Blog Post - Christopher Longman, Mar 23 2015

Session replay: why do customers struggle on your website?

Session replay: why do customers struggle on your website?

Do you know where customers struggle on your website? At what point do they give up and head straight to your competition? Traditional analytics tools will point you in the right direction, but they can’t tell you why the customer is struggling. So how can you fix the issue if you don’t understand the cause?

Consider for a moment that a 1% reduction in checkout abandonment, often caused by customer struggle, could lead to an additional £25,000 in sales per week for a large online retailer, that’s over £1m per year*. The ability to understand and rectify the issue directly responsible for customers’ struggle would allow you to have a direct impact on site revenue.

Thanks to the rise of session replay tools, this kind of visibility is now possible. By capturing every customer interaction on your website, session replay tools are able to reconstruct the entire customer journey. You can see exactly what the customer saw, including validation messages, technical issues and usability challenges. Session replay will reveal issues you never knew you had and help you optimise the customer journey.

Here’s an example session replay from, captured using SessionCam

Session replay video here:

Although most session replay tools will capture every customer session, you don’t have to spend hours watching them all. Custom alerts can be configured to automatically recognise specific customer behaviour. For example, the alert could tell you when a customer views the payment page 3 or more times. This kind of behaviour usually indicates that the customer is struggling to proceed and may be the result of an unknown site issue. A quick replay of the session usually reveals the underlying cause.

Once you’ve identified a specific issue, you can measure it using the built-in report builder. The report can identify how many customers it’s impacted and how much they had in their basket at the time. This allows you to quantify lost revenue as a result of the issue and helps build a clear business case for fixes and improvements.

Here’s an example report from Tealeaf summarising customer errors, broken down by browser. Support teams can use this data to identify whether a particular browser is responsible for the majority of errors.

The value of session replay is clear; one Salmon, a Wunderman Commerce Company, client was able to increase their order completion rate by over 4% in less than 2 months by addressing just a couple of issues identified from session replay. Typically, the improvements require minimal development time and can be implemented within weeks. Alternatively, changes can be evaluated using an A/B testing platform to confirm which option has the most positive impact on the customer journey before being implemented permanently.

A variety of session replay tools are available, these include both cloud and on premise solutions. Salmon actively supports clients to make the most of their session replay tools. Our Analytics & Insight team are on hand to help you select the tool that best meets your needs and budget.

Get in touch today to find out how you could benefit from session replay.

*Calculation based on the following:
A retail site receiving 500,000 visits per week
Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate: 63.29% (IBM Benchmark February 2015)
Shopping Cart Sessions (at least one item added to cart): 6.92% (IBM Benchmark February 2015)
Average Order Value: £73.76 (IBM Benchmark February 2015)