of the category menu on its mobile site boosted mobile revenue 13%.

When identifying problem areas of an e-commerce site and working to find a solution, sometimes data coming in from analytics software, or A/B testing methods can be limited. Analytics, for example, can help explain what consumers are doing on certain areas of a retail site, but not why they are doing what they’re doing.

The old Walmart.ca Shop department menu contributed to a dropoff in site traffic.

That’s what the site optimization team at Walmart Inc. Canada says about a recent discovery on an area of its site that was leaking mobile visitors.

More than half of traffic into Walmart.ca comes from mobile device users (smartphones and tablets), so the e-retailer has been increasingly focused on optimizing various parts of its mobile site to improve conversion and sales, says Walmart Canada’s manager of site optimization David Raine.

Walmart’s analytics software recently identified one of the top five problem areas on the site: Across mobile and desktop, the biggest dropoff in traffic came from mobile users who visited the homepage, then clicked on the “hamburger icon” in the top left-hand corner of site, and who then clicked on “Shop departments.”

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Because the team was unable to determine why so many consumers were leaving the site at this point based on its analytics software alone, it tasked UserTesting, a firm that provides retailers insights based on monitoring how consumers use websites, to track real consumer behavior on the site and ask questions about their experience.

The Walmart Canada team showed users the existing Walmart.ca site and competitors’ sites, watched those users via video, and asked consumers questions as they were browsing.

“Within minutes you get video feedback, watching them as they shop your site,” Raine says.

His team came away with a clear understanding of where shoppers were going wrong. For example, consumers were shown too many category choices to shop from, and there wasn’t enough space between clickable items, too, so consumers were sometimes clicking on the wrong category.

Based on the feedback from consumers, the Walmart Canada team quickly developed two new options for the “Shop departments” menu, which it ran through it’s A/B testing software and through UserTesting. The first option focused on getting users quickly to department pages, and the second provided a deeper level of navigation to help the consumer drill down to the exact area of the site she wanted.

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The new site experience on Walmart.ca gave more room to each menu choice and additional options for more specific navigation when clicked.

It ultimately chose the latter, thanks to stronger results from users. The tweaked menu options lifted mobile site revenue by more than 13% after a week of testing, Raine says. Site exit rates also improved dramatically.

“Walmart Canada is seeing a much greater percentage of overall holiday sales transitioning to online, and increasingly, more traffic going to mobile,” he adds. “The ‘shop all departments’ test is a great example of how we’re continuing to leverage data in all forms, to better understand how customers are navigating our site on the go, and how we can continue to optimize the experience for this critical channel.”

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