5 Success Strategies of High-Converting Ecommerce Websites

Depending on who you ask, the top 10 list of the nation’s highest converting ecommerce websites changes.  What doesn’t change, however, is what all these sites have in common that make them so successful.

Let’s take a look.  As we do, make yourself a list and compare it to your own ecomm site.  The sites we’ll be discussing are:

Disney Store

© 2013 Disney Store, All rights reserved

© 2013 Disney Store, All rights reserved


© 2013 Zappo's, All rights reserved

© 2013 Zappos, All rights reserved

Best Buy

© 2013 Best Buy, All rights reserved

© 2013 Best Buy, All rights reserved

#1 – Unique Competitive Advantage (UCA)

Sometimes called a USP (unique selling proposition), the UCA is something unique you offer that answers the question, “Why should I buy from you?”  You could get most of the products offered at Disney Store, Zappo’s and Best Buy from other sites.  What makes a customer want to buy here?  It could be many reasons.

►    Disney lets you send a free video message with your purchase.  You also get free shipping when you buy over $75 worth of stuff.  In certain cases, there is exclusivity: you can only buy particular products from the Disney Store site.

►    Zappo’s is famous for their huge selection.  They also have won the hearts of customers with their free shipping and returns.  Unlike other sites that offer free shipping with a certain purchase amount, Zappo’s gives it to you with no minimum.  And, if you need to send the shoes back, Zappo’s will pay return postage as well.

►    Best Buy has a rewards program, low-price guarantee and financing options.

Do you have a UCA?  Can you offer free shipping with or without a minimum?  How about tossing in a free extended warranty beyond what the manufacturer offers?  Do you have exclusive products?  Price-matching?  Do you have exceptional customer service that goes way above and beyond?  Make it public on the home page of your site.

#2 – Prominent Search Box

Think about this for a moment.  What do you do when you get to an ecommerce site?  If you’re like most, one of the first things is to use the search box to help find what you want.

Because the search box is so important to ecommerce conversions, yours needs to be big, noticeable and right up top just like these major retailers have theirs.

#3 – Clear Categories

The other way most people shop online is by using the category links.  These etailers make it super easy to browse by category because they’ve organized their products logically.

That may mean putting a product in more than one category. For instance, on Disney, “Brave” is under Characters, but is also applicable to the Girls category.  Zappo’s would have dress pumps under Heels and Shoes and Women’s.

Think analytically.  Ask others who are unfamiliar with your site to go online and try to find what they are looking for without using the search box.  Make very sure that your products are arranged using the same logic your customers do when shopping.

#4 – Recommended/Featured Products

These items might be the month’s best sellers or new products that have just been added.  They don’t need to be on sale.  You can simply highlight them and bring them to your customers’ attention.

#5 – Sales

Up top, in your banner or near your banner, you also need to highlight what’s on sale.  And there always needs to be something on sale.

Case in point: do you remember (many years ago) when Sears decided they were going to offer their lowest possible price every day?  They weren’t going to have sales any longer.  They announced to their customers that they could come to Sears any time they wanted and get the best price.

What happened?  Their revenue TANKED!

Bottom line:  people love sales.  Give it to them.  Create a promotion calendar and fill it with discounts, BOGOs, rebates and whatever other types of sales you can think of.

When you observe what the big boys are doing and emulate that (as best you can) in your own store, higher conversions will soon follow.

Are you stuck?  Don’t know how to go about creating an ecommerce marketing plan to boost your sales?  Contact me today about online marketing consulting services.  We can make it happen!

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5 Success Strategies of High-Converting Ecommerce Websites
Is your ecommerce website not converting like you want? Take a cue from some of the biggest etailers online and get a bump in sales.
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About Karon Thackston

For over 25 years, web & SEO copywriter Karon Thackston has created optimized copy and content that has increased conversions & search rankings. Find out more about Karon on Google+.


  1. Great article! Already making changes to my website.

  2. Excellent observations, Karon! I would like to ask your opinion on the following:1. Is there a way to determine at what price an etailer should offer free shipping? 2. Does lowering the minimum order price (say from $100 to $75) guarantee that there will be more sales?3. I have always been curious on whether it hurts or helps rankings when products are listed in multiple categories?Many thanks!

  3. Hi Brenda,
    Here’s my take:
    1. That would be dependent on several things including your profit margins. You have sites that do everything from free shipping on all orders (LL Bean) to low-priced, flat-rate shipping (Overstock.com) to free shipping with a minimum (lots & lots of them) to always customer-paid shipping. You should look at what it will do to your profit margin including if people buy sale items using the free shipping.
    2. Nothing guarantees more sales online 🙂 You should test various price points and watch the results to decide.
    3. Yes, adding products to multiple categories can result in duplicate content. But you might legitimately need products in more than one category to make customers’ shopping experiences better. Here’s a good article with a lot of options that can help.
    Karon Thackston recently posted..Why Isn’t Your Landing Page Converting? 5 Things You Can Test TodayMy Profile

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