In the era of work-from-home, online shopping has become more important than ever. Many of us are trying to do our part and follow proper social distancing. Online shopping eliminates unnecessary worry and effort. Staying knowledgeable about e-commerce trends is becoming more important as stores optimize for efficiency.
But we’re also in the age of ever-decreasing attention spans. You may even be or have employed an SEO expert to run your e-commerce store. You have your content and keywords dialed in for the first page on long-tail SERPs. You might even be getting hundreds or thousands of views from those SERPs.
But guess what?
You only have 50 milliseconds of a user’s time to make a good first impression.
Many users click a link from search engine results but spend a short amount of time on that page before clicking the “back” button. Time spent can vary, but whether the user clicks back, closes the browser, shuts down the computer, or locks their phone, all actions lead to the total of only one interaction on a website.
According to Google Analytics, a bounce is a single-page session on your site. Bounce rate is the percentage of users that view only one page per session.
What are some reasons visitors may be leaving?
- The layout of the website is poor or confusing
- The visitor’s query and the site purpose do not match
- User goal is completed on the first page, such as reading a news article or seeking contact info
- Long load times or sluggish website
- Too many ads or popups
- Poor mobile optimization
- Poor engagement
- Overwhelming options
Looking at the 2018 Google Benchmarks, bounce rate can be anywhere from 45-65% and is industry dependent. Different industries have different goals, so context is always needed. The benchmark for e-commerce lies within the 20-45% range. Any higher than that and you have some work to do.
If you are above 70%, you may need to consider rebuilding your website.
If you are below 20%, check the functionality of your website to make sure users aren’t forced to click through to exit the website. Otherwise, congrats, because you are the King of Bounce Rate–but there is always room for improvement.
Interpreting the bounce rate is not always so simple. What’s most important is whether your bounce rate is trending in the right direction.
However, it’s totally understandable is the bounce rate takes a back seat when it comes to prioritizing other metrics. Ultimately it does come down to whatever particular goal you are hoping to achieve when it comes to traffic. For example, when it comes to tracking traffic for a newsletter, then your bounce rate becomes less of a concern. Again, it’s not a simple solution and can ultimately change depending on your goal.
In a recent study by Accenture, 65% of consumers were more likely to buy from a retailer if it recognizes them and makes relevant recommendations.
Now you may be asking yourself, why are you presenting this new problem to me? We have our retail ERP system in place. We have our SEO done. We’re on the search pages we want to be on.
Isn’t that good enough?
The simple answer is no.
It is not good enough.
But don’t fret.
That’s why we’re here.
In this article, we will go over eight e-commerce personalization techniques to reduce bounce rates.
1. Personalize Homepage
I know this one seems rather obvious. But you would be surprised.
The homepage is the best place to start because, well, that’s most likely where the customer will begin their journey towards the sale.
New visitors should be greeted with an explanatory homepage. Lots of simple information directing them on how to use the site and giving them options to help navigate towards their goal.
This is a good time to offer a new-user discount. This simple banner from Uniqlo does the job.
For returning users, a greeting message with their username can go a long way to improving their experience.
Compare these two screenshots of the ASOS homepage.
On the left is from a first time user of the site. The image on the right is upon a later return to the online retailer. On the second visit, the site remembers that the previous visit was to the Men’s section so it highlights Men’s fashion. It’s a simple touch, but oh so convenient!
This would be a good time to get feedback on a recent buy or offer a discount code to the long-absent customer.
2. Personalize Search Results
Offer to save a browser history. With a lot of products, customers may be returning to buy the same or similar items each time. A drop-down menu with past searches can help a user get where they want to go in the fewest clicks possible.
Having tailored search results pages will also help increase conversions. This will be based on previous browsing history. The user will find it easier to buy an item.
But, if the desired product is unavailable, use your out-of-stock pages to boost sales!
3. Recently Viewed and Personalized Recommendations
In a 2017 study by Segment, they found that 27% of online customers want personalized recommendations.
You can use dynamic heatmaps, for instance, to see how return visitors navigate a page, which elements they click and how far down the page they scroll. Using this information you might find the need to reorganize your products or place certain messaging higher up on the page.
Again, point them towards their goal with the fewest clicks possible. Amazon is the master at this. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
When a recommended product meets a customer’s needs it can not only convert but build a stronger relationship of trust. To avoid out-of-stock disappointment and missed opportunities, tap into the power of inventory visibility to improve your order management.
Along with order management, optimize your cash flow with inventory accounting. Then you can focus on things like growing your business, increasing conversions, and reducing bounce rates.
4. Exit-Intent Popups and Polls
If you aren’t already using exit-intent popups, you should get onto them right away. An exit-intent popup only appears when a user is about to leave your website.
Think of exit-intent popups as a final offer in a negotiation. This is your last chance to entice the customer before they leave the website.
You can personalize exit-intent popups by implementing polls. While other forms like post-purchase surveys can give you valuable feedback, popup polls can re-engage a customer thinking about leaving. This will give you a chance for valuable feedback and can prevent a user from leaving your e-commerce store.
5. Geolocation Services
If you want to offer a personalized experience, then implementing geolocation services is a must.
If a customer from Hawaii logs onto a fashion site and is bombarded with images of winter coats, they’re likely to bounce. Make sure your customers are going to see region-specific products.
Another issue can be with your contact us page. For customer service, it can be very confusing if the hours are displayed in a non-local time zone.
Many businesses use an automated phone system. But an automated phone system doesn’t work if customers aren’t sure when or which number to call. Not only can a visitor abandon the site but contribute to an increase in churn by taking their business permanently elsewhere.
6. Don’t Forget the Weather!
Going hand in hand with geolocation you can also implement weather-targeted services. With the example above, if a customer from New York visited the same fashion site in July, pages of winter coats would still be inappropriate. But, a customer from New Zealand would very much be interested in staying warm.
7. Segment Your Email List
Let’s get one thing straight, no one likes getting junk mail.
Segmentation means dividing your customers by their preferences, geography or by their behavior with your website, products and emails. Using omnichannel retail software can help with segmenting your email lists. It helps you offer more personalized communication with the customers, be more efficient, and be less annoying.
According to optinmonster, segmentation can lead to almost 14.4% more opens and 64.8% more clicks than non-segmented emails
8. Personalized Live Chat
When a user is having difficulty with navigation they may prefer to chat with customer service instead of leaving your site. Live chat tools can give you the option to start a chat with a custom data API so you know who you are contacting.
You can also set behavior conditions to open a chat invite. If you have the right analytics, you can know when a customer is likely to bounce and intervene with friendly service.
As the war for consumer attention rages on, winning the Battle of the Bounce can tip the scales of profitability in your favor. It’s important to begin building a relationship as soon as a user visits your e-commerce store.
Employing these personalization techniques will ensure your site is more engaging. Personalization will decrease your bounce rate. Period.
Nick Shaw, BrightPearl
Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and warehouse management system, accounting, logistics, CRM and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business. Nick has written for sites such as Hubspot and ReadyCloud. Here is Nick Shaw’s LinkedIn.