Nothing discourages the customer like error 404. The empty search page is responsible for 97% bounce rate. This is a very important metric and you should pay special attention to it.
We will only suggest that the most popular error 404 pages are not effective in e-commerce. However, we know something that works.
What is error 404 page?
Do you remember the situation when you were shopping online and you clicked on the desired item and instead of going to the product page, you were redirected to the page Error 404, no search results? HTTP error 404 means that the page was not found on the server. It might have been removed or moved, the URL has not been properly modified or the user has mistakenly entered the URL. Taken together, error 404 means that the page assigned to the entered URL does not exist.
This simple message on a white background effectively deters the user who will probably press the cross button in the upper right corner. The potential discouraged customer leaves the site and the shop loses the opportunity to sell.
Let's take a closer look at the most common problems and their solutions...
We already know what an error 404 is and what negative effects it brings for your shop. Let's fix it. First, enable error reporting, and then refresh the page with error 404 to check the content of the message that will determine the source of the problem. Below are the four most common causes and ways to solve them.
Error 404 appears very often on pages that have been removed from your shop for any reason. However, they could have been previously indexed in the search engine and users still find it.
Solution: Set the redirecting of pages deleted, for example, to a dedicated HTML page that will inform the user, in a friendly manner, about the error.
If the message is You do not have permission to access..., the problem probably concerns permissions.
Solution: Modify your CHMOD permissions through the FTP server. Access rights vary between providers, so it's best to contact yours and ask for information or request to adjust the settings for you.
Incorrectly configured SSL Certificate
If the 404 error is displayed after the installation of an SSL certificate, it means that the SSL certificate has not been correctly configured.
Solution: Check with your ISP if your URL in SSL connects to the correct URL inside the HTACCESS file.
Problems with the HTACCESS file
HTACCESS is a configuration file used by Apache servers in the root folder that is responsible for controlling redirections as well as changing URLs.
Solution: The problem is often solved by just re-opening the file. You can delete the HTACCESS file manually via the FTP server and re-open it in the Back Office / Advanced Parameter / Performance settings.
Error 404, which – instead of discouraging – converts?
Error page 404 is one of the places of the virtual shop space, which has the potential to generate additional sales, and usually remains unused.
The most popular error 404 websites are not effective for your business. However, there is a solution that, thanks to a user-friendly interface (a native recommendation) subconsciously assures the visitors that they are still on the right site and stops them on it, encouraging to continue the purchase process.
The use of a personalised recommendation system on the 404-page error helps the potential customer to find a product, which ultimately translates into sales.
The most commonly used recommendation strategies are:
Personalised suggestions for products similar to those that the customer has just seen in the shop;
Recently viewed products;
Bestsellers or promotional offers.