As an ecommerce brand, you need to care about the bounce rate of your site. Bounce rate measures the proportion of visitors who leave your website after only looking at one page without taking any other action. Ideally, to convert customers, you want them to spend time on your site: explore your content, sign up to your mailing list, and maybe add some products to their basket. If that's not happening, you have a problem.

A high ecommerce bounce rate can indicate that you are having difficulty engaging customers or providing them with what they are looking for. In this piece, we'll take you through the basics of bounce rate and give you some direction on how to reduce your ecommerce bounce rate.

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the ratio of visitors who visit your ecommerce store, view only one page, and then leave without taking any action or clicking through to other pages, compared with the total number of visits to your site. 

Bounce Rate in Universal Analytics vs. Google Analytics 4

At the moment, there are two versions of Google Analytics: Universal Analytics (which is being discontinued in July 2024) and Google Analytics 4. They both measure bounce rates differently.

In Universal Analytics, a bounced session means that someone only viewed one page of your site without interacting with it. In Google Analytics 4, there is more of an emphasis on 'engaged sessions', which determine the engagement rate and bounce rate of your site. An engaged session means someone visited your site and:

  • spent more than ten seconds on one page

  • took one or more conversion actions

  • viewed two or more pages

Whilst bounce rate is measured slightly differently in both versions of the platform, they both essentially check the same thing: are users engaged by your site?

How to calculate ecommerce bounce rate

To calculate a website's bounce rate, you divide the number of bounced sessions or sessions that weren’t engaged by the total number of sessions or visits. For example: if ten people visited your ecommerce website, and three of them left after only viewing one page, then your ecommerce bounce rate would be 30%. You can also find your bounce rate in your website analytics platform.

Average Ecommerce Bounce Rate

Siege Media studied over a billion sessions to establish bounce rate benchmarks. According to their research, bounce rates ranged from 10% to 92%, and the average bounce rate was 50.9%. 

But bounce rates also varied a lot by industry. In the travel industry, for instance, average bounce rates were over 80%.

They found the average bounce rate for ecommerce was 54.54%. Although ecommerce bounce rates vary year on year, and the ideal bounce rate for your specific brand might be different, if your bounce rate is over 54%, it's probably time to take action to reduce it.

Why is a High Bounce Rate a Bad Sign for Ecommerce?

Sometimes it is fine for people to leave a website quickly, as it can indicate that they have found what they were looking for and have no further use of the website. If visitors come to the ecommerce website with a specific goal in mind, such as checking a piece of information, and they are able to quickly find what they need without needing to click through other pages, then a high ecommerce bounce rate may not be an issue.

However, as an ecommerce brand, you ideally want people to spend long enough on your site so you can convert them into becoming a customer and buying products from you.

A high bounce rate on ecommerce sites can indicate the following:

  • your site is not providing customers with what they're looking for

  • there is a technical issue with your site (for instance, it takes a long time to load)

  • your site is difficult or confusing to navigate

  • your ecommerce store isn't providing customers with enough information to make an informed purchase decision

These are all problems that can lead to a low conversion rate and impact the success of your ecommerce business. Therefore, it is important to identify why customers are bouncing from your online store and take action to reduce your ecommerce bounce rate.

Other metrics to look at alongside bounce rate

To get a real understanding of how people interact with your website, bounce rate isn't the only metric you should track. Here are some other website metrics you should consider:

  • Website traffic. Measures of the number of visitors to a website over a given period of time. It is typically measured by page views, unique visits, and page impressions.

  • Traffic sources. Tracks where website visitors come from. It can help ecommerce brands understand which sources are driving the most traffic and engagement to their ecommerce website.

  • Time on page. Measures how long ecommerce site visitors stay on a particular page before leaving the site

  • Device type. Measures the types of devices used to access a website allowing organizations to optimize their platform for the most popular device types.

  • Location. Tracks where users access your website from. It can also provide ecommerce brands with insight into cultural or regional differences in customer preferences and interests.

Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate

To start with, you want to try to understand why people are leaving your site quickly. Are they unable to find the information they are looking for? Is your ecommerce website not loading fast enough? Are there usability issues with the ecommerce platform? To identify issues, compare your site-wide bounce rate with individual pages, test the site internally, and consider surveying customers.

Surveys provide ecommerce brands with data on customer satisfaction and ecommerce website usability, allowing brands to make informed decisions about how to improve their site. You can send surveys or questionnaires to customers or include a mini survey pop-up on the site.

Once you have identified potential issues, you can take steps to address them. There are several aspects of your site you can work on to improve the bounce rate.

Fix technical issues and improve usability

Ecommerce websites should be easy to use and fast. If your landing page doesn't load in a few seconds, visitors will quickly get frustrated and leave the site. To resolve technical issues, make sure your ecommerce website is hosted on a reliable server and regularly test it to identify any problems. Optimize your site for mobile devices, as many ecommerce customers are shopping on the go.

Look into how people are getting to your site

Traffic sources can affect your bounce rate. If your ads or posts that direct people to your site are misleading or don't accurately represent your site, people are likely to click away as soon as they land.

Update your content

Make sure ecommerce website content is up-to-date, accurate, and relevant. Outdated ecommerce websites can quickly turn people off. Additionally, ensure product pages contain detailed information about products, so customers have all the information they need to make a considered purchase decision.

Improve the structure of your site

Well-structured ecommerce websites are easier to navigate and can help customers find what they're looking for. Make sure website pages are well organized, and there are clear paths with internal links customers can follow to complete tasks or make a purchase.

To read about these strategies in more detail, check out the Emotive guide on how to reduce bounce rate.