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Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007 at 8:37 pm

Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate 9/2007

By Bryan Eisenberg
November 6th, 2007 – 29.4% – 25.9&
Roamans – 21.4%
QVC – 19.7%
Talbots – 17%
Lane Bryant Catalog – 16.7%
LL Bean – 16.6% – 16.2%
Office Depot – 16.2%
Lands End – 15.7%

Source: Nielsen/NetRatings

Tell me why your goal isn’t a 10% conversion rate…

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Comments (15)

  1. Talbots? Lane Bryant? Wow — I guess if you do it by conversion that is probably correct…the only people going to those sites must know what they want to buy!

  2. Wow! From being nowhere in sight in 7/2007, that’s a huge change for What do you think they did differently that reflected the change in just two months?

  3. What is their definition of a conversion? A sale? Newsletter subscription? Someone who clicks on the contact us page? A bookmark? Free registration?

  4. Yeah, I want to know the definition of conversion in this case…

  5. This list is practically meaningless. Aside from the obvious what is a conversion issue the other comments have raised, there are 2 other massive problems.
    1) How to the sites generate traffic? Do they advertise on head level terms in the major engines. For the most part I doubt it. These are seemingly sites with an established user base that they leverage online. This is different than your average ecommerce site trying to pedal wares to new faces through wide focus advertising. It would be much more helpful to see a study of sites in the same field with similar promotional techniques (if the purpose is to understand how to get your site to convert).
    2) Nielsen / Netrating data is terrible. Their technique for generalizing general web trends from a small set of users just doesn’t work in many industries. Their data is quasi directional at best, seems way weaker than other services like hitwise for example.

  6. I disagree with the assessment that the list is practically meaningless as I’m not convinced that brand loyalty is the single most important decision-making factor of the consumer when making an online purchase (Forrester has conducted research which disputes the power of brand loyalty for online shoppers – see the April 26, 2007 article “Building Lasting Customer Loyalty”).

    And I’m not sure that it is necessary to understand what defines a conversion. While that would be interesting information to know, I think what is important to know about these conversions is that the transaction being measured is consistent across all the study participants.

    MORE important in my mind is whether the conversion being measured is a core function of the website or was identified as a critical path by the business. For example, if the site was developed to be a sales engine but the study was measuring email inquiries, then I would suggest that the website has failed in its core purpose and these companies have some work to do with respect to the Customer Experience and Usability.

    Assuming that what is being measured are conversions from online browsers or shoppers to buyers, then I think that the conversion rates are pretty astounding. The owners of these sites have clearly put forth time and effort into improving the Usability of their websites and enhancing the Customer Experience and that effort is paying dividends by reducing abandonment rates and improved conversions.

  7. I have to admit, I’m surprised that is number one…

  8. I also think its pretty much meaningless but intersting.

    To make a usefull comparison, you’d have to be looking at an ‘all else equal’ situation. Or at leat an ‘all else similar’ If your conversion is a $5 sale and you traffic source is an offline advertising campaign (resulting in type-in traffic) then your conversion rate will be higher then a $500 sale converting a generic keyword searcher.

    To make the list meaninglful at all you’d need to have similar products with similar traffic sources.

  9. Maybe I’m unromantic but on the 3 occasions I have ever entered a flower shop I had already decided to buy flowers. My only interest was what could I afford that I liked and deemed appropriate? The chances of them not having anything? Slim to none. Chances of me deciding to go elsewhere? Virtually the same – only a rude shop assistant or such would get me to leave without a fistfull of flowers. As such these examples offer little to me beyond reinforcing my belief that surfers do actually have Visa cards :o ) Or at least those that visit flower sites do.

  10. Interesting information.

    However I wonder if anyone has ever looked at conversion rate of expert’s knowledge. Expert’s information or knowledge is not like selling a tangeable product. Take for example healthcare information. people need that. How many of us know enough about healthcare to really figure out what a doctor has expalined us in a visit? Even if the information provided is very basic, not many. However for online conversion there need to be some things to make the consumer feel good a bout such a transaction. We are working very hard on that at I wonder what you think are some of these additional elements.

  11. With one interesting quick glance, something jumps out at me. The vast majority of the companies on the list have a different channel other than a retail store that drives their core business. For example, QVC with TV and LL Bean and Lands End with catalog.

    I would like to see the conversion rates segmented by users that use the the catalog quick shop functions vs. all/other segments. I’d bet (and I’m not a betting man) that a tremendous amount of the coversion rate elevation is driven by the other channels.

  12. I am not surprised 1800flowers is first because of what Smufty say… when you go to buy flowers most people have already made the decision to buy flowers.

    I also think the data is relevant if you only want to know how those top 10 companies are doing compared to each other. However, if you are wanting to know how your company is doing compared to these companies, you need to know what makes up that conversion rate.

  13. [...] these results with those from September and July. Technorati Tags: conversion rates, Ecommerce, Nielsen, Nielsen/NetRatings, [...]

  14. They are all some fantastic conversion rates, if we could all have that we would all be much happier.

  15. [...] Looking for a search engine marketing benchmark? Select from this list of the Top 10 Retailers by Conversion Rate. [...]

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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