Running a successful e-commerce store, you’re constantly paying attention to a variety of details. From setting your product margins and developing your fulfillment process to making sure your supply chain is operating as smoothly as possible — there’s no shortage of things to consider and evaluate.
But if you’re not paying attention to your store’s engagement metrics, your other efforts won’t yield the benefits they should. One of the most important engagement metrics to manage is the number of people who immediately leave your store after arriving.
Here are four website details to reduce your e-commerce bounce rate.
While you’ve heard it proclaimed a thousand times over the last 10 years, it’s true nonetheless: content is king. Running an e-commerce store, you might have thought content doesn’t matter. However, the same people pushing the demand for quality content are the same ones shopping online.
According to the United States E-commerce Country Report, 88 percent of consumers research products online before making a purchase online or in store.
This begs the question: are your product descriptions easy to read, both from a language and design perspective? Do they aid a shopper’s experience as a store associate would help an in-store shopper?
Product descriptions need to be skimmable, yet detailed. Give the reader everything they’d want to know without demanding too much from their eyeballs.
If you’re running a blog to drive additional traffic, avoid walls of text and poorly formatted blog posts. Even if you have quality writers churning out engaging prose, it won’t resonate with readers because they’ll be frustrated by your awkward presentation.
Making your content readable will help engage visitors while presenting your brand in a more credible manner.
Whether blog or product page, external links should populate in a new tab. If your hyperlinks don’t open in a new tab, you’re putting the onus on the visitor to either open the link in a new tab themselves or navigate back to your site once they realized the link they clicked took them off the initial page.
Changing your hyperlinks to open in a new tab probably won’t drastically reduce your bounce rate, but it’s an easy fix that will surely contribute to more visitors interacting with your page.
The World Wide Web is a dynamic, ever-changing environment; web pages are born, and web pages die. The inexcusable thing is letting yours die ungracefully. That is, to show visitors an ugly “the page you requested cannot be found” message.
You might have thousands of great pages on your e-commerce site, but if your broken pages look generic, a visitor might think your site isn’t maintained. This will surely lead to them hopping back to the search engine results pages (SERPs) and you’ll incur a permanent loss of their engagement and buying potential.
Custom 404 pages don’t need to take a lot of work. Start with an engaging design, perhaps an eye-catching image that communicates a blunder. Pair it with straightforward but interesting copy stating there’s an issue finding the page.
Take Airbnb’s 404 page as an example. Immediately upon landing, we see a lady drop her ice cream with a message: “Oops! We can’t seem to find what you’re looking for.”
The most important details on the page, though, are the various resource links included below the message to help visitors find what they need.
It’s always a let-down to click-through a search engine result for a product only to find it’s out of stock.
What do you do when this happens to you?
If you’re like most people, you probably bounce and look for it elsewhere. But what if, instead of seeing a disappointing “out-of-stock” message, you were greeted with a pop-up box that apologized for the out of stock? Further, what if that pop-up offered to notify you when the product’s back in stock, or let you pre-purchase the item so it automatically ships when stock is replenished? If you didn’t need the product immediately, you’d probably be interested in one of these options.
If you’re already using an e-commerce provider for customized, premium web templates, chances are out-of-stock pop-up add-ons are also available. For a consumer looking for a product, offering an out-of-stock notification might win a sale that surely would’ve been lost—especially if the product is hard to find, or you’re an exclusive seller.
Understanding Bounce Rate
The above strategies will reduce your bounce rate. But before you overhaul your site with the quest of achieving the ultimate bounce rate, it’s important to understand the differences in behavior encompassing a site’s bounce rate.
Generally speaking, three types of actions contribute to your bounce rate:
Scenario one: User lands on a page looking for an answer or a product. They will either find it and leave, or don’t find it and bounce back to the SERPs to keep looking. Even when the user who found the answer is pleased with their experience, if they leave without visiting another page, it’s counted as a bounce.
Scenario two: User lands on a site intrigued by a product or blog post displayed in the SERPs, but finds a broken page, a misaligned page, or one of poor quality—so they bounce.
Scenario three: User lands on your site from the SERPs and ends up getting distracted (eight seconds, remember?) However, because their attention shifted, they left the tab up. Once this user’s session expires, it’s registered as a bounce, even if they return to it a few days later and pleasurably consume the content.
Only scenario two is wholly negative. Arguments could be made that scenario three only occurs because a page isn’t engaging a user’s attention enough, but we’re all busy and distractions do tend to happen.
The important thing to take away from this is that, while bounce rate is an important metric to consider, it can be misleading. You can get a better idea of what’s contributing to your bounce rate by setting up specific events in Google Analytics, but that’s a different topic for another day.
Bottomline: if your store’s stickiness is leaving a lot to be desired, start with these four website details to reduce your e-commerce bounce rate and iterate from there.