Here is an interesting study conducted by The Nielsen Company in March 2010. They analyzed the top online retailers and calculated their conversion rates, which was the percentage of unique vistiors that made an online purchase on the given site. The top e-commerce sites ranked by conversions showed huge, almost unheard of conversion rates.

Here are the top 10 online retailers ranked by conversion rate with number one having a massive 40.6% conversion rate:

There are a lot of conversion rate optimization lessons we can learn from these top online retailers. If you run an e-commerce site, here are some tips and takeaways that can help you with your conversions.

Great photos and product descriptions

It’s very important to have great product photos and product descriptions. This is where customers spend most of the time when deciding on the purchase. They look at the photos and zoom in if possible. Great photos and quality product descriptions will help with your conversions and will also create a great user experience for customers.

Don’t waste your time with stock standard photos. Take your own photos and highlight the best features of your product. Use lots of photos and create a real experience for viewers when they look at your products. Think of your product photos and descriptions as a substitute for someone walking into a store and physically looking at the product.

Here’s an example of great product photos. As you can see you can hover your mouse over the photo to show a zoomed in view. This is great for customers who want to look at the finer details of the product.

Ask customers to leave reviews and feedback

A lot of the ecommerce sites in the top 10 converting list allow customers who have bought a product to leave a review. This is a very powerful trust signal as people trust what other people have to say. It works as social proof that the product is either good or bad. As long as you are selling good products this will work really well. Allowing people to see what previous customers have to say reassures potential customers and increases the chances of them converting.

People love discounts and special offers

All of the top 10 converting online retailers have special offers and discounts displayed prominently on their homepage. They know that people love discounts and special offers. Give people what they love and a reason to buy from your online store. Examples of effective discounts and special offers include a percentage storewide discount, free shipping, buy 1 get 1 free, buy this and receive a free gift or even earn special reward points. These offers sweeten the deal and draw customers from competitors while improving your conversions.

At the time of writing this article here are some of the current offers our top 10 converting retailers have.

Urgency drives conversions

Creating a feeling of urgency can help drive conversions, especially if there’s a special offer associated with the time frame. As you can see above, people love special offers and the worst thing that could happen is if they missed out on a special offer. Many of the online retailers in the top 10 list create an element of urgency. They have a special offer for a limited time or a limited quantity. This psychological feeling of missing out is great for increasing conversions and pushes a lot of people over the line. Spend some time crafting your special offers and elements of urgency as this can be a very powerful strategy.

Schwans has a special offer for a limited time. They give a date range to create an element of urgency.

Focus on a specific niche

A common trend with all these top 10 converting online retailers is that they all focus on a specific niche with the exception of Blairs and  QVC. It’s much easier to cater for one group of people and optimize your site for those people. Having a high conversion is not just about optimizing elements on page but it’s also about attracting the right sort of traffic. If you have a clearly defined niche and target audience you can spend your resources and time attracting only that audience. Woman Within, which is number 2 on the list with a conversion rate of 25.3%, is in the plus size woman clothing niche. They’re very clear with who they’re targeting and therefore are able to optimize their site based on that audience. This helps greatly with improving conversions.

Free shipping alleviates purchase anxiety

Free shipping is a great way to push a customer over the line. One of the top reasons some people still don’t purchase online is the shipping costs. If you offer free shipping costs this will definitely help with conversions. You can offer free shipping on all orders or in an attempt to increase average order sales you can offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. Woman Within offer free shipping if your purchase is over $50. You can see the offer below:

There are a lot of conversion rate optimization lessons and tips that can be taken from these 10 top converting online retailers, however each site is unique and different. Elements and components that work to increase conversions for these sites may not work for yours. This is where vigorous and continuous A/B testing comes into play. If you’re able to continuously A/B test different elements and hypotheses you will be able to constantly increase your conversions.

Growth Giant is a tool which will allow you to run continuous A/B tests while maximizing conversions. We are excited to launch and release beta access soon.

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