eCommerce Bounce Rate as an Analytics Metric

A website's bounce rate is one of the most important pieces of data you can get from your analytics software. A high volume of traffic would be of no consequence if you were not able to engage it.

I like to categorize the causes of a high bounce rate into four areas:

  1. Technology
  2. Marketing
  3. Web Design
  4. Content

Let us examine each of these in detail.

Your Technology Is Not Working Right and it Is Turning Off People

Though it is largely true that eCommerce technology is turning out to be a commodity, there are still websites that do not work well. What if a customer clicked a link and reached your website? What if your website crashed, presented the user with broken images or error messages? If that happens, you are not giving the customer any choice except to leave.

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It is not just about crashed websites and broken images. Now that the customer has many choices, even a slow-loading eCommerce website is enough to make customers leave without giving it a second chance. Let me tell you about my online shopping process -- I often open multiple competing websites in different tabs on my browser. If one of them is taking too long to load, I have already engaged with another.

But technology has to be more than just speedy. Today people access the Internet with a wide variety of devices. 

Earlier it was about desktops and laptops, today we also have tablets and smartphones. If your technology prevents your website from being viewed right on some of these devices, you have bounced off a large chunk of customers right there.

You Are Not Following Sound Marketing Principles

As a culmination of all your SEO efforts, you finally get customers to land on your website. But you do not tell the customers what is expected of them: no clear call to action, no "Buy Now" button, no sense of urgency created by giving them a limited period offer, no easy signup that would allow you to repeatedly engage with them. What is the customer to do?
Most eCommerce marketers do not think that they are guilty of this crime. But the fact is that what you deem as an obvious course of action may not be obvious to the customer.

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The Design of Your Website Is Causing People to Leave

You may have the best technology, and you may have a clear call to action. But if the look and feel of your eCommerce website push people away, you are going to lose the game.

It is not as if customers are superficial! You are expecting them to part with their hard-earned money on your website, and your website does not inspire confidence? I would not use my credit card on a website that looks unprofessional.

Of course, having a professional-looking website is not enough. Customers should be able to locate and comprehend the navigation options you present them.

When People Look at Your Website They Do Not See Something They Like

A lowered bounce rate arises from visitors clicking deeper into your website, but what if your eCommerce website does not have enough depth to it? For a specific visitor, what if there aren't any more relevant pages? That would cause your visitor to leave.

And if you do have the right pages, make sure that the content is valuable. If I am buying a gadget I want to know about many of its specs. Besides, I want to compare it to similar products, not to mention watch a video on how to use it. Make sure to have an adequate quantity of quality content to retain the customer on your website.
I am sure that you are smarter than that, but the most irritating experience on an eCommerce website is an avalanche of popups, pop downs, and other forms of intrusive advertising.

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Final Words

Think about it, a high bounce rate is an indicator of the fact that you could do things better. And when you do get better, you can still get better. Constant effort to lower your bounce rate is the right way to go.