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Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate: January 2008

By Bryan Eisenberg
March 13th, 2008

Here it is, the list of January’s top 10 converting retail sites*…

1. LL Bean.com – 23.6%
2. J Jill – 19.8%
3. Proflowers – 17.8%
4. Office Depot – 17.8%
5. Drugstore.com – 17.3%
6. Coldwater Creek- 15.6%
7. CDW – 15.0%
8. Chadwicks.com – 15.0%
9. Bose.com – 14.9%
10. eBay – 14.9%

Several new sites made the list that we didn’t see in December, November, or October.  Wish you were one of them? Learn how an OnTarget subscription can help get you on your way.

LL Bean tops the charts with an impressive 23.6% conversion rate. They had the same conversion rate during the holiday season. They must have had some great campaigns this month. (If you have screen shots, please let me know.)

I can’t wait to see those February results. I imagine we’ll see some influence from Valentine’s Day on retailers’ conversion rates.

. .

*Source: Nielsen Online / Marketing Charts

[Editor's Note: Our original report on the top-converting sites for January 2007 mistakenly credited a previous year's data. It seems a fellow blogger cited outdated numbers and we overlooked the error during fact check. Bryan stands by his analysis, however, as it was not intended to be time sensitive or bound to any particular retailers' performance.]

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Comments (12)

  1. [...] Note: The following report on the top-converting sites for January 2007 has been corrected, as it mistakenly credits the previous year's data. It seems a fellow blogger cited outdated [...]

  2. I don’t see how eBay could be on this list. The biggest complaint people seem to have with the site is how cluttered it is. Maybe I’m missing something.

  3. I have to share Michelle’s skepticism. I assume a “conversion” on eBay must include bidding on or listing an item, not actually making the winning bid and buying the product. A power user who lists dozens of items a day may have 50% conversion, if they use a looser definition.

    The rates across the industry leaders are certainly interesting and impressive, but I worry that we’re starting to make the same mistake with conversion that we’ve made with other metrics (impressions, click-through, page views, etc.) and view it out of context.

    Total non-sequitir, but I really enjoyed your webcast with the GWO team the other day.

  4. I am not sure how Nielson is calculating the metric for eBay. I’m just reporting what they released. However, i’ll try to find out.

    Thank you Dr Pete for the kind words.

  5. Anyone know how are these conversion rates are calculated? Are they visitors vs sales conversions? Or are they carts vs sales conversions?

  6. Sorry… totally screwed that up. Too much coffee. Anyone know how these conversion rates are calculated?

  7. I’m sure it’s all self-reported and methodologies vary. eBay is undoubtedly counting bids. More importantly IMHO, you can’t compare broad conversion rates across diverse sites. You need to narrow down types of conversion.

    Other than ebay, the fact that Bose makes this list impresses me because it can be argued that all of the other sites feature broad catalogs in categories that encourage reordering by repeat customers. If you target repeat customers and easy reordering, then you absolutely should expect higher conversion rates than a site which is more acquisition-oriented.

    I have always tried to distinguish measurement of acquisition conversion vs. customer conversion by segmenting all visitors in this manner. That way you are measuring apples to apples, as well as better isolating the impact of your marketing campaigns.

  8. I’ve seen these ‘top ten best converting…’ things posted on Grok in the past and have always been sceptical about them.

    Are we really to believe that 1 in every 4 visitors to LLBean’s website buys something? I strongly doubt it.

  9. I am still trying to find more about how Nielson defines their conversion (is it session based or unique visitor based) metrics. I do know that it is not self reported but more likely based on their million plus panel participants. The key to these metrics is that they use the same methodology month after month.

  10. [...] Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate: January 2008 [...]

  11. [...] Last month, I wondered if we would see any Valentine’s day influence to this month’s list. What do you think? [...]

  12. Do you have any idea if, apart from strictly sales, the conversion rate they calculated takes into account also the returns? Because we can easily make a fashion website with a high conversion rate (classic sales/visitors), but what if the returns are high? Do we still consider that all we have to do is sell, or we take into consideration only those sales that have no product returns?

    Especially in the fashion industry, the return rate is quite high, so 23.6% conversion rate may seem high for an “average”, but may be misleading. The difference is huge though between no 1 and no 2 from the top provided and I don’t really think that 1 out of 4 people that visited the website… were also satisfied.

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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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