Case Study: How Can You Prevent 404 Error Pages from Affecting Your Conversions?

We noticed a high number of browse abandonments (high bounce rate) on Google Analytics from 404 error pages on this retailer’s website. During heuristic analysis, we saw that the website had a bunch of landing pages that led to 404 error pages.

While this was a problem in itself, another key issue was that the 404 page had no further actions for a user to do if they landed on the page. There was no information on how to proceed or a link or path for the user to follow from there.

Additionally, the entire above-the-fold area was taken up by an indicatory “lost” image. So, users were leaving the page after seeing the ‘page not found’ message and the giant image, without paying attention to the main menu from where they could, technically, browse the site.

Hypothesis and Psychological Technique Applied

We hypothesised that if we redesign the 404 error page to include some directions the users can take from there, we would be able to retain users and keep them engaged with the site.


We reduced the size of the indicatory image and added text next to it telling users to “try using the categories below to find what you need”. Under this, we added links to the most popular categories on the site and also a link to go back to the homepage.

404 page optimisation


404 page optimisation



From the observed data, we were able to see that the Variation showed a high probability of being better than the Control, especially for returning users on desktop. Bounce rates decreased, and the number of transactions and average order values increased.


A 404 page that goes nowhere is a disappointment in customer journey. Give users reasons to stay on your site and they will, and some might even go on to complete a transaction. Even pages that apparently have no impact on conversions can be used to increase sales.

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