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How two weeks of web development nearly tripled conversions

It took Tomasz—the owner of web design agency NerdCow—only two weeks to identify why users weren’t converting on a client’s site. Once he identified the issues, he implemented changes that nearly tripled conversions. Here’s how.

How to improve customer experience
How to spot bugs
How to improve conversion
CEO & founder

Last updated

24 Mar 2023

Features used

NerdCow logo

Hotjar and chill

Tomasz Lisiecki, the founder of the premium web design agency NerdCow, watches Hotjar recordings every day. “I watch them like Netflix,” he laughs. 

Tomasz spends around 15 minutes each morning diving into recordings: “I make a cup of freshly ground coffee, put my headphones on, and just watch.

The reason Tomasz places such a high priority on watching recordings? They help him understand the performance of his team’s designs.

I supervise the interfaces on our websites that we design, and it's quite important for me to assert that the decision I made about certain UI components was right,” he says. 

But Hotjar recordings do more than validate Tomasz’s hypotheses.

Very often, recordings show me things I would never think about. I use them for inspiration on how to improve a website’s interface.

And for one of Tomasz’s clients, he used Hotjar’s Recordings and Surveys, a powerful combo, to help him nearly triple conversions in only two weeks. 

At a Hotjar Watch Party, your entire team takes a moment to watch real users interact with your product, or website, getting you all on the same page in record time. Find out how to organize your own Watch Party.

A big ecommerce shop with even bigger problems

The Transport Library sells images of rail and bus photos from the past, stocking over 140,000 items in their shop. They came to Tomasz looking for a website redesign in hopes of increasing sales.

The Transport Library came to NerdCow for help optimizing their site’s performance and increasing conversions.

The Transport Library came to NerdCow for help optimizing their site’s performance and increasing conversions.

Using Hotjar, Tomasz identified—and solved—three main issues that helped nearly triple sales in two weeks:

  1. The search bar was too hard to use

  2. Users struggled to find products they hadn’t seen before

  3. Users weren’t going through with their purchases

The first thing Tomasz confirmed through Hotjar’s Recordings tool was how people struggled to use the search bar to find what they needed.

The search bar, as he describes, had multiple fields with filters and joining statements. This was a significant hurdle for The Transport Library’s user base, who are 55 to 65+ years old and not tech-savvy. 

To be honest, [the search bar] was even complicated for myself to use,” says Tomasz. 

Screenshot of the Transport Library's complex search functionality.

The Transport Library had a complicated search bar that confused its users.

NerdCow simplified the site’s search by removing all of the fields. “You type whatever you want, and we'll find it for you. That was a huge breakthrough,” says Tomasz.

A new and improved search bar makes it easy for users to find the images they want.

Users weren’t clicking through to the products

Tomasz expected conversions to increase with the simplified search bar.

After all, it was now easier for users to find the photos they wanted.

But after going through the recordings with the improved search bar, Tomasz noticed something concerning: people were scrolling for hours through the site’s product database.

They were clicking through the pagination but never clicking into any actual products. 

Tomasz couldn’t understand why people weren’t visiting product pages: “How are you going to make a sale when users don't visit the product page?” 

He needed answers and knew the fastest way to get those answers was to ask users directly with Hotjar Surveys.

Tomasz used Hotjar to ask two questions:

  1. Do you have trouble finding the product?

  2. Can you tell us which product you hoped to find?

Tomasz was shocked as he read through the responses.

The reason people were clicking for hours? Users, especially ones who visited the site routinely, were scouring the shop for new products they hadn’t seen before. 

And because The Transport Library has such an extensive database of products, users had to scroll through thousands of products to try and remember which ones they’d already seen and which ones they hadn’t.

Tomasz and his team came up with an intuitive yet utterly simple solution: they added an “uploaded” badge to products that were released within the past week and a badge to show users which products they had already viewed.

The badge served two purposes:

  1. Help returning users identify which images were new

  2. Convey to users that the website is regularly updated—something The Transport Library’s user base cares about

Developing the badge took a mere 15 minutes but improved user experience in a big way. 

Adds-to-cart increased, but conversions didn’t

Tomasz had hoped that fixing the search bar and adding the new product badge would eliminate enough friction for conversions to shoot up.

But they didn’t—conversions were still lower than the industry average. Tomasz knew the importance of iterations while developing a site, so he reviewed more recordings to see if he could spot additional issues.

When reviewing the recordings this time, he noticed a pain all too familiar for ecommerce sites: users were adding products to their carts, but they weren’t going through with their purchases.

Again, Tomasz knew he couldn’t rely on hunches or guesses. He needed to go straight to the source and ask users why they weren’t buying.

Tomasz used Surveys to ask users a straightforward question: what stopped you from buying?

The answer?

They forgot!” he says.

They added all those products to the cart, and then someone like a nephew contacted them, or they had to go to a doctor’s appointment, and they forgot they had products in the cart.

Users forgot they had products in their carts.

Tomasz hadn’t even considered this almost comically simple solution. “I would have never thought about that!” he says.

Armed with Tomasz’s new knowledge, he instructed his team to do two things:

  1. Set up an abandoned cart sequence to email people who didn’t finish checking out

  2. Add a reminder to the website, so people returning to the site would be reminded of items in their cart

And that was the final piece of the puzzle. 

In only two weeks, NerdCow nearly tripled sales for The Transport Library.

A small team delivering big results

Tomasz knows the best way to eliminate guesswork is to dig into the data.

NerdCow’s team might be small, but that doesn’t stop them from providing immense value to their clients.

By pairing Hotjar’s Recordings with Surveys, NerdCow identified three quick changes that would deliver the biggest results:

  1. A simplified search bar so the site’s non-technical user base could find what they were looking for

  2. On-page graphics like badges, so users could swiftly spot which products were new and which ones they’d already viewed

  3. Abandoned cart emails and site notifications to nudge users towards converting

Tomasz started out using Hotjar’s free plan. He’s a fan of the free plan because it allows businesses to learn more about their users regardless of their budget. 

Ready to see results like Tomasz and his team at NerdCow? Try your free Hotjar plan today.

NerdCow nearly tripled conversions in only two weeks.

Watching Recordings and asking users questions through Surveys gave NerdCow all the insight they needed to eliminate friction and increase conversions. Sign up for free and start collecting your own user experience insights.