Why your Website is not Converting Well: Chinese Laundry Review

Why your Website is not Converting Well: Chinese Laundry Review

Bobby Hewitt, the conversion rate expert of Creative Thirst, took time with helping Chinese Laundry (a well-known brand of women’s shoes) with this conversion review. Many people grapple with how they can increase their website conversion rate. It’s an issue that affects many, so you’re not alone. The most common reason that many website owners cite is that they simply have no idea what to test, what’s working, and what’s not. Reviews of a website provide insights that might help your eCommerce website as well.

In a recent webinar hosted by A/B testing software” href=”https://www.convert.com/” target=”_blank”>Convert, in conjunction with Creative Thirst, this concern point was brought to attention, with the goal of seeking to identify the most common problematic areas facing business website owners. But that wasn’t all. The attendees benefited from actual ideas that they could test on their sites and various ways to get around poor conversion.

There were also several examples to refer from including websites with some sort of e-commerce motive behind them such as advertising, sale banners, clicks etc. The discussion highlighted the areas and things these websites do wrong – so do many others – and how this could be done different to optimize conversion: ideas you could as well borrow if you want to see an improvement in your conversion rates (who doesn’t?)

Note that these were just great examples to portray the subject matter, and not a stab at any one of them. We shall be reviewing each one individually and this will be Part 1 of the series. Let’s kick things off with Chinese Laundry, shall we?

Chinese Laundry Screenshot from Chinese Laundry

Chinese Laundry

The first on the list is Chinese Laundry, a well-known brand of women’s shoes. When you land on this site, the first thing you will notice is a pop-over urging you to join their mailing list. Another thing you’ll notice is the feeble graying out of the rest of the site, or the background. This is a no-no as it creates some sort of confusion with the site’s visitors not having a clear idea of where exactly they need to click.

The Money is on the List

When it comes to the mailing list call to action, getting your point across to the visitors is something very important because it will determine if they will ultimately join or not. You need to give them a compelling reason to, since they’ve probably had their share of spam messages flooding their inbox with similar offers. You can take a different approach on this. You can offer discounts for each visitor that decides to join. You can offer exclusive styles, and if so, they can be the first to see them. Toying around with great value propositions on the main headline should always be factored in.

That’s not the end-all though. Reinforcing that value proposition also means not having a generic call to action button, getting something nobody else can see as your button copy: being unique in a good way, not just having the buttons there for the sake of it.

It’s a Mismatch!

Another thing that stood out during the webinar was how many website owners tend to get it wrong with the color scheme. While referencing the Chinese jewelry site that has a great service in providing free shipping, such a compelling offer is lost in the thick of things, making it hard to spot. The problem here, as many others often make, is employing colors that are hard to tell apart leading to ‘banner blindness’.

Additionally, the positioning of such a proposition should be strategic so that visitors of your website will not miss it. You should also consider placing more value on your strong points, as these will be key in the buyer’s decision on whether to purchase from you or search for another offer.

The same can also be said of other elements such as categories. For instance, the website on review in the webinar had a category titled ‘Best Sellers’, no doubt a headline that can arouse the curiosity of anyone visiting the site. However, this category is hidden and positioned where it’s fairly hard to see, more so given the font itself could have been a bit bolder.

Not only that, featuring images of the product or service you offer should lead the prospects to whatever image they click. It should lead them right to the product or service itself. In the case when someone clicks on a product image expecting tosee more details of that product and they don’t, what will make them continue browsing the rest of your site if all you do is take them around in circles?


These are some of the reasons that lead to a high bounce rate, and with it, lost opportunities. In a nutshell, what the review of the first site managed to establish is:

  • Needless and annoying pop-overs with no compelling reasons. (e.g. one urging prospective customers to join your list without any added benefit to them.)
  • Reinforcing your value proposition
  • Unique call to action buttons
  • Intuitive positioning of the buttons, categories, propositions
  • Banner blindness and overall color scheme of the website in relation to other elements on the page/site
  • Linking: images and their related content

You can check out the full site review and even more reviews in the recorded found here.

Originally published July 01, 2014 - Updated October 17, 2017
Dennis van der Heijden
Co-founder and CEO of Convert.com, Dennis is a passionate community builder and out of the box thinker. He spends his time innovating to make Convert Experiences better. Learn about his journey as an entrepreneur and leader on the SaaS Club podcast.
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