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Why Exclusive Concepts chooses Hotjar to help their ecommerce clients grow

For US-based digital marketing agency Exclusive Concepts, Hotjar is an essential part of helping clients improve their user experience, increase conversions, and capture their customers’ imaginations.

Last updated

20 Jul 2023

Reading time

7 min


We caught up with Greg Thibault, Senior Organic Search and Conversion Manager at Exclusive Concepts, to learn how—and why—Hotjar Heatmaps has become an invaluable tool for achieving clients’ conversion rate optimization (CRO) goals and sharing needle-moving insights with stakeholders.

Helping clients put their customers front and center

Exclusive Concepts is a digital performance marketing and technology agency primarily serving ecommerce brands in the US. The agency is a member of Hotjar’s Partner Program, using the platform to level up its ecommerce digital marketing services and get early access to features.

Greg, who started his career as an SEO specialist, now heads up the agency’s CRO program, working with a broad range of clients to optimize their websites and develop a deeper understanding of their customers. Hotjar is a key component of the overall package Exclusive Concepts offers its clients.

Getting set up for success

Greg’s team handles Hotjar’s installation and set-up on their clients’ websites. They start with the free-forever Basic plan, particularly the Observe product, which provides:

  • Hotjar Recordings: to see individual users navigating critical pages, such as ecommerce product pages, checkout pages, and landing pages

  • Hotjar Heatmaps: to see quantitative visualizations of user behavior on specific pages 

The Exclusive Concepts team uses these tools to dive deep into specific areas of concern, taking an enlightening first look at the behavior of their clients' users.

According to Greg, this initial analysis is “a great gateway to look at what people are doing, what they're interacting with, and where they're clicking and scrolling to.”

Hotjar: the proactive approach to website optimizations

For Exclusive Concepts’ clients, Hotjar is a way to instantly tap into user experience insights they may otherwise have missed.

 An early analysis involves looking at the following:

  • Overall site design: does the flow make sense? Can customers find what they need? Does it provide an attractive user experience?

  • SEO strength: are product descriptions accurate and compelling? Are the right keywords being used in order to drive traffic?

  • Conversion capabilities: is it easy for customers to convert? Are they taking the desired actions? Are all the elements functioning correctly?

These discoveries become a source of inspiration for improvements or adjustments. 

Heatmaps + A/B testing: a winning pair

In Greg’s experience, the Hotjar Heatmaps tool makes a significant impact when gathering data for clients. Reviewing heatmaps often leads to valuable learnings about clients’ website UX.

#Hotjar Heatmaps show hot and cold spots on a page, revealing where customers linger and where they ignore
Hotjar Heatmaps show hot and cold spots on a page, revealing where customers linger and where they ignore

Heatmaps help Greg immediately spot which site elements are ignored, not working correctly, or grabbing the most attention. (Read more about using ecommerce heatmaps to improve UX and increase conversions.)

We'll look at the different heatmaps…where users are clicking, what they're interacting with, what they're not interacting with. That provides a really strong action item for something to potentially improve.

Greg Thibault
Senior Organic Search and Conversion Manager

Then, with Hotjar playing a crucial supporting role, Greg helps Exclusive Concepts’ clients conduct A/B testing with specific UX improvements in mind. 

By integrating Hotjar with A/B testing tools like Omniconvert and Optimizely, Greg can show clients heatmaps of the A/B testing control page and the variant, and push ahead with the winner.

This low-risk way to test out new ideas prevents any big moves based on assumptions, giving them valuable insights into user sentiment before committing to big changes.

Continuous improvement: the heart of fantastic UX 

Rather than waiting to see if an ecommerce website element does or doesn’t work—and scrambling to put the pieces together to understand why—Greg’s clients rely on Hotjar to make the first move in anticipating their customers’ needs, always staying a step ahead.

The Exclusive Concepts team views Hotjar as an ongoing CRO solution rather than a one-and-done. “We try to encourage our clients that this is a powerful tool and can be part of their regular process in working to improve their website,” says Greg.

Increasing ecommerce conversions and improving SEO

As an offshoot of Exclusive Concepts’ main service offerings, Greg runs a standalone CRO program tailored to clients who want to prioritize increasing conversions and improve their overall CRO practices. These clients typically feel their UX is their biggest opportunity area, but aren’t sure how to investigate where they need to improve.

“Most of the clients we have the standalone offering for have a perceived UX issue that they're trying to overcome, or they've seen some sort of downturn in conversion rates,” says Greg. “We really want to look deeper and try to uncover whatever we can in improving the user experience.” 

For the ecommerce clients opting for this additional service, product pages are often the first port of call to assess overall performance and review user behavior. 

Each month, Greg’s team conducts a deep dive into specific elements of these pages, analyzes the user behavior they see, and aggregates the data they collect. 

The team looks at clicks, scrolls, and user behavior as a whole, and aims to gather a target number of visitor interactions within this timeframe for a solid foundation of data to draw from.

#An example of a click map
An example of a click map

We like to have a sample of at least 100 clicks at a minimum before we feel comfortable that it's a representative sample of data. The outcome is specific recommendations on how they can improve their user experience based on what we find in the heatmap data.

With his background in SEO, Greg knows bounce rates are a crucial data point to look at: bringing plenty of traffic to a website is one thing, but once those visitors are there, the goal is to keep them there as long as possible and provide a positive user experience.

A website’s bounce rate shown in the Hotjar Dashboard

By using Hotjar to identify pain points and spot flaws in UX, Greg and his team help clients catch potential conversion blockers before they cause serious damage, reducing bounce rate and improving rankings on search engines like Google and Bing.

Turning data into actionable steps

Using the data they collect during deep dives, Greg’s team assesses trends, analyzes the overall performance of certain pages, and determines concrete action points for their clients to take. 

This keeps priorities in focus and clears a path to making educated decisions about the health of clients’ websites, ultimately helping to grow Exclusive Concepts.

Depending on each client’s priorities, Exclusive Concepts approaches reporting with emphasis on different data points and focus areas. 

Greg manages to keep the reporting process simple. Conveniently, heatmaps make for visual, digestible reports to share with his clients: “We include observations from the heatmaps so clients can understand exactly what we're recommending as potential improvements,” he says.

#Sample Engagement Zones heatmap of a homepage
Sample Engagement Zones heatmap of a homepage

This effortless tactic reveals issues as simple as a faulty CTA button to more complex problems, like important product information being overlooked because of poor page design. 

With these insights, Greg and his clients can plan for the next steps, such as:

  • Redesigning elements on a page

  • Changing the layout of a website

  • Adding more information for customers

  • Adapting features to help customers navigate more easily

  • Improving product copy and keywords

Room to grow

While Hotjar’s free-forever plan has proven to be a fantastic starting point for clients just dipping their toes into their website and user analysis, Greg believes more advanced plans are where the magic starts to happen.

“If we really want to explore different product pages, category or product listing pages, cart pages, checkout, the homepage, and resource pages, it's imperative to get onto a higher plan in order for us to truly improve the UX site-wide,” he says.

Greg adds that he communicates with clients when a higher plan is necessary to draw accurate conclusions and make business-boosting decisions.

Website optimizations made with customers at their core

Nothing drives progress like a deeper understanding of your users—and that’s exactly what Hotjar enables Exclusive Concepts to give their clients. For Greg (and tens of thousands of people like him), the benefits of using Hotjar for clients are obvious:

Hotjar is a powerful tool. It’s an essential piece of digital marketing strategy.

Hotjar makes it easier than ever to empathize with users and, ultimately, make customer-centric website and product developments. And Heatmaps is only the beginning of what Hotjar can do. 

For Exclusive Concepts, their clients' success is their success, and Hotjar is a key part of this valuable relationship.

If you're part of a digital marketing agency and you're not using Hotjar, what are you waiting for? Tap into our wealth of insights—including session recordings, surveys, feedback, and user interviews—to drive conversions for you and your clients.

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