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Bricks-and-Mortar Retailers See Lower Online Conversion Rates

  |  April 11, 2005   |  Comments

E-tailer enjoy stronger conversions, but not Web-to-store sales.

E-tailers have higher online conversion rates than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts according to Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Online Retail report.

Among the top 100 retailers, as measured by the company, the average conversion rate was 4.9 percent for all retailers, with or without a bricks-and-mortar presence. QVC boasted the highest conversion rate, 16.3 percent followed by cataloguer Lands' End with 14.8 percent. Flower delivery services also fared well, with FTD.com posting a 13.4 percent conversion rate and proflowers.com an 11.8 percent rate. Dot-com giants Amazon and eBay also finished in the Top 10 converters, with Amazon posting a 12.8 percent rate and eBay close behind with 12.3 percent.

Only one retailer with a significant brick-and-mortar presence placed in the Top 10: Coldwater Creek with a 12.7 percent conversion rate.

"Brick-and-mortar retailers are noticeably absent among the top performers in online sales conversion rates," Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings said. "While traffic is high to popular brick-and-mortar Web sites, visitors are often researching purchases to be made offline."

Top 10 Online Retailers Based on Conversion Rate, February 2005
eCommerce Site Conversion Rate (%)
QVC 16.3
Lands' End 14.8
sportsmansguide.com 13.5
FTD.com 13.4
llbean.com 13.4
Amazon 12.8
Coldwater Creek 12.7
eBay 12.3
Yahoo Shopping 12.1
proflowers.com 11.8
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Online Retail, April 2005

According to other studies including the recent 2005 Web2Store Benchmark Survey, the value of those who search online but convert offline is quite high. The study found for every dollar spent online, the average Web-to-store shopper spends $1.60 offline at local retailers.

Nielsen/NetRatings' report found computer hardware was the top online retail category by a wide margin, with an average order size of $584.47. Events and movie tickets came in second at $121.60; and automotive third, with an average order size of $119.23.

Top 15 Online Retail Categories Based on Average Order Size, February 2005
Product Category Average Order Size (US$)
Computer Hardware 584.47
Event & Movie Tickets 121.60
Automotive 119.23
Office Supplies 102.47
Consumer Electronics 99.12
Child/Baby Care 86.13
Sporting Goods & Outdoor Activities 74.15
Home & Garden 69.99
Shoes & Athletic Footwear 53.14
Flowers, Greetings, & Specialty Gifts 51.61
Computer Software 46.76
Jewelry & Watches 46.62
Health/Wellness/Beauty 45.94
Apparel & Accessories 44.68
Toys, Games & Hobbies 40.41
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Online Retail, April 2005

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