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How to use surveys to grow your ecommerce business (+ 55 expert questions)
Whether you get one or one thousand responses to your ecommerce survey, asking the right questions guarantees you’ll discover something about your website, customers, and products you can use to optimize the buying experience and increase conversions.
Last updated23 Jan 2023
In this guide, we take you through what ecommerce surveys are, how to set them up, and which questions to ask where. We also showcase real examples of successful surveys that led to business growth.
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What is an ecommerce survey?
An ecommerce survey (also known as an online shopping survey) is a set of one or more questions asked to online store visitors and customers before, during, or after the point of purchase.
Ecommerce surveys questions can be:
Close-ended: multiple choice questions that give you quantitative (i.e. numerical) data to measure and track change over time (e.g. 72% of visitors love the new homepage)
Open-ended: questions people can answer in their own words—better for understanding context and generating qualitative customer data you can’t infer from other sources
There are two main types of survey:
On-site survey: a popover or fullscreen survey that collects feedback when people visit a specific website page or take an action like trying to exit the page
Link survey: a dedicated survey link that can be shared with customers via email, social media, support chat, or elsewhere
Benefits of using surveys on your ecommerce store
Collecting (and, more importantly, acting on) customer feedback has compounding benefits for both your customers and your ecommerce business.
Improve customer experience
Hear first-hand what brings joy and frustration to ecommerce customers so you can learn how to deliver a better purchase experience next time.
Grow conversion rate
Identify potential issues and sales objections, then use this information to test new designs that drive conversions.
Measure customer metrics
Get a quantitative benchmark of customer loyalty, satisfaction, and likelihood to promote your products, and track your store’s success over time.
Get cost-effective insights
Online surveys are relatively inexpensive to run (you only need a survey tool like Hotjar—it’s free to start!), especially compared with focus groups, market research, and individual user interviews.
Share customer feedback with your team
Share bar charts, Net Promoter Score® (NPS), and other satisfaction scores with your team and get stakeholder buy-in for design experiments.
Customize to match your brand
If you use Hotjar, tailor your feedback surveys to match your brand’s colors and tone of voice.
55 ecommerce survey questions used by experts
The questions below break down what to ask, where and when to survey customers, and how to interpret the results. You’ll also see real examples from user experience (UX) and website experts who’ve used ecommerce surveys to drive growth.
Website survey questions
Website surveys give you feedback from store visitors before the point of conversion. Use them to find bugs and see if your page designs and messaging are working as intended.
Homepage survey questions
Your homepage is likely a big source of traffic for your store and the entry point for many visitors. This makes it the ideal place to ask shoppers why they’ve chosen to visit.
For example, The Lowry Gift Shop, a British museum store, used Hotjar Surveys to ask homepage visitors:
What are you looking for today?
This question helps you understand what people expect to see on your homepage, giving you insight into how to organize its layout and menu navigation to direct visitors to the most popular products and categories.
Alternatively, you could ask:
If you did not make a purchase today, what stopped you?
What are your first impressions of our website?
What could be improved on the website?
Is there anything stopping you from purchasing today?
Landing page survey questions
Landing pages are targeted entry points to your website and crucial for sending traffic down the funnel, making them prime real estate for a survey asking people how they found your site.
For example, furniture store Made used Hotjar Surveys to run a traffic attribution survey on an online showroom landing page, asking:
How did you hear about this [website/page/product]?
A landing page survey helps you attribute the success of offline campaigns and word-of-mouth referrals while the source is still fresh in the visitor’s mind.
You could also ask:
What led you to our website today?
How did you find out about us?
What inspired you to come to [website]?
Product category and search page survey questions
When shoppers browse product category pages, perform a product search, or try to filter a product list, it’s because they’re trying to find the items they need. Surveying users at this stage will tell you what to change to make finding products easier for shoppers.
For example, web design agency NerdCow used Hotjar Surveys on image marketplace The Transport Library to troubleshoot an issue they’d seen in ecommerce recordings: people were scrolling for hours through the site’s product database but not clicking through to individual products.
To find out why, the team asked two questions:
Do you have trouble finding the product?
Can you tell us which product you hoped to find?
The survey results showed that repeat visitors were browsing the entire product library trying to find new items. The solution: they added a label to new products and a badge to show users which products they had already viewed, ultimately contributing to a 3x increase in sales.
Product listing page (PLP) survey questions
Individual product pages give visitors important information about what they’re buying: pricing, photos, descriptions, and shipping and returns policies. Getting feedback from customers here can help you understand what visitors need to know before they click the all-important ‘add-to-cart’ button.
For example, skincare store Neeta Naturals used Hotjar Surveys on product listing pages to ask:
How can we improve this page? Is anything missing?
It’s difficult to guess what could be missing so using an open-ended question here means visitors can tell you in their own words how to improve your product listing pages.
What is your biggest fear or concern about purchasing this item?
What is your biggest frustration or question with finding a new [product]?
What other information would you like to see on this page?
Do you have any questions before you complete your purchase?
Shopping cart survey questions
A shopping cart survey helps you spot issues that could lead to cart abandonment.
If you’re using Hotar, you can trigger a shopping cart survey to appear only when people have spent 30 seconds or more on the page. You won’t interrupt a happy customer who’s ready to check out but will likely catch someone who’s getting confused by something.
For example, designer fashion ecommerce store Riot used a Hotjar Survey on their checkout page to ask:
If you could change anything on this page, what would you have us do?
Leaving the questions open-ended means visitors can answer anything, from a missing payment option to confusion about delivery times, and the team can learn what’s stopping people from continuing.
You can also ask:
What information is missing or would make your decision to buy easier?
What’s stopping you from buying?
Exit-intent survey questions
Finding out why people leave your store, especially if they’re at the checkout stage, can help you reduce bounce rate and improve conversion rates.
If you’re using Hotjar, exit surveys are extremely easy to create: simply select the ‘page abandonment’ trigger (desktop only) in the survey behavior dropdown during setup.
For example, UX/UI agency Turum-burum used a Hotjar exit-intent pop-up survey on the checkout page of Ukrainian fashion ecommerce store Intertop, asking:
Why would you like to stop placing the order?
They found that the majority of respondents (48.6%) were leaving because they were having difficulty placing their order.
The team was then able to troubleshoot the checkout funnel—with the help of Hotjar’s Heatmaps and Recordings tools—and saw that the customer registration form was confusing people and leading to drop-offs. By A/B testing a simpler checkout experience, the team grew average revenue per user (ARPU) by 11% and checkout bounce rate decreased by 13%.
Post-purchase survey questions
Post-purchase surveys take place after the point of conversion on your store.
Success page survey questions
Ecommerce customers are usually directed to a success page (like a ‘thank you’ page) immediately after making a purchase. Triggering a survey here lets you collect customer comments while the experience is still very fresh in their minds.
For example, European airline Ryanair used Hotjar Surveys to run a success page survey after customers booked a flight, asking an open-ended question to discover common customer pain points. Once the team had a comprehensive understanding of every potential issue with the booking process, they switched to multiple-choice questions, asking:
How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement (0-10)? “It’s very easy to [complete action] on this website.”
How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement (0-10): “I was able to [complete action] and purchase products without being interrupted.”
Please rate how satisfied you were with the experience of using [Website name] today (0-10).
[If rating is 0-4] Can you please tell us the main reason you gave that rating? (multiple choice)
By asking close-ended questions on a scale from 0 to 10, the team was able to quantify the website’s ease of use and customer satisfaction and create company benchmarks to track customer experience month to month.
You could also ask:
How would you rate your overall experience?
What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you from buying from us?
Which other options did you consider before choosing [product name]?
What would persuade you to use us more often?
What was your biggest challenge, frustration, or problem in finding the right [product type] online?
Please list the top three things that persuaded you to use us instead of a competitor.
What other products would you like to see us offer?
Was there anything about this checkout process we could improve?
What was your biggest fear or concern about purchasing from us?
What persuaded you to complete the purchase of the item(s) in your cart today?
If you could no longer use [product name], what’s the one thing you would miss the most?
Was there any information you would have liked to have known before you made a purchase?
You don’t need to ask everything all at once: use other tools like Google Analytics and ecommerce heatmaps to find a pre-purchase problem to troubleshoot, then use a short thank you page survey to let customers tell you what almost put them off.
NPS survey questions
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a quantitative metric that measures how likely a customer is to recommend you to others. The score is calculated based on a single question:
On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product/company to a friend or colleague?
Your NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of ‘detractors’ (customers who score you 6 or lower) from the percentage of ‘promoters’ (customers who score a 9 or 10). NPS is popular because it’s used to compare performance between companies and across industries—there are benchmarks for each.
You can ask an NPS question at different stages, from immediately after purchase to after a customer has received their order:
Considering your experience with us so far, how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? (0-10)
Now that you’ve received your [product], how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? (0-10)
We also recommend tweaking the wording to suit your target audience: not every ecommerce store has mass market appeal, which could confuse respondents. Instead, ask:
How likely are you to recommend [product/brand] to someone like you?
By asking a follow-up question on your NPS survey, you’ll learn why customers rate you a certain way.
Try questions like:
Why would you (not) recommend us?
What did we do well?
What can we improve on?
What can/should we do to WOW you?
Customer satisfaction and effort survey questions
A customer satisfaction survey measures what customers think about every touchpoint they had with your ecommerce brand. You can ask binary (yes/no, 😃/☹️) questions.
Consider follow-ups like:
Did our product do what you wanted it to do?
How happy are you with your overall experience today?
What did you love most about the experience?
What could we have done to improve the experience?
What almost stopped you from completing your purchase?
You can also find out the customer effort score (CES) for any part of the buying journey by asking:
How easy was it for you to complete [action] today? (1-7)
Learning what causes customer (dis)satisfaction is not just about fixing issues: you can also use the insights to increase the effectiveness of campaigns.
For example, satellite navigation manufacturer TomTom used Hotjar Surveys to ask satisfied customers why they made a purchase. The team then used the feedback to write compelling copy for email campaigns and landing pages, resulting in a 491% increase in email marketing click-through rate (CTR) and a 49% conversion rate increase for landing pages.
Customer support survey questions
Asking customers how they feel right after a customer support chat will help you improve the service they receive next time and your ecommerce website messaging.
Ask questions like:
Did your problem get resolved today?
Were you able to find the information you were looking for?
How satisfied are you with our support?
How would you rate our service on a scale of 0-10? (0=terrible, 10=stellar)
How would you rate our support on a scale of 0-10?
How easy was it to solve your problem today?
What information could we make clearer for you next time?
How to run a successful ecommerce survey
While the idea of opening the floodgates to customer feedback can be daunting, setting up an ecommerce survey couldn’t be easier.
Here’s how to create an on-site or link survey with Hotjar in five minutes or less (if you’re not already a customer, welcome! 👋—get started with our free plan or free trial here).
1. Create a new survey
Hit the Survey icon on the left sidebar menu, then click the ‘New survey’ button in the top right.
2. Choose a survey template or start from scratch
Search or browse our free survey templates and click the one you need (in this example, an NPS survey), or click ‘Start from scratch’ if you want a blank slate.
3. Customize your survey
If you selected a template in the previous step, your survey details will already be filled out, but you can still customize:
Survey name and description: this is just for you and your team—it’s handy if you’re creating multiple surveys
Survey type: decide if you want your survey to appear on a website page as people browse, or be accessed by link for an email survey
Survey questions: edit the question wording and answer type (e.g. open text or multiple choice). You’ll see a live preview of your survey on the right as you make changes.
Appearance: customize the survey to match your brand’s colors if desired
Targeting: choose where the survey will appear by device, page, or user attribute
Behavior: decide if you want the survey to show straight away or when a user scrolls or exits a page
Forward Response: (optional) get responses sent straight to Slack, email, or other tools via the Zapier integration
When you’re happy with the settings, toggle the survey to ‘active’ and hit the ‘Create survey’ button—your survey is now live and ready for responses!
💡Pro tip: when you’re ready to view your survey results, Hotjar automatically generates charts for multiple-choice responses. For open-ended questions, use our free open-ended question analysis template to quickly quantify all your feedback into categories.
Our spreadsheet template helps you quickly categorize open-ended survey responses
Power up your surveys with session recordings
By now, you probably have a good idea of what to ask your customers and potential customers and how to use ecommerce survey data to improve customer experience and sales.
When you’re ready to level up, connect survey responses (what users say) with ecommerce recordings (what users do) to gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior and you’ll be well on the way to building a better ecommerce experience than your competitors.
Start surveying your customers today
Sign up for a free Hotjar trial and learn why shoppers convert or click away.