Making the Sale Online

Nielsen//NetRatings finds that the top 10 online retailers, based on their ability to convert visitors to buyers, include companies in a range of categories, including catalog, online-only and television shopping network–but only one typical bricks-and-mortar retailer.

April 08, 2005 – According to Nielsen, QVC leads all online retailers in sales conversion rate, getting 16.3% of its online customers to purchase a product they find on the QVC Web site. Further down on the list are catalog retailers like Lands’ End and L.L.Bean (which has a limited bricks-and-mortar presence), and online retailers like Amazon and Yahoo! Shopping.

Only one retailer with a significant bricks-and-mortar presence, women’s clothing retailer Coldwater Creek, lands in the top 10. Nielsen//NetRatings senior retail analyst Heather Dougherty explains why: “While traffic is high to popular brick-and-mortar Web sites, visitors are often researching purchases to be made offline. Customers visiting a catalogers’ Web site already have the information they need about the product, and therefore, are ready to make an immediate purchase.”

A Gomez study conducted in late 2004 ranked QVC lower than a number of traditional retailers in online transaction success rate and time needed for a transaction. This suggests that, while bricks-and-mortar stores may trail in conversion, their actual transaction systems may work better than QVC’s. Many catalog retailers had better transaction success than QVC as well, with Lands’ End and L. L. Bean both achieving better rates.

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