SeeWhy Explains Why Conversion Strategies are Failing Nobody likes to hear that they're wrong, but real-time re-marketing company SeeWhy (news, site) recently published some research about common website conversion practices that suggests exactly that. 

Surprise! The World Ain't Flat and Conversion Optimization...Sucks?

Long story short: SeeWhy collected data from the top 10 converting websites on the 'net and found that they were all ignoring best practices touted by e-commerce teams. Here is a table of their findings, including a slot for (number 11) for point of reference:


“Most websites convert 2 or 3 percent of their visitors to purchase in the same session,” said Charles Nicholls, founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy. “The top 10 converting websites range between 18 and 42 percent. What do the top 10 do differently? When it comes to conversion, they don’t focus on conversion optimization that conventional wisdom suggests. And their double-digit conversion rates suggest that more ecommerce teams might benefit from doing the same.”

The Findings

After asking 663 ecommerce marketers to guess how top converting websites would optimize their conversion rates, SeeWhy found that the results were predictable (note percentages total more than 100 because each participant was allowed to answer multiple times):

  • Free shipping – 60 percent
  • Guest checkout (no forced account creation) – 52 percent
  • Simple, intuitive process – 46 percent
  • Short checkout – 40 percent
  • Other – 4 percent

Interestingly, the company's polling revealed that the top 10 converting websites place little value on the above practices. Instead, SeeWhy found that these companies focused more on:

  • Paid shipping – Only one of the top 10 offers free shipping, but only on a few categories.
  • No guest checkout (forced account creation) – Four of the top five – and six of the top 10 – require users to create a full account before they can make their first purchase.
  • Complicated process – Some of the top 10 websites are far from intuitive and lack clear calls to action.
  • Lengthy checkout – Some of the top 10 have lengthy shopping cart processes that can run up to six pages with 36 different options and fields to enter.

The Book

You're probably skeptical, and that's OK. This isn't the first time SeeWhy has thrown the bulk of us off with their wacky new ideas. Thankfully, this time the company is offering a free eBook called “Lessons Learned from the Top 10 Converting Websites,” for anyone interested in a more detailed look at their claims. Request a copy here and let us know what you think.