Practical Ecommerce

Conversion: Ranks High

When Nielsen Online releases its list of highest converting ecommerce websites, is frequently in the top ten. The latest numbers has it at a stunning 15 percent conversion rate.

I’m always open to learn from the best, and while I’m not going to do a page-by-page review of’s site, I thought it would be interesting to review some of the overall concepts that I think make it one of the most successful conversion sites on the web.

  1. Do one thing, and do it well. Even though you can purchase cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries and other gourmet gifts via the site, is primarily focused on flowers. Within flowers it has a great selection of products, with many options to satisfy different visitor types.

  2. Landing pages are clear, compelling, and attractive. You experience a sense of having landed in the right place when you visit It’s just what you’d expect, with a clear visual indication of the nature of the site. In addition, product photography is high quality, site design is simple and attractive, and it’s clear where to click next.

  3. Audience is pre-qualified. This is more of an issue for its market than its website in particular, but I don’t imagine many people visit flower websites with the intention of just browsing. In addition, the nature and price point of’s products give it a high probability for a sale. This gives (and other similar sites) an edge from being in an industry that is well suited to ecommerce.

  4. Provide multiple search methods. provides the ability to search by event (such as birthday and get well soon), flower type (such as roses, tulips, and lilies) and price point (under $40, $40 to $60). In other words, the site has predicted the most common mind-frames of its visitors and made it simple for each visitor to easily find what he is looking for.

  5. Target specific sub-niches. I visited the site in April 2008 and saw prominent reminders that Mother’s Day was coming up. I also saw ads for Administrative Professionals Week. Targeting sub-groups of your target audience with specific offers is a great way to engage visitors.

  6. Pricing is compelling. Most of the prices on appear to be discounted, giving the sense that you’re getting a good deal. I’d expect that’s pricing is also very comparable to its competitors, but the discount makes me inclined not to spend time checking them and just jump right into a purchase.

  7. Checkout process is clear and “alert-free.” No red flags exist in the checkout process. In addition, a clear indication of server security and product satisfaction guarantees provide a sense of comfort with the purchase process.

Mat Greenfield

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  1. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    I think we can all agree that for any ecommerce website (including, a 'conversion' is a sale. If you define it any other way, you're just making your job as a web marketer harder!

    — *Mat Greenfield*

  2. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    It still amazes me to this day that people say "My conversion rate is 15%" or "my conversion rate is 99.9999%" yet they don't every specify what THEY are measuring as a conversion.

    Example: considers a visitor as converted when the user lands on a page and clicks ONE link. That's no. No sale, no request for information, no literature download ….

    So in there case the conversion rate is 100%-bounce rate.

    Sure would be nice if they world was on the same page.

    — *eCom Guru*

  3. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    Is that really true re proflowers' regarding a click as a conversion?
    Surely not….

    They've certainly given their site some thought though, no doubt.

    — *Will –*

  4. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    Point number 4 "Provide multiple search methods" illustrates the importance of what is termed "attribute rich" site search which is driven by the product database (which includes pertinent attributes such as event, type, etc. for each product) as opposed to spider based search which is limited in its ability to do more than simply digest a web page's html.

    On our gourmet retail site, we implemented attribute rich product locator for coffee with good results, since there are hundreds of possibilities that visitors must sort through to find just the right one. See for this implementation which is based upon our site search solution

    We never could have offered that many selections within a single category without a capable site search solution since visitors would have difficulty coping with that many choices. The product locator permits them to navigate through that complex set of choices and our conversion rate is good.

    — *John Schoeph*

  5. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    Having a lot of experience with this, I can say that ProFlowers considers its conversion rate to be based on sales NOT clicks. And conversion is currently higher than 15%.

    — *Sarah Cohen*

  6. Legacy User May 6, 2008 Reply

    I have been hearing ads on the radio for the last few weeks here in New Orleans. I was wondering how effective radio/televison ads were for driving traffic to your site.

    Is there a Listners/Viewer to site visit formula or rule to apply to a stations reach?

    We are considering radio for our chef apparel site Love to get a feel if it is working with out adding the microphone on the site.

    The ads got me to the site…

    Would love to hear

    — *Jay Sigl*

  7. Legacy User May 7, 2008 Reply

    15% certainly is a good result. The photography and overall user experience is brilliant.

    It would be interesting to see how their conversion rate varies between their different products categories and esp how their non-qualified categories (ie non-flower) perform. I suspect this would be significantly lower.

    — *Jay –*

  8. Legacy User May 27, 2008 Reply

    I sure hope they are getting more than 15% of people to click a link if that is what they quantify as a conversion. I think if that were the measure of the conversion it should at least approach about 35%. So maybe 15 % convert to purchase.

    — *Alan H*

  9. Casey September 8, 2008 Reply

    Another smart thing Proflowers does is when customers abandon their shopping carts they e-mail them and offer them a discount.

  10. Ken September 29, 2008 Reply

    As someone who markets for Proflowers, I see from my own site data for, that conversion rate for Proflowers is due largely to their numerous shopping offers to consumers. Compared to other merchants their offers are more attractive compared to others leading to higher click throughs and conversions. Their conversions are based on sales aone.