In the competitive landscape of eCommerce, maximizing user engagement and retention is paramount to the success of online businesses. One of the key metrics that has garnered significant attention in recent years is the bounce rate, a measure of the percentage of visitors who exit a website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate often indicates that users are not finding what they need or are experiencing difficulties in navigating the site, ultimately leading to lost revenue and potential customers.
In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of bounce rate in the eCommerce context, and provide a detailed analysis of various strategies that can be employed to mitigate this issue. Through a synthesis of current research and industry best practices, we aim to offer an informative and academically sound resource for online retailers seeking to improve their overall user experience and bolster their bottom line.
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website or app after viewing only one page or screen without taking any further action, like clicking on a link or making a purchase. It's a metric used to measure user engagement and the effectiveness of a site or app's design, content, and user experience.
Bounce Rates by Device
When looking at bounce rates, it is critical to examine how they differ across different user devices. It turns out that those who visit a website or app via their smartphone are the most likely to bounce away. Some of the reasons for that are explained here:
Mobile's heightened bounce rate can be attributed to the fact that many websites lack mobile optimized websites. This can be extremely detrimental to brands because if a user discovers your company on mobile and has a poor experience, they might take their business to a competitor with a better mobile experience.
The overall average bounce rate across all eCommerce websites is estimated to be around 47%, but the rate on smartphone devices is closer to 51%, and that is a significant difference. It is important to drive rates as low as possible, with a goal of greatness coming in around the 20% (or lower) mark.
Why Do eCommerce Visitors Bounce?
Visitors bounce from apps and websites for a variety of reasons. Here are some common reasons why visitors bounce:
High Page Load Times
One of the primary reasons visitors "bounce" is due to high page load times. When a website or app takes too long to load, users may lose patience and leave before fully exploring the content. Factors contributing to slow load times can include large images, excessive scripts, and poor server performance.
Lack of Mobile Optimization
In today's world, a significant portion of web traffic comes from mobile devices. If a website or app is not optimized for mobile viewing, users may become frustrated and leave. This can involve issues such as poor responsiveness, difficult navigation, or text that is too small to read on a mobile screen.
Misleading Titles or Descriptions
When users click on a link or ad, they expect the content to match their expectations based on the title or description. If the actual content does not align with what was promised, visitors may feel misled and quickly leave the site or app.
Poor User Experience
A poor user experience can lead to high bounce rates, as visitors may struggle to find what they are looking for or become frustrated with the interface. Factors that contribute to a poor user experience include confusing navigation, an overwhelming layout, or a lack of clear calls-to-action.
Visitors expect the content of a website or app to be relevant to their needs or interests. If they arrive at a page and find the content to be unrelated to what they were searching for, they may leave without exploring further. This can be the result of poorly targeted marketing or inadequate keyword optimization.
Intrusive Ads or Pop-Ups
Ads and pop-ups can be disruptive to the user experience, especially if they are intrusive, difficult to close, or obscure the actual content. Visitors who encounter these annoyances may decide to leave the site or app immediately, resulting in a high bounce rate.
Slow Server Response Time
A slow server response time can lead to frustration and impatience, causing users to leave a website or app before it fully loads. This can be due to overloaded servers, insufficient bandwidth, or inefficient website coding.
Some websites and apps use auto-playing media, such as videos or audio, which can be disruptive and annoying to users. If visitors find this type of media intrusive or unwanted, they may decide to leave the site or app quickly, contributing to a higher bounce rate.
13 Ways to Reduce eCommerce Bounce Rates
Reducing eCommerce bounce rates is crucial for improving user experience, increasing sales, and retaining customers.
Here are some effective ways to minimize bounce rates for your eCommerce website:
- Remove Outdated or Irrelevant Material
- Think About Cross-Selling
- Spend Extra Time on Product Pages
- Understand Your Audience
- Optimize Website and App Load Times
- Improve Navigation and User Experience
- Offer Personalized Recommendations
- Craft Engaging Content
- Implement Clear Call-to-Action Buttons
- Optimize for Mobile Devices
- Monitor and Analyze User Behavior
- A/B Testing
- Provide Excellent Customer Support
Remove Outdated or Irrelevant Material
When you first create a website, it is easy to throw everything you have at it. You might put material into the website that seems to be on-topic when you first submit it, but it may not age well over time. It may become irrelevant, outdated, or even offensive! You should do a scrub of your website often to make sure the information that is contained within is accurate and up-to-date.
It is wise to keep people on staff or do outside contracts with those who can provide new content for your websites from time to time. It is best to keep the most relevant and most pressing pieces of information on your website at any time. E-commerce websites will also want to apply this to their latest offerings and deals. The newest and most interesting products should appear prominently on the homepage. Deals, promotions, and special offers can also take their place there as well.
Think About Cross-Selling
Not everyone who visits your website will appreciate the first thing that they see come across the screen. The products that they are first pitched may not be incredibly relevant to them. Perhaps they won't be interested, and this may lead them to quickly click away from your website. However, you still retain the opportunity to capture some of these customers if you put some work into the process of cross-selling.
Cross-selling is essentially offering similar, related, recommended, or suggested products to visitors on your website. This may be best illustrated with an example:
- You offer an orange polo shirt on the homepage of your website
- The customer who visits sees the shirt but is not a fan of the color orange
- Your website also suggests similar styles of polo shirts in other colors
- The visitor clicks through to check out the other colors
- The visitor finds a color that they like and makes the purchase
This is how an e-Commerce website can use cross-selling to turn a customer who was likely to bounce away from the website into one who is opening their wallet to find their credit card and make a purchase. If the suggested options had not been available, the customer would have certainly left the website without making the purchase. However, they have suggested the right products at a price that they could agree to, and they were converted into a new customer. It is really as simple as that.
Spend Extra Time on Product Pages
There is a lot of extra value to be had by spending extra time on product pages. In fact, many suggest that these ought to be the pages on your website that have the most time put into them. The reason for this simply is because this is the final decision point for any potential customer. Once they reach the point where they are actively looking at your product page, they have made a lot of progress towards making a purchasing decision. If you want to convert visitors into customers, you need to make sure your product pages look optimal.
A few ways to make this happen include:
- Adding multiple images of the product
- Include all of the relevant information about the product (such as sizing and materials used)
- Make sure it is clear what a customer needs to do to add the item to their cart and complete a purchase
That last point is particularly important. It is best to make the purchasing process as seamless as possible. The less friction there is between a customer and his or her ability to make a purchase, the more likely they are to do so. It might seem like common sense, but many companies do not put in the legwork that they need to in order to get those kinds of results.
Understand Your Audience
To reduce bounce rates, it's crucial to understand your target audience and their preferences. Conduct market research, surveys, and gather user feedback to create a customer persona. This will help you tailor your content, design, and user experience to better meet their needs, keeping them engaged and less likely to leave.
Optimize Website and App Load Times
People have little patience for slow-loading websites and apps. Ensure your ecommerce platforms load quickly by optimizing images, using appropriate file formats, minimizing HTTP requests, and leveraging browser caching. These improvements can significantly reduce bounce rates by providing a seamless experience for users.
Improve Navigation and User Experience
A well-structured and user-friendly navigation system can encourage visitors to explore your ecommerce platforms further. Ensure that your menu is intuitive, accessible, and consistent across all pages. Additionally, make it easy for users to search for and find the products they're interested in.
Offer Personalized Recommendations
Personalized product recommendations can keep users engaged and reduce bounce rates. Analyze user data to identify preferences and offer tailored suggestions based on browsing history, past purchases, or similar products. This not only improves user experience but also increases the chances of conversion.
Craft Engaging Content
Creating high-quality, relevant content is essential for keeping visitors interested in your ecommerce platforms. Use clear, concise copy and appealing visuals to convey product information and benefits. Implement storytelling techniques to connect with your audience and showcase your brand's unique selling proposition.
Implement Clear Call-to-Action Buttons
Guide users towards desired actions with clear and visible call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Use compelling copy, contrasting colors, and strategic placement to encourage users to take the next step, whether it's adding a product to the cart, signing up for a newsletter, or contacting customer support.
Optimize for Mobile Devices
Ensure that your eCommerce platforms are fully optimized for mobile devices. A responsive design that adapts to various screen sizes, easy-to-tap buttons, and streamlined navigation will help retain mobile users and prevent them from bouncing.
Monitor and Analyze User Behavior
Regularly monitoring and analyzing user behavior is crucial for identifying problem areas that contribute to high bounce rates. Use tools like Google Analytics, heatmaps, and user recordings to track user interactions and optimize your platforms accordingly.
Conduct A/B testing to determine the most effective design, content, and navigation elements that reduce bounce rates. Test different layouts, headlines, images, and CTAs to find the best combination that encourages users to stay and explore your ecommerce platforms.
Provide Excellent Customer Support
Offering exceptional customer support can help reduce bounce rates by addressing user concerns and questions promptly. Implement live chat, chatbots, or easily accessible contact information to ensure that users can reach out to your team whenever they need assistance.
There is No Time to Wait
You cannot wait to jump on getting your bounce rate where it needs to be. You probably have many other things on your plate as a business owner, but that is no excuse for not taking care of the bounce rate problem. In fact, you should move it to the top of your priorities list because it is what is going to determine if you are able to grow your customer base and keep the people that you already have. You won't get very far if you don't keep your bounce rate in check today.
At Storyly we are happy to help you with the information that you need to get your bounce rate under control. We understand that this process is complicated, but this is all that we do for our customers. We are happy to guide you through the process and answer any questions that you may have along the way.