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Shopify Heatmaps: All you need to know

10 Min Read

Shopify is one of the most widely used platforms to host eCommerce websites. In fact, in 2019, it reported over one million merchants using it worldwide[1] and more than $135 billion in sales overall. 

Yet, there is very little literature available on the client-side optimization of Shopify hosted eCommerce stores. A quick analysis of the SERP results will tell you that most articles either limit themselves to giving readers a list of tools and apps for Shopify Stores while others touch upon backend and SEO optimization.

This article aims to educate readers who are not familiar with leveraging heatmaps for their Shopify store’s conversion rate and experience optimization. It will navigate your way through the what and how of Shopify Stores, and how heatmaps can help you craft experiences that guarantee increased ROI. 

It will also leave you with a list of top 4 free and premium heatmap tools that you can take for a spin for your Shopify store’s optimization. Let’s begin!

What is Shopify and how do Shopify stores work

Shopify is a platform that allows you to build and set up your eCommerce store in minutes. It’s drag and drop online store builder empowers even moms juggling with multiple responsibilities to set up their stores.  

In short, Shopify is everything a budding eCommerce entrepreneur could ask for from website development & management platform. Whether you are an artist looking to sell your art online, or an organic farmer who wants to increase returns by expanding operations, Shopify will help you build your website, manage orders, deliveries, payment as well as payment methods, add and edit product images, manage stock, and much more. 

In addition to this, Shopify sets a very little limit to what you can sell through your Shopify powered websites or Shopify stores – physical products, digital products, services, memberships, experience-based products and services, ticketed services, and much more.  

screenshot of a heatmap on a shopify store

Shopify heatmap: Move your north star metrics upward and to the right with heatmaps

Launching an eCommerce store using Shopify may be a  fairly simple task, as iterated above, but ensuring that the store converts is a different ball game altogether. To drive consistently growing conversions and deliver stellar experiences that boost repeat buyers, understanding your website performance as well as your website visitors is extremely crucial.

There are 2 types of data that eCommerce stores can leverage to understand how their key website is performing and strategize on improving it: quantitative data and qualitative data. Quantitative website data comes through analytics platforms and tools like Google Analytics. GA tracks key performance metrics like conversion rate, page traffic, traffic source, bounce rate, cart abandonment rate, and other such quantifiable metrics.

For instance, an online merchandise retailer can integrate their website with GA to track how many visitors are dropping off on their checkout page. And let’s assume that the analyst, after looking at the data, realized that the final number of drop-offs on the checkout page stood at a staggering 80%. The analyst is left with one simple question that GA could not answer – WHY? Why was the checkout page drop-off so high? What was making visitors reach the final stage of the purchase funnel and then leave without finishing the purchase?

This is where qualitative research, particularly using heatmaps come into the picture. Heatmaps follow visitors’ journeys end to end and give you a clear picture of why they took the action that they did on your website. Going back to the merchandise retailer example, by looking at the heatmap of the checkout page, the analyst can now identify areas of friction as well as redundant and missing information by taking cues from visitors’ behavior on the checkout page. Visitors are clicking on the payment options drop-down yet not completing a purchase – maybe there aren’t enough payment options; visitors are clicking on the promo code field and dropping off from there – maybe you need to list down available codes in a drop-down; visitors not clicking on the CTA at all – maybe you need to test its copy and placement. Heatmaps enable you to step into your visitors’ and users’ shoes and experience first-hand what they experienced on your website. Such a peek into visitor journeys can equip you with so many actionable insights to act on for your optimization needs. 

Because eCommerce is one of the most dynamic and ever-changing industries, it becomes even more important that your Shopify store is in its most optimized form. Let us look at how heatmaps can help in the optimization of Shopify stores and their conversion rate: 

1. Increase conversions:

An eCommerce website is never really a hundred percent ready. Due to the dynamic nature of its target audience, almost every day a new pain point surfaces to which businesses have to react promptly or they will lose to the competition. This warrants launching new products, updating security, shipping, and other policies, and more such changes to your website. All these modifications can introduce bugs or other unplanned issues. Heatmaps can help Shopify stores follow their visitors’ journeys end-to-end and discover all such bugs and friction areas in their conversion funnel.   

An eCommerce website’s analyst can look at the mouse heatmap of their product pages and examine how each element is performing individually as well as in combination with the other elements of the page. For instance, are visitors hovering around the product page looking for any information like the size chart or available colors, or are they clicking on the product image expecting it to expand, or if your ‘Add to Cart’ button is readily discoverable or not, and so on.

All such insights go into crafting a website that does not create friction between the visitors and the interface and that matches visitor expectations, which ultimately results in increasing conversions

2. Combat cart abandonment:

Cart abandonment is the Achilles heel of every eCommerce website. In fact, the first half of 2019 alone registered an 84.24% global cart abandonment rate. Despite having ticked off every possible box from the products’ perspective, some eCommerce stores still struggle to bring down their cart abandonment rate. There can be many reasons for this: unexpected shipping charges, lack of refund options, long checkout processes, lack of payment options, lack of guest checkout, and so on. Heatmaps enable you to visualize visitors’ on-page behavior and track every click, scroll, pause, and mouse movement they make that can help you understand how they interact with your Shopify store, and reckon which elements and sections of your cart page attracts or distracts them. 

For example, looking at the heatmap of the cart pages, an online clothes retailer can identify that visitors only abandon the cart after they open the tax calculator dropdown. This can indicate that the visitors find the tax amount being charged to be on the higher end. Or, the ‘suggested for you’ section in the cart page is distracting visitors from finishing the purchase and sending them back to the product page. It can be inferred from this that cross-selling on the cart page may not be the best strategy for your store.  

3. Experiment for optimized experience:

Bad UX can lead to your revenue taking massive hits. The phrase, a stitch in time saves nine, fits perfectly well here, especially when a timely fix can not only save but also make huge slumps of Dollars for a Shopify store. The key is understanding the visitors in and out and experimenting for an interface that not only attracts visitors but also nudges them to finish their purchase. Both of these can be achieved for your Shopify store with the help of heatmaps. 

By letting you step into your visitors’ shoes and experience things on your website the same way they did, heatmaps help you gather as much on-page behavioral data on site visitors and identify segment-specific paint points as well as experience breakages. By equipping you with actionable visitor behavior insights, heatmaps help you formulate hypotheses that are data-backed, which when tested continuously after thorough prioritization leads to fixing broken elements and making good things better, thereby, improving experiences drastically. 

Top 4 Shopify heatmap apps and tools for your store – free and premium

Here’s a list of top 4 free & premium heatmap tools for your Shopify store that you can take out for a spin before making a huge monetary commitment on any tool: 

1. Order Heat Map

Created by SCS Design, Order Heat Map[2] collects user data from your store and displays it on a Google Maps heatmap. It also allows you to segment the audience by state and city so you can drill down on your heatmap result. Along with creating heatmaps, Order Heat Map allows you to create a targeted mailing list and export it so you can send it to potential customers. 

features of the heatmap created by order heat map

Order Heat Map offers a 5 days free trial after which it charges a monthly payment of $10. 

2. Hitsteps Analytics

With a 5-star rating on the Shopify app store, Hitsteps Analytics[3] doesn’t just offer visitor web analytics but also lets you live-chat with your visitors and identify main selling points by following each visitors’ stream and identify products that are bought or added to the cart after a certain product, and so on. 

features of the Hitsteps heatmap app on shopify

Hitsteps Analytics has many plans to choose from based on your business goals: Free Plan, Starter Plan, Basic Plan, Pro Plan, and Ultimate Plan. 

screenshot of the pricing and plans for Hitsteps shopify heatmap app

3. Hindsight

Hindsight[4] by Eastside Co. is an analytics tool offering heat mapping and visitor recording. The Hindsight heatmap enables users to switch between clicks, mouse movement, and scrolls data and also lets you map the aggregate of all three at the same time. Apart from helping you identify where visitors spend the most time on your website and which elements attract them the most, it also lets you see what your visitors saw on your website with visitor recordings. 

features of the Hindsight heatmap app on shopify

However, Hindsight does not offer a free trial or have a free plan. Its basic plan starts from $19 a month and goes to $85 a month with the enterprise plan.

screenshot of the pricing and plans for Hindsight shopify heatmap app

4. VWO Insights’ Heatmap:

VWO Insights’ heatmap tracks and visualizes visitor journeys on your website. You can choose from its varied offerings like the classic heatmap, scrollmap, clickmap, and more and it also offers a plethora of segmentation options (you can choose from the pre-fixed segments or create your own segment).

VWO’s free AI-powered heatmap generator allows you to predict how visitors interact with your web page. It enables you to gauge bottlenecks based on user experience for you to take required optimization measures. 

To enable VWO Insights’ heatmap on your Shopify store, just install the VWO Smart Code to your website and create a revenue tracking goal and start heatmapping. 

image of the features offered within VWO Insights' heatmap

Additionally, VWO’s heatmap tool comes in a suite with other visitor behavior analytics tools like session recording, form analytics, on-page surveys, on-page surveys, funnels, and usability reviews. What’s more – all these tools can be used through a single app from which point onward you can run as many campaigns as you want using any of these capabilities without any other code required. 

VWO offers a 30-day free trial period, after which you can choose a plan based on the goals you want to achieve. 


Just building an eCommerce website with the help of Shopify will never be enough. For a business to successfully take off and maintain the growth, the same Shopify store has to be iteratively optimized by deciphering visitor needs and expectations. And, as enumerated above, what better way to truly know your visitors than with the help of heatmap. Now that you know how important optimizing your Shopify store is, choose a heatmap tool and take it for a spin to see for yourself if heatmaps are the best fit for your use case or not. 

FAQs on Shopify heatmaps

How helpful are qualitative analytics tools for Shopify?

Shopify stores are dynamic in nature as elements on the website may change very frequenty. Qualitative analytics tools, such as heatmaps, help store owners to visualize theirs visitors’ journey acorss the store, and find out which elements are performing, and which ones are causing friction for the visitors.

Are there are any heatmap apps on the Shopify app store?

Yes! There are a couple of apps that help you to create heatmaps for your Shopify store. We have listed down the top 4 apps for 2021, including VWO Insights. Know more about all the apps.

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Shanaz Khan from VWO

Hi, I am Shanaz from the VWO Research Desk.

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