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Friday, Feb. 20, 2009 at 7:42 am

Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate: January 2009

By Bryan Eisenberg
February 20th, 2009

Here are the top 10 converting websites for January 2009*. These are based on Nielson Panel data and are calculated by toolbar user to final conversion. Conversion-rate data is based on visitor conversion rates, not session conversion rates: i.e., No. of unique customers/No. of unique visitors.

1. Schwan’s 52.50
2. ProFlowers 27.30
3. Quixtar 22.40
4. 21.80
5. Office Depot 21.10
6. 20.40
7. 20.30
8. 20.20
9. Amazon 17.20
10. CDW 16.90

*Source: Nielsen Online / Marketing Charts

This month big surprise came from first time on this list Schwan’s. Not sure if everyone should themselves compare to online grocery merchants.

Additional January Retail Benchmarks:

January was a month of casual browsing but limited buying across the online retail sector. The number of sessions in which consumers actually completed an order was down sharply by 21%.  Specialty retailers reported a 56 percent drop in order sessions, the largest decrease of any retail category tracked by Coremetrics.

Page Views Per Session 11.83
Product Page Views Per Session 3.24
Average Time on Site (in seconds) 504.59
Average Items/Order 5.95
Average Order Value $132.57
Shopping Cart Conversion Rate 33.80%
Shopping Cart Abandonment 66.20%
New Visitor Conversion Rate 2.02%
On-site Search Session 17.94%

* Source: Coremetrics LIVEmark Benchmarks US (PDF) – UK benchmarks PDF available.

Coremetrics LIVEmark leverages aggregate performance data across more than 300 participating brands to deliver over 35 benchmark metrics addressing performance indicators such as campaign and channel effectiveness, site stickiness and conversion rates.

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Comments (50)

  1. Most of the list isn’t much of a surprise (i.e. flower merchants), but its amazing that both Schwans and the Vitacost site, which seems to break most “rules” of clean landing page design with all the clutter around their antioxidant CTA, is able to convert at all, let alone make the Top 10.

  2. Interesting schwan’s coming in first! they do have good food… ice cream is delicious that’s probably why!

    It’s impulsive when you get to the site! everything looks so yummy your dancing to your wallet to get the old credit card!

  3. [...] spotted a post by Bryan Eisenberg at FutureNow listing the top 10 online retailers by conversion rate. First of all – I was pleased to see three SLI customers in the list – FTD, and Drs [...]

  4. 52,5% conversion rate is insane.

    What happened to the other 47.5%

    Seriously though that is truly excellent.

    Here’s an idea for you – I think you should have a Grok Golden Funnel award for the best-converting online retailer each year. (must be verifiable, naturally)

  5. [...] zijn van invloed op mijn aankoopgedrag als het om dit soort producten gaat. Een andere bron is dit artikel, waarin de top-10 lijst van meest converterende shops in Amerika voor januari 2009 terug te vinden [...]

  6. Fantastic PR for those sites’ affiliate programs.

    BTW, do you remember Jakob Nielsen writing that he expected sites to top 10% conversion rate in a decade, in an article from 2001-2004 ish? He was talking about industry averages, and things topping out around 10%, of course, so these leaders are exceptional, but I’m amazed at how high it can get…

  7. Wow very interesting. Always like to see who is converting and who isn’t.

  8. Very interesting to read and a 52% conversion rate is insane, no matter how good their food is. Where would I be able to find out similar stats for the Travel sector – ideally holiday companies not flights.

  9. [...] the top 10 online retailers, as measured by conversion rate, are reported on FutureNow’s GrokDotCom Marketing Optimization Blog. These are some pretty impressive numbers and industry leaders like and [...]

  10. wow! those are the kind of rates you would expect from a targeted email campaign… I wonder what is the value of the items bought, if you are getting those rates but its costing you $20 to drive a $10 sale it is not sustainable.

    I would be interested to see Google Checkout or iTunes on the list, I would imagine these maybe quite high.

  11. A conversion rate of 52.5% begs the question, is this really a valuable metric? I shop for groceries online, but I only ever go to the website if I want to buy something, never to browse or price compare – they should have a 100% conversion rate.
    As david said above, it would be more interesting to see their marketing ROI.

  12. I’m being completely pessimistic in saying I’d question the volume of visitors and market reach… I could start a niche website, market it to a small group of highly targetted consumers and aim for at least 50% conversion… however (and I’m from the UK so excuse the ignorance) I only recognise Amazon and Office Depot as brands. I expect they attract bigger volumes of traffic. However, there is also an art in actually making a website work and convert so for those hitting 15% and upwards on the list are still performing above average!

  13. I’d love to have some conversion rates like that someday…I will say this though, as the economy is getting tougher the websites that really understand their online strategy are doing even better today than ever before. From what I’m guessing their competitors who don’t really get it, have cut back on their overall budgets, including the area’s that were working previously, but are unaware.

  14. Wow. This is very interesting to see. I’ll have to look all these sites over and see if I can find things they’re doing right. I’m guessing some of these have to do with branding. I imagine most people going to Schwans may already be in buying mode. On the other hand I’m surprised that Amazon is so good because personally I use the site for research frequently.

  15. [...] stuitte op de 10 beste webwinkels op basis van conversie. Natuurlijk is de nr 1. met een conversiepercentage van over de 50% meer als indrukwekkend. Kun je [...]

  16. Depesh: They are all pretty large brands. Schwans holds a lot of smaller brands, Proflowers has been topping conversion charts for years, Quixar is, of course, Amway, and so on. Also the methodology demanded 500,000 (five hundred thousand, for the European readers) or more unique visitorsa month, and the conversion was calculated as unique visitors to unique customers.

  17. These figures are real??

  18. [...] rate?” People love to benchmark themselves against others. Every month we publish the top 10 converting retail web sites and additional benchmarks here on [...]

  19. [...] rate?” People love to benchmark themselves against others. Every month we publish the top 10 converting retail web sites and additional benchmarks here on [...]

  20. [...] reading an article by Future Now Inc. (leaders in conversion optimization) that mentioned the top 10 converting online retailers for Jan 2009. Pro Flowers was on that list — and given that flowers are a great product for [...]

  21. I have never seen conversion rate that high like that.

  22. Can’t quite believe that Schwan’s website has a conversion rate that high, that’s incredible. As mentioned above though, some of the pictures of their food does have you reaching for your wallet almost straight away!


  23. Wow, where did Schwan’s come from?! Are impulse decisions for ice cream that great during this market crash?

  24. Where is it possible to find the most recent information? Would be very interesting to see how the trends are flowing now with the last 7 months behind us.

  25. The interesting review. Did not expect such to see.

  26. Seriously, how do you get a conversion rate of 54%, you must either have the best known brand in the world or have an amazingly unique market. I would be interested though!

  27. I believe most of the converted visitors were returning visitors. They come to the site with a goal in mind, to buy.

  28. OK I am going to be the dark horse here…

    1. First off these are top 10 Retail sites of fairly major companies with marketing budgets and brand awareness.

    2. Schwans, Quixtar, Office Depot would be good examples of a returning customer base buying out of habit. I know we ALL want to hook a customer for life (like these guys do)… but you want some harder to reach conversion eyeballs.

    3. I like the CDW and Amazon numbers the best. Why so? Because for software/hardware – there’s A LOT of websites out there. The same with Amazon (which pretty much sells everything). So the market has alternate choices and chooses to go with you.

    Unlike say groceries online, you could shop around but the price difference isn’t that significant, groceries are part of a habit activity versus say buying digital cameras or software…

  29. Well I think that it is quite nice to make such studies into conversion data.

  30. I’m shocked to see CDW on that list. didn’t think they did that good.

  31. Just a couple of observations,

    1. I once read that B&M have a 49% average conversion rate
    2. Schwan’s is a membership site for mostly re-orders (kinda takes the wind out of the 52.5% conversion rate)
    3. CDW: Take a look at the best sellers, some are priced at $0.30 to 0.70 (Data Labels) still at over 200k a month in visitors that could be a lot of labels.

  32. If I could just get a 10% conversion rate I would be fat and happy. Anytime I see high rates there is usually something out of the ordinary.

  33. Hmm great datas, goog for think about it, it may help me with deciding where put my effort. Thank for the chart!

  34. It’s very easy to fake unique visitors. SEO “experts” do it all the time to fool their paying clients

  35. @ 6 is a big shock. More then Amazon..Wow

  36. Maybe i live under a rock, but i never heard of Schwans

  37. Some solid numbers to say the least. Not surprising, though, that search traffic does so well. Good stuff!

  38. It’s not surprising to see that order percentage was down 21%. The economy isn’t doing well and Christmas just passed.

  39. Wow, these are truly some great sites and I bet they are known worldwide. I also believe that they have great conversion rate so we can learn from them in the future.

  40. You do see that this report is over a year old. See Jan 2010 report at

  41. I’m also going to blog about that. Your time isn’t going to waste with your posts.

  42. Wow. At Schwan’s a very high conversion. And their data is reliable?

  43. it is not surprising, judging from the reputation and coversion made

  44. I’m surprised Amazon was at the bottom of the list. That’s an amazing conversion rate for Schwan’s they must highly target their customers.

  45. Seriously, how do you get a conversion rate of 54%, you must either have the best known brand in the world or have an amazingly unique market. I would be interested though!

  46. It’s very easy to fake unique visitors. SEO “experts” do it all the time to fool their paying clients

  47. Quite impressive. The top ones are offering very specific products, I guess it is easier if you have your niche and your returning customers!

  48. I am curious to see 2011 figures.. do you have them available?

  49. check out this article

  50. Thanks for that interesting list. It is pretty much the same for this year I think.

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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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