I guess there’re no any Internet users who have never encountered 404 page at least once. It’s the most recognizable Internet error in the world. Do you remember what happened the last time you saw it? Nothing pleasant, only disappointment. It’s like to meet someone you want to forget in a shopping mall.
What does error 404 mean?
404 pages become common as your eCommerce business grows. You have more products, sold outs, traffic, links, the stock is getting bigger. Every time you change it, you remove products and special sales pages. All that time, your customers still try to get to them using old backlinks.
More common and obvious reasons:
- Poor server configuration that can’t fulfill a request (Best Hosting Support For Magento Stores)
- The page got a new URL without no redirect
- The page is unavailable because it’s being worked on
- The page is permanently deleted without no redirect
How 404 Pages Affect Business
Website traffic is one of the most crucial parts of eCommerce revenue. Approximately, 70% of customers who face 404 error page, leave your site and never come back. It directly affects conversion rate and, as a result, your revenue. Every day 1-2 % of your customers fall on 404 page. If you have 10000 visits per day you lose 200 potential clients.
This error not only makes it difficult to find an item on your website, but it also kills the user experience. It ruins your brand image. Customers start to think that your store can’t fulfill their needs timely. They become less confident in your business.
Google claims that 404 errors don’t impact your rankings. Nevertheless, search engines don’t like sites with a high percentage of not found pages. Bad links, missing content and broken images negatively affect your SEO ranking.
How To Use 404 Page To Make Benefits
Sounds controversial, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, it’s possible. 404 page can be your hook, that will make your customers stay on your website. An interactive or well-designed 404 page can create a positive user experience and help you to stand out the competitors.
Let’s take a look at some examples of creative 404 not found pages.
404 page example by LEGO:
A marvelous interactive 404 page by Email Center UK:
Customers won’t be frustrated facing pages like these during shopping. Moreover, they will likely share it with their friends and colleagues. It’s the case when 404 error boosts your brand’s social awareness. If I encountered one of these pages, I would definitely post it on my social media.
There’s also another way how to catch the attention of your customers. If they can’t find what they look for, offer them an alternative or set of options.
You can use the following things to make 404 page useful:
- Search Box
- Coupon Codes
- Latest Blog Posts/Offers
- Combination of These Elements
Cute or interactive design and the availability of alternative are the best options for making profits of 404 not found error. This way customers don’t have a feeling of wasted time and frustration. You can use 404 pages both for branding and revenue-boosting.
Case Study: Custom 404 Page For Better Conversion
If shoppers land on 404 page and can’t find what they want, why not offer them almost the same thing? According to the statistics, if customers can’t buy an item they want, 80 % of them will purchase a substitute. These figures are true for categories like apparel or food.
One of our clients asked us to develop a module that would cope with this issue. Every time customers get to custom 404 page, they should be offered similar items depending on the page’s content.
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Simply put, the customer is looking for a women’s T-Shirt, clicks URL and sees hateful 404. As I’ve said before it’s a rather frustrating experience. In our case, the customer sees a recommendation block offering other women’s T-shirts related to this page.
If the link contains “complete set” keywords, the module recommends products under the “complete set category”. The same is done for “brand” categories. If customers search for Nike stuff and land on 404 page they will be offered only Nike products.
We added a new field to the admin panel — “Use Related Products”. Here, you have Output Product Filter that set the conditions by which products will be filtered for the recommendation:
- Attribute Set
To get the necessary information about Attribute Set or Brand of an item, you need just to enter its URL. The module will find and define it.
You’re free to set block title and the number of items in recommendation block. You need just to fill in “Block Title” and “Count Block Products” fields.
The number of Filter Attributes can be expanded depending on your needs and business specifics.
Let’s wrap out all this information. Page 404 in the usual way affects user experience, conversion rate and your revenue. Nevertheless, you can turn this poor shopping experience into a benefit or even a hook. There are two ways creative design and choice possibility. If a customer can’t purchase what he wants, make him purchase a substitute.
About the author:
E-commerce Journalist at Mobecls
2+ years experience
Feel free to ask me anything about this post in the comments below