Online stores spend a considerable amount of resources and follow numerous ecommerce tips to help drive traffic to their websites. To benefit from that targeted traffic, they must keep visitors on their pages and generate an impressive conversion rate.
However, online stores are unfortunately often plagued by a high bounce rate. This means that visitors are leaving the website quickly, and it represents lost income to the business.
Because a low bounce rate can bolster your bottom line, improving this metric for your site is well worth the effort. If you find that your online store isn’t selling as successfully as you’d hoped, it’s definitely time to take a look at your bounce rate.
What is ecommerce bounce rate?
This metric reflects the percentage of visitors that arrive at a landing page and quickly leave. These are single-page visitors who never take the time to click through other pages on your website.
Some bounces are related to visitors who didn’t find what they needed. However, others are associated with visitors who found what they wanted on the first page they visited.
For example, a shopper could have just needed your business’s phone number or email address, and this may have been visible on the landing page.
The bounce rate doesn’t tell you the specific reason(s) why visitors are swiftly exiting your site. Because of this, it can be challenging to determine the specific steps that are needed to improve this metric.
How do you determine your site’s bounce rate?
Before deciding how much effort you should devote to improving your site’s bounce rate, you should determine if your site has a true problem with quick clicks off of your pages.
Your website’s bounce rate is determined by dividing the total number of single-page visitors by the total number of visits. If you don’t yet know this rate for your ecommerce store, you can easily find it using Google Analytics.
A high bounce rate can ultimately result in the demise of your business, so it requires your full attention. Keep in mind that each page on your site will have a different bounce rate and should be analyzed separately.
What is considered a “good” bounce rate?
There are many reasons for bounces on an ecommerce site. It’s therefore unreasonable to expect any shop to have no bounces regardless of how large and reputable the company is.
Hotjar notes that on average, the bounce rate for ecommerce sites is in the range of 20% and 45%. If an online shop has a bounce rate lower than 20%, that’s generally considered really great.
Whether your website’s bounce rate is in this range or sits above the accepted norm, adopting strategies to reduce the bounce rate can yield tremendous rewards.
Why are bounces bad for your online store?
A higher-than-normal bounce rate is a signal that one or more significant issues on your website require your attention. With as many as one in three or fewer visitors exiting without further exploring, you can’t afford to overlook these potentially critical issues.
To better illustrate the importance of bounce rate in ecommerce, here are two reasons why having a significant number of bounces isn’t advantageous for your business.
Causes you to miss out on a sale
Each visitor who’s drawn to your website comes with the opportunity to boost your revenue through sales. As a result, bounces represent missed opportunities to generate revenue.
Keep in mind that this is traffic that you may have invested in heavily, so each bounce is actually costing you money. In some cases, a few minor updates to your site can dramatically reduce bounces and increase sales.
Lowers your ranking on Google
Google’s algorithms are increasingly complex, and search engine results are now strongly based on relevance.
To deliver the most suitable results to a user in a search query, Google examines a wide range of factors to determine relevance. One of the many components it analyzes is how much your store’s previous visitors have interacted with your website.
A high bounce rate signifies minimal interaction, and it indicates that many of your visitors haven’t found your website to be relevant to their needs.
A website with a high bounce rate generally may not rank as well as one with a lower rate. If your shop isn’t ranking well on Google’s results pages, your bounce rate may be a contributing factor.
How do you reduce your bounce rate?
There are many reasons why different pages on your website may have a higher bounce rate than desired. A high bounce rate is often the result of a combination of issues rather than related to a single issue.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to learn about the more common reasons for bounces and how to combat those issues successfully.
1. Reduce loading speed of pages
When it comes to a visitor’s patience for a website to load, seconds count. In fact, data from Pingdom reveals that bounce rates increase dramatically if a page takes longer than a couple of seconds to load.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that you can use to learn about potential issues with load speeds.
This tool gives you detailed information on the factors that are affecting loading speed on your website so that you can take decisive actions to increase your ecommerce site’s speed.
2. Correct usability problems
Your website’s visitors will often make a quick judgment call on how user friendly your website is. If they’re visiting your site on a mobile device and the pages don’t render well, they may decide to click away and visit another site that delivers a better user experience.
Other common issues include 404 errors, broken links, and other glitches that could be relatively easy to fix. Review each of your pages thoroughly to identify usability issues.
Note that pages that have a much higher bounce rate than others on your website may require more detailed attention.
3. Revise irrelevant copy
In many cases, shoppers will skim through headings and other text on a page to determine if it meets their needs.
Your visitors need to clearly and quickly determine if they’re on a page that will ultimately meet their needs. Consider updating headers, using bullet points, and improving flow to increase your pages’ readability.
The text itself should be straightforward, informative, and motivating. Typos and poorly written text can be distracting and can reflect negatively on your business.
Ensure that all of your text is concise and free of errors, and consider hiring a professional to write and edit the text.
4. Make navigation easy
Ensuring that your site is easy to navigate is an essential task to include in your ecommerce checklist when you launch an online store.
No matter which page of your website people land on, they should clearly see how to navigate to other desired pages. For example, a header or sidebar menu should be visible without any scrolling required.
This should provide clear navigation to different products on your site. Likewise, links to see a specific item’s images in full detail and to move forward with a purchase should be immediately apparent.
5. Add a prominent search bar
Does your ecommerce store’s website have an obvious search bar located at the top of the screen or on one of the sidebars? In addition to being well-placed, this bar should be relatively large.
It shouldn’t get lost in the mix of an otherwise busy website design. In case your visitors want to take the next step of searching your website for specific information, the bar should be obvious.
6. Ensure that your website appears trustworthy
Online shoppers are generally aware of the dangers awaiting them in cyberspace. For this reason, they may look for signs that your website is trustworthy and legitimate.
For example, the HTTPS protocol indicates that the website’s owner has taken steps to encrypt the website.
Shoppers may also look for recognizable trust badges, such as from McAfee, the Better Business Bureau, PayPal, VeriSign, and others. These badges should be displayed prominently on all of your pages, such as in an obvious location in a sidebar or footer.
7. Offer surveys to Determine why visitors aren’t converting
Some visitors to your website are your target consumers, but they still might leave promptly after arriving on a landing page.
These individuals may be able to find what they’re looking for on your website but don’t make a purchase for some reason. After these visitors click away from your site, you unfortunately can’t ask them what went wrong.
However, you can learn about your customers’ initial experiences with your website through a post-purchase survey.
These are people who decided to stay on your website and who ultimately made a purchase. Nevertheless, they may have still felt frustrated by some of the same issues that are driving other visitors away.
Use post-purchase feedback to improve shoppers’ experiences going forward!
8. Optimize product pages
This type of page is usually the last page that a shopper will visit on your website before either deciding to make a purchase or deciding to click away. Each product page must be optimized to deliver the best overall experience possible.
Besides having clear, high-quality images and sales-oriented text, these pages must be easy to navigate with product reviews and a visible “Add to Cart” button.
Follow accepted design rules, such as leaving an adequate amount of white space on a page and incorporating branded elements strategically.
9. Get rid of distracting elements
Your website’s design elements may be the reason for its high bounce rate. Some design elements are overwhelmingly annoying or distracting to online shoppers.
They can cause slow page load times and may even confuse shoppers. These items can range from videos that automatically play upon loading to popup menus, onsite graphics, and more.
Are you wondering how your website’s various elements are affecting your bounce rate?
You can easily conduct an A/B test to get fact-based insights that can successfully guide your website improvement efforts.
10. Create a sense of urgency
Shoppers often look for amazing deals on great products. They may be inspired to act if they think that they’d be missing out on something amazing.
There are several ways for ecommerce stores to build a sense of urgency or tap into shoppers’ fear of missing out.
If people believe that only a few items remain in stock, they may be more likely to act now rather than to keep shopping around. However, be sure that you’re not misleading shoppers with stock information, as this can quickly cause them to lose trust in your brand.
Finally, limited time offers on discounts and other perks can also inspire a shopper to move an item into their shopping cart and purchase right away.
11. Ensure that your call-to-action stands out
If your website doesn’t have visible calls-to-action, you may be missing out on a great opportunity to increase your conversion rate and decrease your bounce rate.
A call-to-action gives visitors a clear direction for their next steps on your website. In addition to guiding the customer forward confidently, it moves them along a desired path in the sales funnel.
Every product page should have a clear call-to-action. This will ideally be toward the top of the description and will be written in a different color or text that’s clearly differentiable from the rest of the text.
Other pages should also have clear action steps, such as a suggestion on the homepage to click a link to see the day’s clearance items.
12. Present the product’s true cost up front
Your customers need to immediately know if an item you’re selling is affordable for them. For this reason, be clear about the full cost at the top of each product page.
Shoppers may quickly click away if they scroll down to discover shipping and handling fees, service charges, or other added expenses that weren’t disclosed initially.
Keep in mind that this is also a common reason for shopping cart abandonment. If you don’t mention these various expenses until customers are ready to finalize a purchase, they may feel as though you’re being deceitful and lose trust immediately.
Even if you aren’t intentionally being deceitful, the impact on the customer experience may be the same.
13. Feature live-chat customer service
One of the benefits of shopping online is that ecommerce stores are open around the clock. However, this also means that shoppers can have questions at any moment.
It’s therefore helpful to offer people a way to quickly receive aid if they need it, regardless of what time of day they’re shopping.
Live-chat functions are increasingly popular with customers and are cost effective for businesses. Some chat boxes can pop up when the visitor clicks on a help icon, and others may be intuitive to deliver assistance when it may be needed.
Your chat support might provide links to your FAQ pages or to specific products that the visitor may be searching for. If the issue can’t be resolved via chat, a help ticket can be created.
This way, the shopper can be contacted directly as soon as possible by someone who has the authority to address the issue.
For most ecommerce stores, there’s ample room for the bounce rate to be improved. Doing so can directly lead to more satisfied customers, an improved brand image, and more revenue.
The first step involves calculating the bounce rate for each page on your website. If you notice that the metric is high for the overall website, the primary issues may be related to load times and other features that encompass the entire site.
Otherwise, individual pages may need to be reviewed more closely for issues with layout, design, and other problems.
Remember that you can take some of the guesswork out of the equation by surveying your customers for their feedback. There are also online tools, such as PageSpeed Insights from Google, that can deliver valuable information.
Your website will require ongoing improvement so that it continues to provide your customers with an amazing experience. Factors like search engine algorithms, available design tools, and even your inventory may often change.
For this reason, you should regularly look for opportunities to improve the shopping experience that your ecommerce store delivers!