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The Covid-19 pandemic impacted eCommerce sites dramatically, with strong indications that the trend will continue post-pandemic. Driven mainly by safety concerns, the sudden pivot to online shopping saw a boom in business across these platforms.

However, as things begin to normalize, merchandisers need to constantly meet the needs of increasingly demanding online shoppers. This can only be achieved through a thorough understanding of their customer’s behavior. Deploying heat map technology allows for visual and accurate eCommerce site analytics and enables you to address possible pain points, optimize marketing efforts, and improve product and brand innovations.

Merchandisers with an in-depth grasp of their customers’ needs and behavior can build effective strategies and campaigns from the analytical data and stand a greater chance of retaining and expanding their customer base. Heat maps are an excellent tool when it comes to effectively strategizing around smart merchandising, especially on eCommerce sites.

How Heat Map Technology Assists Merchandisers

heat map technology visual merchandising
Using heat map tech, you’ll have a much clearer view of the entire category in terms of how products perform, thus making merchandising much easier.

First introduced in 2005, heat maps have proven to be a powerful tool in smart merchandising. A heat map offers a visual representation of the analytics for a site by categorizing customers’ behavioral patterns and actions on a website according to a color-code system with the deeper shades representing the high traffic areas. For example, if someone looks at or clicks on a particular box on the page, the heat map will capture the action. The more hits that box gets, the more the color changes. Typically reds and oranges represent the “hottest” points on the page or areas with the highest activity.

The visual storyboard generated by the heat map paints a vivid picture of site interactions yielding invaluable insights into when and how customers are engaging with your brand. Empowered with the data, the merchandiser is uniquely positioned to effectively put in place the necessary building blocks to ensure optimal engagement and, ultimately, converting visitors into customers.

Why Use Heat Maps for Smart Merchandising?

Never has the statement “A picture is worth a thousand words” held more true, with research showing that the human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than it does text.

“Unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information,” notes Dr. Lynell Burmark, recipient of Stanford University’s prestigious Walter Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are “indelibly etched.”

As you can clearly see, data visualization is an essential component of eCommerce marketing as it allows your team to visualize large amounts of important data instantly. The heat map allows them to easily spot areas where the site is performing well, the sections that are underperforming, and those there are lagging and need tweaking so that it performs better.

heat map technology for ecommerce
Drag and drop. Visual merchandising made easy.

Ecommerce sites remain highly competitive and merchandisers need to constantly refine their digital marketing blueprint. One of the most important aspects of this strategy is the ability to understand the client base: What are their buying patterns and demographics? What are their likes and dislikes and what appeals to them?

All these analytics are available within the site and a smart merchandiser will constantly draw on these insights as they plan their approach. Heat maps make this process simpler. By using heat map technology, you can show, through the use of pie charts and graphs, important information regarding the consumer. It is far easier to show your team that a purple duffle bag is performing 46% better than the pale yellow one in a back-to-school campaign, for example.

Research indicates consumers receive anything from 300-3000 marketing messages per day, yet they only retain three of those. Without careful planning and an in-depth understanding of the needs of your consumers, you could end up wasting valuable resources on a merchandising strategy that will not even resonate, never mind convert. Using technology such as heat maps to visually highlight what sells and what doesn’t (or what’s in stock and what’s not) gives savvy merchandisers the ability to manipulate their eCommerce site for maximum profitability.

“At the heart of the current eCommerce boom are speed, variety, quality interface, and top shopping experience. As you are serving a diverse set of shoppers, tastes, and preferences at any given time, it pays to understand the best tools to make them fall for your site and keep coming back for more.” Teresa Zobrist, President and CEO of Zobrist Software Group.

B2C and B2B companies alike are now operating in an ever-increasing crowded space. As such, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fully understand customers and leads without proper data. Determining which products generate the most lead traffic allows companies to highlight these items on their websites.

Similarly, knowing which content generates the higher bounce rates provides a clear picture of why the specific resource is not helpful to customers. Within the context of eCommerce, this information is a valuable advantage over the competition. “Each decision is data-driven which provides a greater chance of success,” Zobrist adds.

Understanding this sentiment and linking it to an effective feedback strategy for your team using heat map technology ensures a targeted approach on your eCommerce site. Data from the heat map, presented in the form of graphs, tables, and diagrams allows your team to effectively visualize the data.

The Bigger Picture

Zobrist’s Smart Merchandiser is designed to optimize the sequence of your catalog to encourage higher sales.

Smart Merchandiser’s heat map feature has taken this technology to new heights. Not only does it provide accurate feedback and data on customer behavior and trends, but its clean and easy-to-use interface provides the merchandiser with a bird’s eye view of the customer experience. This means that, while examining the data provided, the merchandiser can easily make changes in line with this feedback.

The heat map itself is fully customizable, and the merchandiser can change colors in line with their requirements. In addition, the heat map can be moved to appear on the side of the Smart Merchandiser site while making changes. Merchandisers can use the heat map as a key to identify the high click items and the drag-and-drop functionality allows the merchandiser to move products strategically in line with the data gathered.

Within the Smart Merchandiser platform, the user can customize their view to replicate their website, so if it is a 3-column site, they can set this platform to the same specifications. This means that, when making changes, the merchandiser can visualize these changes in line with their customer site.

Drag-and-Drop Simplicity

Smart Merchandiser provides a seamless transition between device types meaning the merchandiser can view their platform on mobile or desktop. Their detailed KPI allows the user to track areas such as inventory, number of items sold, and abandonment. This feedback is essential for merchandisers as they can customize the user experience informed by this feedback.

Most important is the visual element the heat map provides. This diagram of their eCommerce site’s performance will quickly highlight the problem areas and success stories while strategizing around the necessary adjustments.

Everything in life is about doing things simpler and better and with more efficiency, and Zobrist’s Smart Merchandiser platform, with its built-in heat map technology, does just this. Schedule a demo and discover how you can be empowered with the necessary tools to strategically grow your eCommerce business.