Don’t Open That Browser—The Technical Analysis For eCommerce That No One Ever Told You To Do.
Your Ecommerce site is fantastic:
- The agency has created it exactly as you wanted.
- The graphics are captivating.
- The navigation respects the best Best Practices for a high conversion rate.
At least that’s what they led you to believe!
Serious usability problems are often hidden behind appearances; you just don’t know it, as you are used to seeing your site from 1 desktop, one smartphone, and at most 1 tablet.
Are you sure that everything works correctly, even for the dozens of possible combinations between different devices, operating systems, screen resolutions, and browsers?
What if you discover that there is a large number of potential customers who do not buy because your site has technical problems on their devices?
Be careful because knowing the Truth could wake you up from your cathartic sleep and make you see things from a totally different point of view, much more complex than you’ve been used to so far.
In the worst-case scenario, you may find yourself phoning your programmer immediately to ask for an explanation in 10 minutes. Are you ready?
Table of Contents
Collect clues with Google Analytics
First of all, you will have to evaluate your site’s performance by comparing different devices, operating systems, browsers, and screen resolutions. Only in this way will you be able to gather clues about any malfunctions.
Remember that among the most common factors that kill conversions, there are really “trivial” technical problems, no matter how powerful your Value Proposition is or how brilliant your copy is.
Compare the conversion rate between different browser versions
Go to Public >> Technology >> Browser and operating system
DO NOT make the mistake of analyzing aggregated data as-is. The device categories must be analyzed separately; otherwise, you will have the wrong numbers. Then select one at a time the three pre-set segments that divide the traffic by device category: “Desktop traffic,” “Tablet traffic,” and “Mobile traffic.”
Then select “Browser version” as the secondary dimension to uniquely identify particular browsers that are having problems.
Finally, set a filter to display only browsers with at least 100 conversions.
IMPORTANT: give importance only to browsers that have at least 100 conversions, which is the minimum acceptable threshold to have statistically relevant data. Ignore the rest of the data, and be aware of it.
As you can see from the example above, Internet Explorer 11.0 is the browser that has the highest number of sessions but has a conversion rate that is far too low (2.35%) compared to the site’s average (5.29%).
A conversion rate lower than half and a value too low to be attributed to chance or personal taste!
Compare bounce rates between different browser versions.
In addition to conversions, the other fundamental data to consider is the Bounce Rate. Use the “Comparison” tool at the top right above the table to get an immediate view of the browsers where users bounce the most.
Why do Android 4.0 and Safari 7.0 have such a high Bounce Rate? It could be an indicator of technical problems that you have never noticed before!
[nb: in this case, I removed the “transactions > 100” filter as we are only interested in the number of Sessions]
How much does screen resolution affect?
Another useful data to “find out” the technical problems of your site is the screen resolution. There are cases where some resolutions present more problems than others, given the same browser version.
Also, it is easy to find anomalies, such as the low conversion rate for the 1280×1024 resolution.
These are just a few examples of how to find technical pain points through Google Analytics. Much more can be done, but it is already an excellent starting point for the moment!
How to perform cross-browser and cross-device tests
Well. Now that you’ve filled your head with doubts about why and how these problems arise, it’s time to see how your site displays on different browsers, devices, and resolutions.
So get busy and collect all possible devices, browsers, and screens among friends and relatives…
Of course, I’m joking!
There is software that can emulate all types of devices and show you their navigation. Among these, the most famous is BrowserStack.
You can try it free for 30 minutes, after which rates start at $39/month. If you are not an agency, you can also purchase the service only for the time necessary to carry out all the checks and fix bugs.
With BrowserStack, you can enter as many URLs as you want and simulate browsing with many devices, browsers, and screen resolutions. The operation can be long, but if you start from the data you’ve collected with Google Analytics, you can prioritize the work and start immediately from the most serious problems.
First of all, you should test the product page and checkout templates, which are the most important in e-commerce.
We have seen above that Internet Explorer 11.0 is the browser most used by users of the site in question, but at the same time has a conversion rate that is too low. Select it and enter a site URL, in this case, a product sheet.
And…surprise! This is how the product sheet looks in Internet Explorer 11.0:
The elements are completely out of place, with the main image moved down to convey an idea of amateurism when in reality, it is important e-commerce that invoices millions of euros!
The suspicions raised by Analytics have been confirmed. The next step will be to test the rest of the pages with that browser version and make stamps to send to the programmers. Then, the same operation must also be done for other versions of Internet Explorer to understand if it is a problem with the version or of the browser itself.
You can also do this for all the main mobile devices:
Technical analysis is the essential starting point if you want to optimize your Ecommerce site. You can’t do without it!
With tools like BrowserStack, you can access an infinite number of combinations between Devices, Browsers, and Resolutions. To avoid getting lost, always prioritize important Analytics data such as the number of Sessions, Conversions, and Bounce Rate.
Have you ever encountered serious problems with cross-browser and cross-device analysis? Tell us your story in the comments below!
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