Heatmaps: what every e-shop owner should know

Heatmaps: what every e-shop owner should know

Heatmaps are a way to visually represent the areas of a web page that are most frequently viewed or clicked on by the visitors. Brighter (usually red) areas are the ones users click on the most. It is easy to gather this data and immediately apply it to improve your e-commerce business. This guide should help you do that.

What is a heatmap?

Heatmaps are visual color-coded representations of your website’s pages that show which links or areas get the most attention from your visitors. In other words, a heatmap is a way to understand what content is most relevant to your customers.

How do heatmap results look like?

Heatmaps usually use a color spectrum from green to red, the latter meaning most clicks or interactions.

Here is an example:

What are the benefits of heatmaps?

Heatmaps help you:

  • monitor and analyze the actions of your visitors;
  • identify the page areas that are most relevant to the customers;
  • understand whether the e-shop’s menu and navigation are properly configured;
  • discover which banners or product filters are the most used;
  • learn where the most important content should be to improve conversions;
  • see which areas people pay attention to the most (left side of the screen);
  • better understand the browsing habits of your customers.

In our line of work, we have seen enough proof of heatmaps bringing value to e-shop owners.

Let us take the case of one lingerie e-store. We noticed that users often clicked on pictures, which should signify their trust in the website. However, there were no links to pages that talk about money back guarantees, delivery options, and so on. After we added those, significantly fewer customers would call the client requesting this necessary information. This means that answers to their most frequent questions were readily available on the website.

A heatmap can also help to understand whether the content is well structured or not. A personal belief in what content (be it descriptions, pictures or anything else) is interesting to the user is not enough. Once, we analyzed the data of one e-shop and realized that nobody read or even clicked on the extended descriptions, and visitors were mostly interested in the technical details. After switching the position of these two parts, we encouraged the users to take even more interest in the technical details.

Heatmaps also come in hand when gathering essential information. For example, one of the e-stores we worked with had a Frequent Answers and Questions (FAQ) section. After looking at the heatmap, we determined which questions and issues caught the attention of most users. With this knowledge at our disposal, we then positioned the most common questions at the very top. We also added links and buttons with this information on the product pages. This helped gain the trust of the customers and minimize the chance they would leave the e-shop due to a lack of crucial information.

Tracking and analyzing mouse actions

Specific services like Mouseflow.com even record mouse movements. Recordings can then be viewed as video clips. A large part of users scrolls through the text with the cursor. This lets us understand what is truly interesting to the users. The tool also gives you a better picture of user behavior on your website.

Mouseflow.com provides valuable statistics regarding the scroll times of each page, which lets you better decide where to position the most important content (pro tip – best place is at the top).

Where to start?

We have selected a couple of our favorite tools that you might find useful.

  • CrazyEgg – comes with a 30 days free trial and lets you use heatmaps, scrollmaps and a range of other functions.
  • Mouseflow.com – lets you record an unlimited number of sessions for free and then play them back as video. This tool records everything from clicks to mouse movement and navigation between pages. The system can even tell what device (PC or mobile) is used, showing you exactly how the visitor sees the page.
  • Heatmap.me – this is one of the most simple tools on the market that gives you an on-site click heatmap. You can try the free version that lets you track 5 pages.

It is important to bear in mind that usually none of these tools have a negative impact on an e-shop or website. Performance is not affected.

Heatmaps relieve you from the stress of having to guess where to put content and how your visitors use your website. They let you make fact-based decisions to optimize your e-shop for better conversions.