What to Do (and What Not to Do) About Your Ecommerce Site’s Bounce Rates

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ecommerce1The bounce rate is every website owner’s secret shame. The idea that a web user could navigate to your site and immediately regret it sends chills down an entrepreneur’s spine. Yet, for ecommerce sites, which rely entirely on revenue gained from web traffic, improving bounce rates is a matter of life and death, so understanding one’s bounce rates ― no matter how abominable they are ― is the only way to survive.

It is possible to encourage potential bouncers to stick around. This guide can help all website owners understand and adjust their bounce rates, but it is specifically meant for those self-employed ecommerce site owners, who must transform bouncers into buyers to thrive online.

Before You Do (or Don’t Do) Anything, You Must Understand Bounce Rates

To clarify, your bounce rate is the percentage of users who visit a single page without interacting with the content or exploring other areas of your site. In 2015, the ecommerce industry’s average bounce rate was about 33.9 percent ― but that number might not accurately reflect the averages for your ecommerce business. In particular, small ecommerce sites had a bounce average of about 34 percent, while larger ecommerce sites were able to maintain an average of about 9.4 percent.

Often, users spend less time browsing larger ecommerce sites ― only because they find what they want faster and can make purchases more easily, thus decreasing the likelihood of bouncing and increasing profits.

Bounce rates aren’t inherently evil; in fact, for many websites, having a high bounce rate is not at all a problem. If your site’s goal is to encourage users to call for more information, to click on advertisements for affiliates, or even to visit product information on another domain, like eBay or Etsy, bounce rates are no big deal. However, most ecommerce sites rely on users sticking around, browsing content, and making purchases, so the lower your bounce rates, the better.

You can use Google Analytics ― or your preferred web analysis service ― to find your bounce rates. If they don’t meet your expectations, you might need the following tips.

Do Not Gauge Overall Website Performance

Most analytics engines ― Google Analytics included ― provide a bounce rate for your entire site. You must disregard this number completely. Bounce rate is only useful in determining the performance of individual pages because different pages on your website should have different goals.

Do Evaluate the Performance of Individual Pages

As explained above, each page on your site will have a different goal. Your homepage serves to establish your brand, while blog posts aim to inform visitors and add value to the site. Individual pages have unique bounce rates, and observing these will help you make changes that allow your website to flourish. In general, your homepage should have a low bounce rate, but your ideal bounce rate for other pages depends entirely on those pages’ goals.

Do Not Overhaul Your Entire Site

Because bounce rates are only valuable in regards to individual pages, demolishing and rebuilding your entire site probably isn’t the answer ― unless every page continues to underperform even after extensive testing and redesign. In that case, it may help to go back to the drawing board with a new ecommerce website builder to guide you in the direction of a more successful design.

ecommerce2Do Make Tweaks to Content and Design

If you don’t need to completely redo your site, then don’t. Individual pages’ disappointing bounce rates deserve your attention. If your landing pages are performing poorly, you may be overwhelming web users with too much commitment; if your homepage’s bounce rate is high, visitors might deem your content irrelevant or useless. The best tactic is to make use of A/B testing tools to find the best design and content that appeals to your particular audience.

Do Learn More About Your Audience

You can use your bounce rates as clues to better understand your audience; for example, a high number of mobile bouncers may indicate that your site is less than mobile-friendly. However, to modify your bounce rates, you would do better to perform outside research on your audience’s web browsing preferences.

If your target consumers are young, you might expect a naturally higher-than-average bounce rate from your fast and fickle audience. Then, you can more effectively hold their attention with design and content that holds their attention.

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