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Top 10 eCommerce websites (by conversion rate)

Posted in A/B Split Testing, Multivariate Testing on November 23rd, 2010

The Nielson Company regularly releases data for conversion rate of different websites via its MegaView Retail service. The data (as of March 2010) for top 10 online retails by conversion rate is analyzed in this post. The objective of this list is to give you an idea about to what extent these retailers have been able to optimize their conversion rates.

Top 10 websites with highest conversion rate

Note the eligibility criteria for this list: To be considered, e-commerce sites must have had a minimum of 500K unique visitors during the month. Conversion-rate data is based on visitor conversion rates, not session conversion rates: i.e., No. of unique customers/No. of unique visitors.

Schwan’s: 40.6% conversion rate

Schwans.com is an online grocery store and food delivery business. A conversion rate of 40.6% sounds too good to be real but Schwan’s is an old company which started home deliveries of food in 1952. So, it has a good brand name as far as food delivery is concerned and now most of its customers are simply visiting the website to order the food they want. No wonder, conversion rate is so high!

Woman Within: 25.3% conversion rate

Woman Within offers Plus Sized clothing for women. Note their laser-sharp focus: “plus sized clothing for women” which (combined with large collection and clean site design) is probably the reason for high conversion rate.

Blair.com: 20.4% conversion rate

Blair.com sells clothing online. Just like Schwan’s, Blair.com is also a very old business (started in 1910!). So it has brand and customer base already established and the website serves as a channel for ordering.

1800petmeds.com: 17.7% conversion rate

As its name says, 1800petmeds.com sells pet medication. This eCommerce store is a perfect example of focusing on a niche. I bet they would never see such high conversion rate, if they attempted to sell everything related to pets (food, clothes, grooming products, etc.) The focus of store is pet medication and that’s the reason conversion rate is high. Also note that they have an extensive mini-site on Pet Health education, which probably drives them numerous targeted prospective customers.

Vitacost.com: 16.4% conversion rate

Online store selling vitamin supplies. I love the clean sidebar on the left. The website is bit old-schooled and is optimized for IE (that too for a lower screen resolution). They probably get a lot of non-tech savvy visitors so the sidebar would be very helpful for product selection. This shows how focusing on the customer (and not on the design) can help increase your conversion rates.

The rest 5 ecommerce sites (by conversion rate)

Secret of high conversion rates

Of course, there is no secret for such high conversion rates. These companies have been doing conversion rate optimization for years now and one cannot hope to replicate the same overnight. However, looking at the websites above, I can imagine a few general trends on why they have such high conversion rate:

  • Brand Name: many of the websites above are actually an offshoot of already established offline business. And the sites simply serve as a channel to place orders (much like telephone or brick-and-mortar store).
  • Laser-focus on a niche: be it pet-medication, plus sized clothing for women or flower deliveries, high conversion rate is possible if the focus of your site is clear and you are attracting the right kind of prospects.
  • Interested Visitors: a website or a landing page only does half the job in converting a visitor. The other half of job is done by the traffic source. Theoretically, if you send interested visitors who are ready to make a purchase, a website only has show a purchase form. Most of the websites above has a proven formula for getting interested visitors. (e.g. PPC ads, microsites, display ads or partnerships).

Hope you liked the examples and my analysis. Please leave a comment below if you have any other examples of high converting websites.

Paras Chopra

CEO and Founder of Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

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23 Comments
bipin
November 26, 2010

Sorry, if my question is dumb but how do you define and distinguish conversion ratios for repeat and new customers? Or is it not relevant?

I think what old customers want and what new customers want could be very different.

Your insights please?

Paras Chopra
November 27, 2010

Yes, conversion rates (sale per visit) for repeat and new customers are very different (of course). This is aggregated conversion rate and my guess is that it is dominated by new visitor conversion rate (because their numbers will b probably much more than repeat visitors).

Thomas Clausen
December 1, 2010

I actually miss more takeaways, on what got these companies to have such great conversion rates. Be it
- choices of color
- placement of items
- use of images
- wording
- etc.

So generally I would love to see you go in-depth with each case, and show us the before/after case :-)

Chandrashekar Reddy
December 2, 2010

Good Conversion rates for e-commerce websites.

Webcamseks
December 5, 2010

How “real” are these rates? Where do the come from?

Ron
December 12, 2010

I agree with Thomas I would like to know more about exact how they got a high conversion rate, their home pages do not look special.

Ben
January 15, 2011

These conversion rates are so high because due to direct traffic/ peopl are going there already with the intent of buying (prime example is QVC)

No doubt a lot of work has gone into optimizing these sites anyhow..

Reaching these rates from ad traffic would be the real trick :)

Xavier Paz
April 24, 2011

Conversion rates are hugely different between repeat customers and non-customers. A customer of mine has a CR over 35% for repeat customers, and below 3% for non-customers. Combined CR is around 5% – they have a lot of new visitors traffic. However, if they did no PPC, no SEO, they would have only repeat customers, and would rank better than most of the sites listed here.
I see that many of these sites are niche-oriented, in sectors that favour repeat orders. So this effect is clearly working here.
So, this ranking is very newsworthy, but also pretty useless, as it says nothing about how the site is really performing. Figures are not comparable, and cannot be benchmarked against.

Jason
June 6, 2011

I would like to have a great conversion percentage like the one in this article :)

David
June 19, 2011

Look at these products: food, vitamins, clothing. these are all repeat purchases, with a high lifetime customer value. You cannot use this data and think your can sell tv’s or jewelry at the same conversion rate due to the nature of the product. Conversion data should be broken out by industry to get a real view of who is doing what great.

It is hard for me to beleive that a frozen entree retailer would convert at 40%.

E-commerce for the current stage of this new concept brought online the new revolution in the world and act as an ideal platform to give your business to find new markets around the world. Buying and selling of goods or services on the Internet has completely changed the direction of the discussions. Now you can advertise, buy or sell products on the site, pay or accept payments online through credit cards and other means of payment online.

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Lawson
August 25, 2011

Wow. Those are some really high conversion rates.

Tom Lambert
September 7, 2011

I’m curious about how much this article lowered that 40% conversion rate from all of the “wtf how” reactions

Paras Chopra
September 8, 2011

@Tom: good one :)

Mike
September 13, 2011

There is no way the women’s apparel website can get anywhere close to that ratio. There is so much scrolling needed and multiple clicks required in order to just get to get something in the cart and into checkout. Once in the cart scrolling is needed as well. Now, if the cart-visits-to-purchase ratio was used rather than total-visits-to-purchase ratio then it is possible.

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Noman Ali
August 30, 2012

Searching for top eCommerce sites and walmart is not here :S

Chris Franco
December 29, 2012

Cool post, but I think we need to know what the desired conversion was for each website. For example, what did the 40.6 of visitors DO (or click) on the Schwan site that constitutes a ‘conversion’. Thanks.

Tom Kosacik
June 26, 2013

I agree with Chris. It would be interesting to know all statistics from these stores. In my opininion conversion rate about 40% is calculated by sign up to website.

James Dowd
September 12, 2013

Hi Paras,

Thanks for the very useful insight. I am having my site re-branded and have taken your point to heart, “…This shows how focusing on the customer (and not on the design) can help increase your conversion rates.”…

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