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4/19/2010
01:46 PM
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How The Top 10 E-Commerce Sites Close Sales

New data and a free eBook about the leading e-commerce sites delves into how the most successful sites keep their conversion rates higher than Amazon.com

New data and a free eBook about the leading e-commerce sites delves into how the most successful sites keep their conversion rates higher than Amazon.comIt's obvious, that closing deals is crucial to business survival. For high-touch deals, there's as much alchemy to it as science. By contract, with e-commerce there's not much that's hidden behind the curtain. For businesses relying on an e-commerce site to generate revenue, boosting conversion rate is everything and the obvious place to look for models is other e-commerce sites that are successful.

  1. Research just out from Nielsen and the online shopping cart recovery service SeeWhy, makes it easy to go look at some top performing examples. Based on six months of Nielsen data June 2009-November 2009), the SeeWhy rankings review websites with at least five million unique visitors per month. The conversion rate in these rankings is based upon the ration of site visitors to purchasers in a given session. Here's the top 10:
  2. Schwans (food) 41.7%
  3. ProFlowers (flowers) 26.5%
  4. Vitacost.com (health and nutrition) 24.0%
  5. Woman Within (catalog/clothing) 22.4%
  6. Blair.com (catalog/clothing) 20.5%
  7. Lands End (catalog/clothing) 19.5%
  8. DrsFosterSmith.com (pet supplies) 18.6%
  9. Office Depot (office) 18.4%
  10. Roamans (catalog/clothing) 18.4%
  11. QVC (jewelry) 18.3%

For comparison sake consider that Amazon has a conversion of 16.5% based upon this measurement methodology. Commenting on the data, SeeWhy founder and chief strategy officer Charles Nicholls said, E-commerce teams have an understandable fascination with the top 10 converting websites. As a group, the top 10 convert approximately 10 times more visitors than most e-commerce websites. Unexpectedly, four out of the top five converting websites force a full registration before purchase. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom which suggests that a full registration reduces your website conversion rate. Rather, the top 10 focus on capturing visitor details up front and building a relationship spanning many years of repeat sales.

Simply taking a tour of these sites to examine the purchasing flow is a good start in replicating their success, but it helps to have some analysis of what is working for them. Conveniently, SeeWhy has done the legwork on that. The key pattern the firm identified was a focus on facilitating a lifetime of transactions rather than the initial sale. Other observations include:

  • 9 out of the 10 have a catalog
  • 9 out of the 10 do not offer free shipping
  • 8 out of 10 offer a simple sign up on their home page
  • 4 out of the top 5 force a full registration before a first purchase
  • 10 out of 10 use remarketing
  • 9 out of 10 offer a 1-800 number on their homepage

SeeWhy is offering more analysis and observations about this data in form of a free eBook available today (registration is required). Visit SeeWhy for more information or a copy of Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites.

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