It’s every company’s worst nightmare: you launch a new product and wait for the sound of clicks as customers rush to buy it online – but hear nothing except crickets instead.

It happened to Lenovo Group, a corporation that rang up $39 billion in revenue last year and is the largest PC maker on this planet. According to one of Lenovo’s websites, many of its notebooks “pass eight military specs for ruggedness” and its Yoga 3 ultrabook laptop is “stress tested for endurance.”

So Lenovo got a shock when the Yoga 3 landed in the marketplace with an unattractive thud after its release last November. While Lenovo won’t reveal specific figures, it acknowledges that early online sales of the product fell way short of expectations.

“With the Yoga campaign, we realized (online) conversions were low,” is how Lenovo’s director of global business intelligence, Ashish Braganza, diplomatically puts it.

One of the people who helped Braganza sort out the situation summarizes it far less delicately.

“Something wasn’t right,” recalls Yossi Harel, a customer experience consultant at Israeli firm ClickTale.

Sick website: Screenshot of the analytics heat maps ClickTale generates to diagnose problems with website design or functionality.
Sick website: Screenshot of the analytics heat maps ClickTale generates to diagnose problems with website design or functionality.

And so, the mystery of the Yoga 3’s disappointing online sales unfolded. To solve it, Lenovo turned to ClickTale, a nine-year-old company located just east of Tel Aviv. ClickTale describes itself as a provider of Digital Customer Experience Management (DCXM) technology and services.

“We help them make sense of everything,” says Harel of his firm’s diverse clientele, who range from Walmart and the New York Times to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Harel and his team played digital detectives, using a variety of high-tech tools to locate potholes, so to speak, on Lenovo’s Yoga 3 product website. Although Lenovo was already a ClickTale client, it applied ClickTale’s cloud-based analytics offerings in a more specific way than ever before.

Using analytics, Lenovo played digital detective to find out why early online sales of the Yoga 3 laptop  were disappointing.
Using analytics, Lenovo played digital detective to find out why early online sales of the Yoga 3 laptop were disappointing.

The ability to record (and later replay) every single visit to the Yoga 3 website allowed Lenovo to reconstruct exactly what happened online before potential purchases were abandoned, then view the results on a heat map.

“We record user sessions on the Internet. We make analytics of it, aggregate it to understand what makes users tick and what makes conversions, then translate that data,” Harel explains.

“Inside the data, we translate that into behaviour analytics and insight, which is the next frontier of analytics. We can help businesses convert better (online) based on what actually works,” he says.

There are hundreds of analytics products out there for website optimization. What makes ClickTale’s system stand out from most, says Braganza, is that it tracks the way visitors use their mouse on the site, not just clicks.

"Something wasn't right," says Yossi Harel, customer experience consultant at ClickTale.
“Something wasn’t right,” says Yossi Harel, customer experience consultant at ClickTale.

“Even if a user hovers, it also gives you the mouse movement. So the customer doesn’t have to click (to create metrics). That’s very key from a user experience standpoint. It captures the very nuanced, fine-grained interactions on our website,” says Braganza.

What they discovered from all this analysis largely boiled down to a misplaced button.

“With our heat maps, we saw that the ‘Buy’ button wasn’t getting enough attention, so we concluded it was therefore probably inefficient. On the actual product pages, the ‘Buy Now’ buttons were at the bottom of the page below the scroll boundary. So even if visitors wanted to buy, they weren’t able to see the ‘Buy’ button,” says Harel.

“User experience 101, right?” Lenovo’s Braganza says with a chuckle in hindsight. “It’s not rocket science: you need to have the ‘Buy’ button above the fold. I know it sounds ridiculous. But we changed it and conversions went up.”

Although Lenovo again declines to disclose exact numbers, Braganza characterizes the impact as “huge. (Conversions) went up by a factor or three or four times in terms of sales.”

To delve even deeper into the Yoga 3 mystery, ClickTale also integrated its mouse tracking analytics with customer feedback tools from Chicago-based OpinionLab. If a customer complained about the Yoga 3 website on the site’s comment section, the complaint was matched up with the recorded session of their actual website visit to see where things went off the rails.

“Our analysts replay every single (online) session from (Lenovo) customers who have provided negative feedback” about the Yoga 3 website, Braganza says.

By integrating ClickTale with other website analytics tools such as Adobe’s SiteCatalyst, Lenovo also compared how new visitors behave and interact on the Yoga 3 site versus repeat visitors. Lenovo used those insights “to design the navigation bar differently for those specific experiences,” Braganza says.

“That’s where the behavioural data comes into play,” he adds, “so we can test different experiences.”

Taking stock of Lenovo’s own behaviour as a huge company faced with a big online problem, Harel credits the PC maker for having the right corporate mindset as well as using the available tools effectively.

“They embraced it and were eager to listen,” he says.

And what they heard definitely wasn’t the sound of crickets.

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  • diggs

    This is sadly a marketing article aimed at raising Lenovo’s stature, while their actual websites remain as bad or worse as when this supposed event happened. Let’s see: the yoga 3, 10 months later is still not available for sale in many countries (specifically Canada, where this article is printed), and the real problem isn’t a “buy now” button, but that it was delivered to many without a key technology they advertised (pen functionality), which is still not available.
    Then, the websites, still right now upon landing to a product detail page, will show two videos with sound at the same time, making it a horrible user experience. This has been going on for months, has been reported to Lenovo, but no changes have been made.
    No, Lenovo hasn’t learned anything, and while this article makes it seem like they care, and that they use “clicktale” tech, they in fact don’t, and Clicktale hasn’t led to any improvements in their user experience. Advertising-speak doesn’t always translate to reality.

  • SavageNarce

    As if the fact that they record every visit to the Lenovo website isn’t
    creepy enough, now we are told that if you did not click the “Buy Now”
    button, the website must have been at fault!!

    Yes, a lot of
    websites are poorly designed, and require that you use things like
    Facebook or Twitter to submit comments (with the resulting warning that
    your list of Facebook/Twitter contacts will now be available to them).
    But there are also products with basic design flaws, or “features” that
    don’t seem to make much sense, like the proffered “tent mode”. And I
    suppose that the length of time I spend preparing a comment will now
    also be analyzed to see how quickly I type, where I look on the page,
    and so on…