The Conversion Rate You've Always Dreamt Of | Cardinal Path Blog
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The Conversion Rate You've Always Dreamt Of


Even Wider Funnels

What is your conversion rate?

People talk about a 2.5-3%, some people boast 5%-7%, Schwans foods brags 52.5%.

That isn’t a typo. 52.5%. Over half the people who visit Schwans.com buy food, according to Nielsen online. In fact, all the top ten are all absurdly high:

  • Schwans, 52.5%
  • ProFlowers, 27.3%
  • Quixtar, 22.4%
  • Blair.com, 21.8%
  • Office Depot, 21.1%
  • vitacost.com, 20.4%
  • DrsFosterSmith.com, 20.3%
  • FTD.com, 20.2%
  • Amazon, 17.2%
  • CDW, 16.9%

And its not like these are low traffic mom and pop Ecommerce stores, these are all getting 500,000 unique a month. These are ecommerce goliaths.

It’s not that strange that the top two results for “flower delivery” in Google do really well before Valentines day, but its not just that. Flower shops, and Proflowers in particular, always top the conversion charts.

What these sites do very well is encourage repeat visitors. Proflowers offers savings to newsletter subscribers (which would boost up their conversion rates), they also offer very quick shipping times, and with prices between $20 and $100 a pop there’s little pressure to really shop around for better deals.

There is also poor economic conditions. There’s a repression on, jewelry companies aren’t doing as well, but flowers are a cheap, romantic gift. Their top sellers support this, with $30-$40 packages dominating.

Schwans is also no Wholefoods, they know how to price to a recession. Looking at their top sellers not one, not one is over $10. Their header bar includes sorting options for “meals under $5” and “$1.00 per serving”. This also means that people are going to be bulking up, making multiple purchases, and likely coming back for more once they’re out.

While looking over these sites John Hossack pointed something else out to me. He noted that Schwans and Blair are both companies that use catalogs as a marketing tool. People with catalogs are going to know what they want, they’ve done the research, and they’ve skipped straight to purchasing stage and are going online to buy delicious fully cooked bacon slices.

Fully cooked bacon delivered right to your door. What an amazing world we live in.

Quixtar is a little different. For those who don’t know, Quixtar is an alternate brand for Amway—the multi-level marketing company. They get people like naturopathic doctors (including my mom’s naturopath) to become distributors for their products, then the doctors get a cut of each sale they make and a little something for each distributor they sign up. Given their MLM chain system, it’s no wonder that they have high conversion rates. I also bet, though I can’t confirm this, that if you’re a registered distributor you can log-in to order more bottles of your Acai berry juice anti-oxidizing formula to then sell to your ‘customers’, meaning that almost every sale is going through their site.

So what can you learn from all of this? How can you increase your conversion rates and make more money?

Catalogs, multi-level marketing, and targeting lazy men.

Ok, not really. These companies all engage in fantastic marketing activities that can yield great results, but when calculating conversions there’s a lot of off page marketing that likely isn’t being considered. These include catalogs, multi-level efforts, email advertising campaigns, and all sorts of other tactics. This leads to great conversions, but much longer and more complex marketing efforts. Wide funnels, but very, very long sleeves.

Also none of the top 5 converters are topping sales. Amazon might have finished ninth, with only a 17.2% conversion rate, but they were in the top five of almost every category (they didn’t get Jewelry, but I bet they were in the top 10 for that). They’re absolutely crushing the competition. From Office Supplies to Home and Garden to Health/Wellness/Beauty, Amazon managed between 192,000 (software) and 5.5 million (books) purchases. The only site that managed to top them on average was eBay.

Given their incredible variety of products and number of visitors a 17.2% conversion rate is herculean, and that strength shows in the number of sales they’ve made, and just how well they’re doing financially.

Office Depot is another fantastic contender, with an amazing 21.1% conversion rate, who topped their niche (office supplies) while also performing strongly in consumer electronics.

These are people who are playing their cards right. Getting good conversions, but crushing the sales charts.

The lesson to take away is…

Conversion isn’t Everything

The top converting companies go to great lengths to build lasting relationships with their customers. During periods of recession people are looking for deals and emails detailing specials of the week are a great way to bring in repeat customers. Positioning yourself as an affordable alternatives during hard times certainly seems to be working both for the florists and for Schwans. Streamlining ordering and delivery make your Ecommerce store to the point where its more convenient to order online than to go to the florists has done wonders for Proflowers. Even Amway, with all the hatred people have towards them, manages to build strong and loyal customer bases that want to return again and again. All of these are the marketing efforts that encourage repeat visits and lasting relationships with your clients.

And this is what drives up conversions.

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