When it comes to browsing a retailer’s website, not every click is equal, said Jennifer North, head of digital at Hobbycraft.
Hobbycraft had to learn what parts of its website did and didn’t make sense for its shoppers, what bugs to work out, and what changes its website wasn’t capable of. And after about 12 years with its previous website, it replatformed in March 2022.
It used key insights it had gained from years of web traffic data, North said. And it implemented Contentsquare, a digital experience analytics platform, to better understand changes in its website metrics.
Contentsquare “helped us understand what we needed to protect or keep,” North said. “Then it also gave us the ability to say: Based on what we know through Contentsquare, it’s an opportunity to start meeting customer needs in a different way that we hadn’t been able to deliver on the old site.”
For example, in 2017, Hobbycraft’s share of mobile website traffic “radically changed — almost overnight,” North said. Its share increased 20% to 30%.
“We’d taken that site and that technology and that architectural capability to the absolute Nth degree of what we could do with it,” North said. “We’d also optimized it as far as we could as well. It was a known entity to us, so we knew it very well. It had served us all the way through the pandemic.”
Hobbycraft is a United Kingdom-based retail chain that sells arts and crafts supplies. It ranks No. 361 in the Europe 500, Digital Commerce 360’s database of the largest ecommerce retailers in the region. About 20% of Hobbycraft’s total sales are digital, according to North.
Better understanding user behavior
She said among other features, Contentsquare tracks rage clicking. Rage clicking is when a user repeatedly clicks on part of a website because it doesn’t perform the way the user expects it to.
One such case of this is when Hobbycraft would have a statement near its checkout cart at the top of the page identifying how many items were in a user’s basket.
“It wasn’t actually a link,” North said. “It was more of an indicator, but we made it an active link that jumped you to that first line in your order because that was what the customer was expecting — what that information was there for. There’s lots of little micro-frictions all over the site that we’re always refining and reading what the customer’s doing.”
Similarly, there was a misunderstanding among consumers who went to check out and saw “gift voucher” as a payment option. The word “voucher” led shoppers to think they should look up coupon codes. Because of that, shoppers would reach the checkout page and then become overly fixated on finding a coupon code online. Hobbycraft then changed the copy and moved elements on the page, and the issue went away.
Seeing the problem clearly
North attributes the ability to understand that behavior to Contentsquare through its analysis of rage clicks and exit rates, and its session replay feature. By watching session replays, Hobbycraft and Contentsquare learned that the country field on the checkout page was editable — but it shouldn’t have been.
“So in some cases, the user was accidentally changing the country, therefore making their checking experience invalid. It had been eluding us for a while,” North said. “Sometimes, it’s really hard for the development team to recreate a bug or it’s impossible for them to do, so you really go around in circles. The session replay is what unlocked it for us.”
Hobbycraft also noticed it received more guest logins than account sign-ins on its login page. Because of that, it moved the guest login option above the user sign-in option, “which helps on a mobile screen,” North said.
“It all starts with the understanding,” said Niki Hall, Contentsquare’s chief marketing officer. “The retailers know what’s happening because they might have Adobe or Google Analytics, but they don’t know the why, so they can’t improve.”
Watching a user’s session allows Hobbycraft’s and Contentsquare’s teams to see exactly what went wrong in a user’s journey.
“When someone’s engaging with your site digitally, how do you understand their non-verbal communication? You really can’t,” Hall said. “You’re kind of flying blind unless you have something like Contentsquare.”
North said Hobbycraft analyzes user journeys, segmenting them by traffic source. It also segments sessions with a transaction versus those without to better understand what success — conversion — looks like.
North and her team noticed shoppers exiting Hobbycraft pages because they had gone back to shop through Google, or they would hop to other product pages.
“They might look at seven product pages, and the only way they can really do that is by looking at the recommendations because the only other way to go directly from one product page to another is through the recommendation panel/widget there,” she said. “It’s telling us the consumer has come with an idea in mind of what they want, but they need to go on more of a product discovery journey to find what they want.”
In response, Hobbycraft figured out ways to position recommendations higher on product pages. After a seven-second delay, it shows recommendations of products similar to the one the shopper is viewing. Hobbycraft tested that at two-second, five-second and seven-second intervals before deciding on seven seconds.
Product pages power post-pandemic site
North said a key trend Hobbycraft noticed, for example, is that consumers became less brand loyal coming out of the pandemic. They’re under pressure in terms of cost of living, she said, so they started to shop in a different way.
“That means rather than come to us through an organic or direct landing on our homepage and start in a linear journey, we’re actually seeing that a vast majority of consumers are landing on the site directly on the product page,” North said.
They’re landing directly on product pages through Google shopping searches, she said. And because they aren’t entering Hobbycraft website through its homepage, product pages have to also perform as landing pages and “engage the user when they’re quite far down the funnel.”
That has led Hobbycraft to put a “strong focus on the product page during the replatform,” North said. For example, it has slight variances in product pages depending on if an item is out of stock or if a shopper has landed on the page from a shopping ad.
Moreover, Hobbycraft has increased its investment in paid traffic. About 30% of its traffic now comes from Google paid advertising, such as paid links, she said. The biggest share is still organic, direct traffic, she said. Organic social traffic and paid traffic each reflect about 10% of traffic, she said.
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