Bounce rates in B2B ecommerce – how to use them to sharpen up your business and increase your sales.

Posted by Uncategorised • April 3rd, 2017

What are bounce rates?

A bounce is classified as a moment when someone visits your website and immediately closes it or moves to another site.  Think about it as a wrong number on a phone call.

A bounce rate is simply the number of bounces your website gets in a period of time.

Why do they matter?

It’s unlikely (but not impossible) that Google penalises high bounce rates.  In fact Google has said a number of times that it does NOT penalise bounce rates.  Phew.  That’s the good news

However, a high bounce rate may be an indicator that there’s other stuff going on with your site … stuff that your customers just don’t want, or understand.  And if your customers are viewing your site and bouncing away – that’s a missed sale. A lost opportunity. Money on the table.

When you also consider how much money you have paid* to get your customer to visit your site, it becomes an even more painful exercise to see the bounces.

*Your Investment for a customer visit might include:

  • Advertising
  • Sponsored content
  • Affiliate links
  • The cost of the site and hosting itself
  • Content provision
  • PPC

So, with promotional costs, loss of sales and potentially loss of customers, surely it would make sense to discover why your bounce rate is high and what you can do about it?

First of all it’s important to know how to measure a bounce rate:

Here’s an easy guide around bounce rates:   You’ll see there is a difference between exit rates and bounce rates.  An exit could be because someone has found the information they want on your site.  Perhaps your email address, even your url, or the price they were after.  A bounce is an almost immediate move to another website or page or hitting the back-button.

And a step-by-step to check your bounce rate on Google Analytics:

  1. Log into Google Analytics
  2. Under Standard Reports click on ”Behavior”
  3. Click on “Site Content”
  4. Click on “Landing Pages”

When you come to taking your measurement the key isn’t “how much?” But “how can we improve this?”.  Your initial bounce-rate is just a number.  Don’t be alarmed and don’t try to compare it to others.  Instead, take a long hard look at your site and see what actions you can take to make it better.

  • What contributes to a high bounce rate  generally?
  • Site is takes forever to load (the average loading speed is around 2-3 seconds)
  • Difficult to navigate – with hidden menus
  • The item you are searching is out of stock
  • Broken links, pages not found
  • Site not optimised for mobile/tablet access
  • Poor quality design – graphics or website
  • Badly designed landing page
  • Excessively long sign-up process, or unwieldly checkout process
  • Badly designed images – with poor photos and/or descriptions
  • Site reached by mistake
  • Distracted by something else
  • Just researching or wish-listing

Now here’s what you need to know about the difference with a B2B ecommerce site and a B2C site.

– quite a few people that bounce from a website could be price comparing so they may come back to purchase eventually.  This is especially relevant to b2b buyers, because let’s face it – it’s their job to get the best deal for their employers.

– it is important to see which page gets the highest bounce rates and experiment how to reduce it. Ie:  if the product pages get high bounce rates  it could be due to price – either they want a price comparison or the price is too high or the product isn’t right/clear etc.

– a B2B website that only allows trade customers to purchase from would be  expected to get a high bounce rate from the general public because they wouldn’t be able to buy the product from the website.

– the page that is landed on isn’t completely relevant to what your customer is searching for – not what they are after and isn’t a criticism to the website or product it just isn’t what they are after.  If a page is showing a particularly high bounce rate, then just check it yourself – make sure that all information is clear and that the details pertain precisely to the page name.  Check it with the SEO description, and finally do a check that the images are relevant to the page.  For example – you’ve got a page about hot-tub repairs and tools, but your images are all about lifestyle.

– the bounce rate often increases when a website gets higher in the search engines because there are more people visiting your website and the product may not be exactly what they are looking for.  This is especially true for very generic keywords eg “handbags” – everyone has their own idea of the handbag they are after. Therefore if you are top for handbags in the search engines there is a higher chance that you are not selling what people are looking for. In other words it is often worth going for very specific keywords to reduce the bounce rate ie black leather handbag – increases the chances that what you are selling is what the person is after).

– Sometimes the buy button isn’t obvious

As you can see, with B2B ecommerce it isn’t as cut-and-dried as you might have wished.  There is often more research required and most b2b websites don’t allow the general public to buy from them, so the bounce rate is always going to be high on this basis.  To get a clear bounce rate means the site should be analysed in detail to understand why it might be happening. It may just be as simple as having lots of traffic but not being able to sell to them resulting in a high click off rate.


And here are a few more ideas:

You have pop-ups?  Seriously?  Just stop them right now.

You aren’t mobile responsive?  OK, let’s talk…

Your menu isn’t  clear…  Smarten up your menu and view it as a customer-experience.

If your stock isn’t available – recommend alternatives

Reduce the check-out process, limit the work the customer has to do.

To summarise

A high bounce rate is not always a bad thing.  It may be that it just “is”.  However it might be a telling indication that something could be improved – and that something could make all the difference to your bottom line.

Our advice:
Be aware of your bounce rates, but don’t sweat it.  If you’d like us to do a full analysis on your bounce rate, just ask.  A few tweaks could save you a lot of money, and make you even more.