The outdated black and white ‘404 Error’ message is a frustrating sight to see for internet browsers. That pesky message is even more bothersome for those shopping online. But, it doesn’t have to be. There is potential to redesign your system error page and transform it into a platform that benefits your brand.
For most sites, the 404 Error page is implemented to notify visitors that the page you are looking for does not exist or the URL they were looking to access was incorrect.
Consequently, most companies overlook the possibility of the error page serving as a lead generator that increases conversions, sales and revenue.
With the right implementation of SEO efforts, creative design, and appealing images onto your error page, it is foreseeable to turn your lost visitors into loyal customers. A traditional 404 Error page not only leaves your visitors frustrated, it also leads to a higher bounce rate, lower website rankings, inferior conversion rates and a poor user experience. Though it is often overlooked by most websites, investing some resources to create an outstanding 404 Error page can prove worthwhile.
Instead of leaving your visitors confused and stranded, design your 404 page to guide your visitors into action. For example suggest that they subscribe to a blog or newsletter, download an eBook, or visit another page on the site they may enjoy. The power of suggestion will work wonders here. While creating a positive brand impression, you can also redirect them to where you want them to go. Send them to the site homepage or to another page you want to increase traffic on, for instance, a new product or sale. The goal of the page is to redirect the customer rather than lose them to another site or search. Point them in the right direction to follow and they are more likely to do so.
In the eCommerce world, every visitor matters. Ensure they do not leave your page the best way you can. This is a simple fix, but the results can prove invaluable.
Here are 6 specific examples of companies that have wisely redesigned their 404 pages and in turn are reaping the benefits. Use these as inspiration but individually evaluate your companies needs and goals first. You do not want to stray from your mission statement here.
Simplicity, branding, and distraction are the keys here. Lego uses the phrase “Sorry, we can’t find that page! It might be an old link or maybe it moved.” However, it is in very small print and found at the bottom of the page. What stands out are the lego men themselves. Their costumes and playful actions bolster the brand and products into your mind while distracting you from the fact the page could not be found.
Amazon houses nearly 6,000 dogs at their Seattle headquarters and they introduce you to some of their four-legged friends here. They turn what is traditionally a boring and undesirable message into one that can be interpreted joyfully (hopefully you’re a dog person).
While distracting you from the page error, they are able to suggest visiting the homepage or search for the item you coveted directly from the top. This maximizes the chance of customer retainment and provides entertainment value at once.
3. Gypsy Outfitters
Showcasing your featured products and main categories on 404 error page is an amazing idea that is beautifully executed by an eCommerce brand Gypsy Outfitters. Highlighting the places you want your customers to go and enjoy on the 404 page is an effective way to guide your visitors to the most popular destinations of your website and thus increase your bottom line.
Other than the bright shade of pink, what separates this error page is the brand’s inclusion of a coupon right on the page. This transforms a frustrating event into a reward for the customer. The brand maintains the customer’s attention with the code and sequentially motivates them to buy something(s) on the site.
The 404 page can be turned into a lead generation machine as well. This company encourages its users to provide their email addresses in order to receive newsletters, promotions, and exclusive deals. This emailing list will give you extra opportunities to show off your product catalog and bring them back to the site for repeat purchases.
6. Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus intelligently formatted a sitemap that guides its users to keep moving and find the product they are looking for. Rather than listing products through pictures, they allow for easy navigation to any product category you may be looking for. The background is subtle yet elegant and provides support to their simple setup.
Each of these examples uses a different yet specific strategy to achieve their goals. Every company is unique, use this guide to evaluate and fortify the buying experience for your customers.