Drowning in a Sea of Session Replays? There’s a New Way to Optimize Your E-store

Drowning in a Sea of Session Replays? There’s a New Way to Optimize Your E-store

Elena Doynova

Jan 30, 2024 • 5 min read

Drowning in a Sea of Session Replays? There’s a New Way to Optimize Your E-store

Session replay is one of the best ways to understand how visitors interact with your e-store. The only better way is to be right behind their shoulders while they browse – you’d agree that this is unthinkable unless you have lots of cash to spend on user testing. So, armed with session replay, you take a shot at customer journey optimization. But what happens when you have a surplus of replays? Trying to stay on top of the list when you’re receiving thousands of visitors daily can be overwhelming. What if we told you you don’t need to watch them all… There are savvy ways to tackle this overflow and extract the juiciest insights to optimize your e-store, so stay with us to find out how!

Step 1: Acknowledge there is a problem

E-commerce businesses have been using digital analytics tools like session replay, funnels and heatmaps for ages. There are even specific roles on their teams that handle the analysis and optimization. But even with a dedicated team, having a sea of replays waiting for analysis is a common struggle. 

The sheer volume of data can lead to omitting valuable insights, paralyzing decision-making and impeding progress. To summarize the problems:

  • You have tons of dashboards that constantly update without actually giving you time to digest the data, let alone act on it. When you notice a significant deviation, it’s already too late.
  • Thousands of sessions are recorded daily with no humanly possible way to watch even a tiny fraction of them.
  • Overlooked technical issues can remain hidden and turn into costly conversion blockers.

Yet, drowning in this sea of data are golden nuggets of user behavior waiting to be salvaged…

How did we deal with the problem so far?

One traditional way to cut through the noise when doing all sorts of analyses is the segmentation of your user or customer base. Think high-impact pages, user demographics, or behaviors aligning with your goals. This type of filtration can certainly narrow the field for focused analysis but opens another question – how exactly do you pick the attributes you would use to do the segmentation? And how many segments are *enough* segments to cover all your optimization efforts?

You can also use funnels – the golden standard when doing conversion rate optimization. Funnels can open your eyes to missed conversion opportunities and issues that stand in the way of conversion, but they can’t really tell you what happens between the steps – you would still need to watch some session replays. 

Finally, you’ve probably also used heatmaps to pin down unexpected behaviors. But they can only be starting points, the beginning of the rabbit hole you can say, in an analysis. Not to mention the fact that they have significant limitations. Basing your entire optimization strategy on them is never… hot, if you know what we mean.

All of these tools give you a constant stream of raw data that can make you dizzy. As a result, you either succumb to data exhaustion and make peace with the fact that you’ll always miss lots of conversion opportunities – or you hire an expensive team of analysts to mine your data. 

The most frustrating part of this whole situation is that you simply don’t know where to begin. Should you check how users interact with product reviews? Should you pay attention to checkout fields? Is there a way to make payment easier?

When it comes to bugs, some solutions can flag some issues and draw your attention to them. But when it comes to user experience, it’s often direct customer feedback or ad hoc analysis that helps you find areas for improvement. Just imagine the potential lost revenue… Not optimal, right?

This has been bugging us (excuse the pun) for a while, so we set off to build a solution that can give you actionable insights before UX issues become major revenue bottlenecks. It wasn’t easy – user behaviors vary vastly from industry to industry, from country to country. We chose to begin with e-commerce as this is a field we know intimately through some of our customers and partners. Here’s what we discovered…

An alternative to watching an endless stream of session recordings to optimize your e-store

At this point, there’s no need to convince you that any type of solution that takes the grunt work out of the equation will be priceless. We know that because we’ve walked in your shoes for a while. Our own team at SessionStack is fiercely devoted to session replays as a tool to discover meaningful insights (we built the platform around pixel-perfect session replays, after all). But we, just like you, get tired of watching them… 

When ChatGPT premiered on the global scene as the primadonna it is, we thought “Wait, can we use this technology to ease the burden on our customers?”. This simple question led to the creation of our first SessionStackAI offering – a fully automated session recording summary that can save you hours of watching people adding to cart, then removing, then adding again… You get the point. 

But alongside this summary option, we had the brilliant idea to add some tips on how you can optimize the user journey in the session. While it’s useful on the session level, it’s practically unscalable when you have to deal with thousands of sessions…

Then it hit us – why not create a solution that enables you to get the insights without having to open the sessions at all? And why not make it work for a whole segment of customers or a specific customer journey? 

Here comes SessionStackAI 2.0

It was meant to be – a generative AI capability that extracts valuable insights from our best-in-class session recording. While work on the product is currently ongoing, we decided to give you a tour of what SessionStackAI will give your e-commerce business. 

Who are we building it for?

  • E-commerce managers: because they are the valuable cross-functional link that knows everything about your e-store and are capable of better prioritizing their efforts based on insights.
  • UX designers and consultants: because they can quickly see the potential for the impact of simple UX optimizations.
  • Marketing teams: because they can leverage the technology to build better campaigns, based on real customer insights and intimate knowledge of customer behaviors.
  • Developers: no developer should work in the dark – and SessionStackAI can illuminate all the costly issues that need fixing (before they’ve even become a bottleneck).

What will SessionStackAI do?

  • Give you complex behavioral insights that come from the analysis of thousands of sessions. Think repeated behaviors that lead to abandoned carts, checkout hiccups that cost you dearly, anomalous behaviors (users who try to trick your systems), and more. 
  • An answer to the question “What happens between two steps of the funnel?” – what drives drop-offs, how do your product and category pages convert (or don’t convert), and where does the user journey break?
  • Segment insights that can help you better personalize specific user journeys on your website to lift conversion rates.
  • Catch nasty bugs without having to spend lots on user testing or waiting for someone to flag them. 
  • Paint the full picture of what your customers do across their devices and which traffic channels make the most impact on your revenue.

So, are you still watching session replays?

Well, sometimes it might be useful. But from now on it will be the exception, not the rule. Your daily schedule just got lighter so you can focus on what matters more. We believe dealing with conversion rate optimization will be something you will enjoy and embrace, no matter your role.

If we’ve piqued your interest, you can learn more about SessionStackAI here – looking forward to meeting you in the future of e-commerce!

See what SessionStackAI can do for your business