Page attrition – a universal constant?

There are many constants in life, some are familiar and expected, others are strange and surprising.
I have long become accustomed to seeing email open rates of around 20%, but there is one metric that, if not surprising, always makes me think…

…page attrition.

Page attrition is the rate at which customers drop out of viewing paginated results. And no matter what site, or which products are being viewed, the attrition rate inevitably hovers around the 50% mark. That is to say, if 100 people view page one, only 50 view page two and 25 page three etc.

Why does this make me think? Well, if you regularly have categories (or search results) that span multiple pages why would you ever tolerate entirely static ordering? But this is what the majority of ecommerce site have – categories whose product ordering rarely changes or search results whose ranking is arbitrarily tied to product titles and descriptions, which never change.

Are retailers really happy adopting ranking methods that guarantee some products never get seen?

/Michael Mokhberi