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Friday, Apr. 24, 2009 at 5:53 am

Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate: March 2009

By Bryan Eisenberg
April 24th, 2009

Here are the top 10 converting websites for March 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 50.5
2. FTD 27.2
3. ProFlowers 24.3
4. Vitacost.com 23.7
5. Woman Within 22.7
6. Roaman’s 21.1
7. ColdWater Creek 20.0
8. Eddie Bauer 19.3
9. Blair.com 20.20
10. QVC 17.30

*Source: Nielsen Online / Marketing Charts

Additional March Retail Benchmarks:

The online retail sector in general registered an encouraging increase in ecommerce activities in March 2009 compared to February 2009 (month over month) but down compared to March 2008 (year over year).

Consumers who shopped online in March purchased nearly 12.0 percent more items compared to the previous month, while the average dollar value increased by more than 4.0 percent, suggesting that not only were consumers buying more items online, they were actually spending more money on average than they had just the month before.

Unsurprisingly, year-over-year retail metrics for March remain down across the board compared to March 2008. The average number of items per order, average order value and shopping cart conversion all fell significantly—8.1 percent, 6.3 percent and 3.4 percent respectively—compared to March 2008.

Page Views Per Session 11.39
Average Time on Site (in seconds) 476.13
Average Items/Order 5.82
Average Order Value $143.93
Shopping Cart Conversion Rate 34.52%
Shopping Cart Abandonment 65.48%

* 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 (32)

  1. Interesting to see such a low shopping cart conversion rate. I’ve experienced similar rates with very complex financial investment products. You’d expect a much higher conversion rate for these types of products.

  2. Well i’ve read that the standard conversion rate for an average retailer is only 2%.

    So it seems to be about increasing traffic to increase the odds of a purchase.

  3. Good to see that despite the recession some companies can keep up 50% Conversions…
    These days hardly we can see websites with more than 15-20% conversion rate

  4. One thing I like is to look at how other websites that are successful are doing things. Layout, design, etc….

  5. 50% conversion? 50% of ALL visitors? Or 50% of people who enter the shopping cart? How is that big “The Apprentice” banner helping Schwan’s convert?

  6. @ Chris – I’d actually argue the exact opposite of what you are saying. If it was only about driving traffic, I’m sure you’d see other bigger names/companies with larger budgets on Bryan’s list. To me, it seems these companies are focusing on improving the conversion rates of their existing traffic. If you have a 2% conversion rate and you double your traffic, chances are your sales will increase, but you’ll still be converting (approx) 2%.

  7. @Kevin
    Didn’t really look at it that way. You definitely have a point.

  8. Josh : Out of all visitors who placed items in their shopping carts, this is the percentage that went on to place an order.

  9. Actually, I believe as traffic increases, you actually see a downgrade in conversion rate. That’s because most traffic generation brings more, but lower quality, traffic. Anyone that scoffs at these conversion rates probably doesn’t have much experience selling online. They are AMAZING. I would kill for a conversion rate in the neighborhood of what those sites are getting. Almost unbelievable, actually…!

  10. Ditto to Ryan and Kevin’s responses to Chris’s remarks. If your conversion rate is low, you certainly want to focus first on content and website usability sticking points and how to improve conversion rates for existing traffic. However, it’s also worth looking closer at your traffic and trying to discern whether this is actually qualified traffic for your website. Perhaps you need to develop some other strategies to drive traffic that’s more interested in buying.

    Also, interesting on the shopping cart note. – how many of these turn into phone call orders and the person was really just researching but not ready to buy online? Successful still perhaps despite shopping cart abandonment?

  11. Conversion is not just about traffic it is about qualified traffic which is accurate optimization

  12. what do you mean by “toolbar”?

    i am familiar with Nielsen Online’s tracking products and there is no use of a toolbar.

  13. [...] Top 10 Online Retailers by Conversion Rate: March 2009 [...]

  14. [...] example, if you look at the top converting retail websites, one of the key reasons they have such high conversion rates (way above 3%) is their intense focus [...]

  15. 1. Schwan’s 50.5

    Conversion Rate more than 50%, it is too crazy, my site is less than 1%.

  16. I agree with Larry.

    You can get a lot of “browser”-traffic (from e.g. social websites) – but what you want is the searcher/buyer-traffic (from the search engines).

  17. Schwans definitely have a great ratio. It seems hard to believe from 55 hits, 50 customers. Excellent stuff no doubt they want to retain that number 1 spot.
    Henal

  18. I checked the first two sites they all have very high page rankings which I guess is part of the reason the people are getting there in the first place, of course the conversion rate to customers must mean good product or service.

  19. I checked the first two sites they all have very high page rankings which I guess is part of the reason the people are getting there in the first place, of course the conversion rate to customers must mean good product or service.

  20. Wow, there are some interesting sites on that list. I shop a lot online and have not purchase a single item from any of those stores. I wonder what makes them so great?

  21. I have personally thought “Schwan’s” is the most popular retailer online.

  22. checked the first two sites they all have very high page rankings which I guess is part of the reason the people are getting there in the first place, of course the conversion rate to customers must mean good product or service.

  23. I have personally thought “Schwan’s” is the most popular retailer online.

  24. Most of the highest rated sites are around 20% conversion. I looked at a few and am shocked at the high conversion rates, especially the vitamin website. I was so overwhelmed by the homepage.

  25. With the rising sales tax rates, it makes sense for online programs to add more consistent business. Affiliate programs help too.

  26. Page Views Per Session 11.39
    Average Time on Site (in seconds) 476.13
    Average Items/Order 5.82
    Average Order Value $143.93
    Shopping Cart Conversion Rate 34.52%
    Shopping Cart Abandonment 65.48%

    These are great, almost unbelievable numbers!

  27. Ecommerce teams have an understandable fascination with the top ten converting websites. While most websites convert 2 or 3 percent of their visitors to a purchase in the same session, some websites are able to achieve much higher levels. In this study, the top 10 converting websites averaged 23 percent, with a range between 18 and 42 percent.

  28. [...] Visitors/Customers to your site in average it is reportedly 2% The best cases link If you know better research I would be interested to see it as well __________________ [...]

  29. These % numbers are meaningless as we all look at conversion rates based on total visitors divided by your key goal. Not of how many people entered the cart, how many completed the order – while this is important, it’s not “conversion rate”. Might want to call that out in this article more clearly.

  30. Conversion is not just about traffic it is about qualified traffic which is accurate optimization

  31. I’m surprised that QVC is only number 10 on the list as you would expect most visitors are going there with a specific thought to purchase (or maybe they go to website then phone?)

  32. Schwans definitely have a great ratio. It seems hard to believe from 55 hits, 50 customers. Excellent stuff no doubt they want to retain that number 1 spot.

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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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