When shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, you probably won’t take the time looking for the perfect item; instead, you’ll find something close enough to work and be on your way, especially if you’re in a large store or have little time. But when shopping online, it’s a different story. With the ability to search with an exact item and price range in mind, many shoppers hop quickly from site to site.
This can spell bad news for e-commerce sites and is best illustrated through a Web analytic known as bounce rate. In short, when someone spends a short amount of time on a page and then either closes the window or goes to a new site without exploring further, that registers as a bounce. The ideal bounce rate is close to 15 percent, or at least under the average of 33.9 percent for e-commerce. Knowing the three major reasons someone leaves a page can help you bring that number down.
1. “I didn’t find what I expected.”
It’s possible that your site summary or keywords are misleading. Or perhaps one of your linking partners is causing visitors to make assumptions about the product you provide. Either way, the best way to determine how well your site is ranking is by running analytics. First, check where most of the traffic is coming from — Google, social media and so on — and which landing pages are getting the most hits. Google now protects searches by making keyword information private, so look into workarounds or, for a low-tech solution, evaluate keyword phrases in other search engines.
2. “The site was a mess.”
Design serves two functions in e-commerce: navigation and reputation. A cluttered site not only makes it difficult to find a specific item, but it can look as unprofessional as a store filled with scrambled racks of random goods. This problem can be fixed by going directly to the source. Ask friends and potential clients to give feedback on the look and feel of the site, with an emphasis on whether or not the navigation is intuitive. Even better, perform usability testing.
3. “It took forever to load.”
Mobile browsing makes up a huge amount of Web traffic today. Your site should have a dedicated mobile page, tested on several systems (iPhone and Android phones and tablets in particular). No matter how a customer reaches your site, however, they should be able to see the entire page quickly. Just a four-second loading time results in a 25 percent increase in visitors giving up and moving on. Limit active elements on the home page, particularly any animation or videos, in the name of simplicity. If you’re still having trouble ensuring that the page loads quickly and at the same time, you may need to find a new e-commerce hosting provider for back-end solutions that can improve your speed.
Keeping customers on your site isn’t an exact science. Many incidents of bouncing are related to personal taste, typos or an interruption. However, it’s smart to take advantage of the resources available to help you address the key issues above. Look to blogs on successful sites with consistently low bounce rates for tips on navigation, design and content that draws visitors in. Then consult with hosting and Web design professionals to build a structure that’s consistent and functional.
Image credit: Kittisak on Freedigitalphotos.net