Reduce eCommerce bounce rate with 9 simple steps
A high bounce rate is like a neon sign telling eCommerce businesses that something is wrong. Visitors are not engaging with your content. Sales will be lost, SEO rankings will fall, and ROI on advertising will plummet. Yes, a high bounce rate really is a nasty monster. Let us help you slay it with these nine tips to engage visitors on your website.
What is bounce rate?
Bounce rate is a metric that shows the percentage of people who visit a page on your website but don’t do anything before they leave. The equivalent would be a person who knocks on your door, but when you answer they just stare at you. They don’t come in, they don’t talk to you, they don’t do anything. Then they just turn around and leave.
What is the problem with a high eCommerce bounce rate?
The problem is that these visitors aren’t interacting with your website. They won’t convert to sales. What’s worse, they will harm SEO rankings and eat up your advertising budget. Lowering your bounce rate is definitely something you need to do. Whether you are are at a 90% bounce rate (not good) or a 28% bounce rate (very good), there’s room for improvement.
How to Improve Bounce Rate on your eCommerce site
Improving bounce rate isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. It’s more like switching 50 or 60 switches. Flipping each individual switch wasn’t that hard, but there’s so many that it will take significant time and effort. However, the payoff is huge, as you should see massive improvements in SEO and ROI on ads through improving the bounce rate on your eCommerce website.
Improvement #1: Speed up your load times to reduce bounce rate
Making your website faster may be the easiest way to substantially lower your bounce rate. The faster your pages load, the better the user experience will be. Thus, visitors are more likely to stay and engage with your content. Shoot for a 2-3 second load time, but if you can break below 2 seconds, you’ll have a sizeable competitive advantage.
Testing the load speed of pages on your website is a great place to start. Pingdom provides a free tool to learn about your load times. Once you’ve discovered your starting point, increase your site speed with the following tips:
- properly size and compress your images
- reduce HTTP requests
- implement lazy loading
- consider better website hosting
- enable browser caching
- uninstall unnecessary plug-ins
- use external hosts for some of your content, like YouTube for videos
This list just scratches the surface of ways to improve site speed. Improving load times is like building a brick wall, it must be done little by little. You aren’t likely to attain great speeds through one or two massive changes but through a multitude of incremental changes.
Improvement #2: Make sure your content is relevant
Picture this, you receive a coupon to a pizza shop. You decide to give it a shot. You walk in, sit down, and pick up a menu. There’s no pizza, only salad. You ask the waiter, “What’s the deal with the menu? I have this coupon for a medium three-topping pizza for $10.99, I want that.” The waiter replies, “Sorry, we don’t sell Pizza, only salad.” What’s wrong with this scene? The store’s contents didn’t match the expectations that motivated you to visit it in the first place. Maybe you decide to try the salad, but more than likely you’ll just leave.
It’s the same in the eCommerce world; if your content does not match the desires of its visitors they will leave. Making sure that your website’s content is relevant to your visitors is a huge factor in improving eCommerce bounce rates. Begin making improvements with these steps:
- Discover what your visitors want by tracking the keywords they are using to find your store.
- Narrow your keyword/keyphrases on ad campaigns to only bring relevant traffic.
- Modify landing pages so that they immediately see content that relates to their search terms.
These steps will improve your bounce rate as visitors find exactly what they are looking for at your eCommerce website.
Improvement #3: Make your website look great
Have you ever pulled up to a gas station or a convenience store only to turn right back around and head to a different station? I bet you have, and I bet it was the first impression that did you in. You saw that the prices were too high, there were no pumps available, or it just felt sketchy. The bounce rate on your eCommerce website isn’t much different. If a visitor shows up and your website screams, “I was built over the weekend by an entrepreneur in his or her pajamas,” then your bounce rate will rise.
On the other hand, investing time and money into your website will improve conversion rates, SEO ranking, and yes, the bounce rate.
So you’re convinced, you need a beautiful website. Before you go spending a dime on your site, educate yourself on what works and what your vision is. Often, even when paying for a designer, the biggest limiting factor is the clarity and quality of your vision. However, your vision shouldn’t be just about what you like, it’s about your customers. What do they like? To help clarify your website vision, answer the following questions:
- What are the demographics of your current visitors and target customers?
- What’s your core company message and what role does that play in your website design?
- What kind of brand perception do you want to create?
- What colors will work well with your target customers? Read this for help understanding color psychology.
- What kind of logo fits with your customer demographics, branding, and colors? Should you replace/modify?
After you have developed a clear vision, move on to these simple tips to improve your bounce rate through website design.
- Use high-quality, visually stimulating images on your landing pages. (remember to compress and size first)
- Don’t overuse text. People on your site will read headlines, bullet points, and short paragraphs.
- Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
- Remove ambiguous terminology, every word should count.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of how to have the best-looking website. But this is a great start. Answering these questions and implementing these improvements will lower the bounce rate on your eCommerce site. Don’t be like that gas station that turns everyone away. Create trust and excitement with an improved appearance.
Improvement #4: Position your most compelling content first
What is your best, most compelling content? Let visitors see it immediately. Your absolute best content should be the first thing a person sees on your homepage, and every single landing page should have its best content prioritized for visitors to see first. But how do you determine what content is best? Don’t just guess… Follow this process:
- Start with your own judgment to prioritize what you think is your best content.
- Use a heat map service to see where your customers are spending their time (more about heat maps later).
- Survey customers consistently to test current and future content.
Implementing these three steps will get you well on your way to improving your eCommerce bounce rate by prioritizing your most compelling content. Don’t save the best for last, get their attention up-front.
Improvement #5: Create crystal clear site structure
Thankfully, we live in an era of GPS capable phones. Has there ever been a time when you needed a GPS but didn’t have one? Trying to navigate your website should not be one of those instances for your visitors. An unclear or difficult site structure will frustrate visitors, and they will likely find relief by bouncing off of your site. Improving site structure is an important way to improve your bounce rate.
Think of your navigation bar as the map to your website. If it’s not highly visible, clear, and functional, people will have to work really hard to find out how to get where they want to go. Make it easy for them:
- Include a search bar, and consider using an autocomplete software to help direct your visitor’s searches.
- Make sure you aren’t missing any key menu items. Consider the following navigation tabs as a minimum: home, products, about us, contact, and a blog page (if you have published blog posts).
- Use a drop-down menu with sub-categories or specific items under your products tab.
- Utilize a footer that mirrors the navigation bar menu.
In addition to these items make sure your navigation is large enough, eye-catching, and easy to use. Don’t let confusing navigation harm your business.
Improvement #6: Captivate visitors with video
A short video about your brand, a product, or a unique company offer can engage visitors, reducing the bounce rate on your eCommerce site. As an added benefit, they may have an even bigger impact on your sales.
If you do produce video content, make sure it’s of excellent quality or it may be counter-productive. Here are some options for video creation.
- Sub it out completely. All the professionals need is a product, a script, and a check.
- Get help. Hire a film crew to come in and produce your videos but don’t hire an actor or actress.
- Do your own video. If you plan to produce videos frequently, this is the way to go.
Just make sure you do it right, or it will be time and money poorly spent. Also, remember to embed an outside host, like YouTube, for your video so that it doesn’t devastate your load times.
Improvement #7: Find issues by using a heat map service
Heat maps give visual representations of visitor interactions. It looks similar to a thermal scope, highlighting where engagements are occurring. These tools are incredibly useful because they eliminate the mystery, showing you what’s working and what’s not.
As you can see from this example on Crazy Egg’s website, a heat map shows what areas experience more engagement. Consider one of these heat map providers:
- Crazy Egg – we tend to think this is the best option for WordPress users. It also has the confetti heatmap, which allows users to easily see the source of their traffic. Pricing starts at $9 a month for up to 10 pages and 10,000 visitors.
- Ptengine – this site offers a free option, which is for 1 heatmap with up to 1,000 visitors. It also includes other web analytics, including A/B testing. Pricing begins at only $7 per month.
- Lucky Orange – If you use Shopify this is a good option. This integrates really well with their platform and has many bells and whistles as well. Pricing ranges from $10-$100 per month.
Rather than guessing, you can get data to improve your customer experience with heat maps.
Improvement #8: Optimize eCommerce product pages
Optimizing product pages can have a two-fold purpose, affecting both bounce rates and conversions. It’s important that you don’t improve your product page’s bounce rate at the expense of conversions. Luckily, improving the bounce rate will almost always improve conversion on product pages and vice versa.
Some great characteristics of this product page:
- High-quality images.
- The photos, buy box, and text are well proportioned, similar in size.
- Visitors are given key information without being overwhelmed with the text.
- The price is clear.
- Free shipping is highly visible.
- The savings offer is displayed in bold and italics.
- Customer reviews are on display.
This listing presents important information clearly and up-front, without forcing the visitor to read long sentences or paragraphs. The following picture shows the continuation of the same product page.
Here the information is much more in-depth. They discuss their ingredients, feeding guidelines, and guaranteed analysis. This is where more interested customers can find additional information. However, because it’s lower on the page, visitors aren’t distracted from the most important listing elements. See V-Dog for more of their product listings.
Improvement #9: Don’t annoy your way to a high eCommerce bounce rate
Have you ever turned down event tickets because of factors like crazy people, heavy traffic, and parking passes? Don’t let your eCommerce website have a high bounce rate because it has too many annoying characteristics.
Avoid these things to prevent annoying your website visitors:
- Spammy pop-ups
- Excessive ads
- Too many bright colors
- 404 codes
- Overuse of graphics
- Poorly chosen fonts
- Incorrect text sizes
- Something auditory on autoplay
By no means is this list exhaustive. There are a million things a website can do to annoy customers. Making sure that you aren’t violating any of those 8 rules is a good practice for minimizing your eCommerce bounce rates.
Bonus: Be a good eCommerce business
One more thing… To improve your bounce rate focus on being a good business. Try to have reasonable pricing, good products, and fast and affordable shipping (for help with shipping costs check this out). If you are a bad business, you’re bound to have a bad bounce rate, no matter what tips and tricks you implement. Being a great business is the foundation for a great bounce rate.
The Bounce rate monster can eat your business alive. But if you implement these improvements you can slay the monster. Don’t give up, focus on making small incremental improvements that will result in big change down the road.
If you need help with your eCommerce business. Schedule a free consultation today: