What 404 page is?
The devil is in the details. And, 404 or not Found page is one of the details that you have to keep in mind when creating designs for your online store. The main purpose of the 404 page is to inform your visitors that the page they are looking for does not exist, at least not under that specified URL.
Imagine the scenario: From time to time a repeat customer buys a specific product from your online store, a perfume, for example. To avoid navigating through the site, he saves the link to that perfume or remembers the link by heart and types it into the browser. But all of a sudden you stop selling that product and even remove the page, and the customer lands on the 404 page. Without a doubt, this is a really frustrating experience. However, there isn’t much you can do to avoid this kind of situation, so let’s find a smart way to make that experience a bit more pleasant by suggesting some solutions.
Most of the shopping carts have default 404 pages. If you’ll look at the default 404 page in Magento 2, you’ll discover that Magento designers took care of comforting customers who land on this page by suggesting several options: to go back to the previous page, to use search on top of the page, or to go to the home page or the customer account section.
Though the default page is fine and you can use it as is, there is no “soul” in it. To be more specific, there’s no branded message in it, it doesn’t look like it belongs to the site in terms of design, and it doesn’t navigate customers to the sections that are important to your business etc. With this in mind, no wonder most brands customize their 404 pages.
So, if you want to improve on the standard 404 page that your shopping cart offers, or if you build a custom site that has no default template at all, consider the following
Suggestions for creating effective 404 page:
Apply the similar look
The page should look similar to your website. If your website color scheme is white-orange-black, the 404 should be created in the same colors and hues. If you use squares as design elements throughout all pages, the 404 should also be decorated with squares and not with circles.
Most likely the visitor unintentionally arrived at this page and, they’re far from happy when the realize what this means. The least you can do is apologize and calm visitors a bit with apologies like our client Ahmad did. The magic is in one sentence:
Include the search
Prominently placed search fields may save you a deal when customers fall on the 404 page. It gives them the ability to find the required page, since the page they were looking for might still exist, but have a different url, or be the result of a user induced typo. It also may help customers to find some other alternatives among your products and content.
With our client Myzdegree we went even further. Since we developed custom search functionality for the site allowing tire search options by vehicle, brand, and performance, we’ve placed all of this search options on the 404 page.
Place a contact form
It’s an intuitive idea to create a form in which the customer can write what they wanted to do before arriving at the 404 page. Or to share the pain of not finding the right page.
Spice the page with some humor
Using humor is an excellent trick to appease your customers. Practice shows that the 404 error page that amuses the customer gives the site a chance to rehabilitate and ensure the customer doesn’t go to another site. If the brandvoice allows you, add some humor to the page.
Offer your best products
Introducing some prominent products may work effectively for you, especially if there are some stars in your product catalog beloved by customers. Ahmad did a great job by featuring some of their teas right away on the 404 page. For them this strategy worked perfectly.
Follow the principle “less is more”
Germans have a really great expression “Qual der Wahl” that means “agony of choice”. By offering too many options, you may overwhelm your customers. There will be no other option for them but to leave your site and find a more streamlined store to do their shopping. The page should be as clear and simple as possible.
In conclusion, if you are not sure what will work best for your 404 page, try to A/B test. Create two variations of the page and find out which of the options is more effective in terms of customer engagement and sales. If some professional advice is needed, drop us a line. Our Magento designers can help with creating outstanding 404 page experiences.