Yes but in the real world it is generally true that the fancy boutiques are more expensive. So just because the cheap little stores get a lot more customers, doesn't always mean they make more profit. They have sell a lot more volume of there low priced stuff then the expensive boutique does. Because the expensive place makes a larger profit off each expensive thing sold. Unless you are a huge SuperStore like Walmart. Not as true I think for really small cheap stores. There have been many cases where merchants have gotten a huge increase in buyer conversions just by simply raising the prices of there items which made them appear more "valuable and special" to the buyers.
Out here in Cal. there is the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk which is one of the top tourist visited spots in all of Cal. Everything sold there is super cheap. Mostly cheap junk and the vendors are crappy looking. I've talked to several of the vendors and they really don't make all that much. It really depends all on real estate location in the real world. Go down to Bev. Hills and people are dishing out fortunes for just as crappy junk at stupid places like Barneys.
I don't know why I'm talking about that. I don't know how it relates online as that is an area I don't have as much information about. While ebay and amazon might look cheap, they are still well organized and there has been a tremendious amount of thought and planning to there layout and sales approach. And they also have to actually be cheap not just look it. So I would think it does matter on weather or not what you are selling is cheap or expensive. I don't know.
But there is such a range of styles and layouts of sites and functionality. I don't think it's really black and white. Pretty or Ugly. And slick does not always equal good looking. I've seen many ugly slick sites. In the adult business most of the paysites are fairly slick but guady, flashy and ugly. And that has usually what has attracted the crowd. Flashy, bright attention getting emotionally stimulating looks.
I think it matters a lot what you are selling and what you want it to do to the visitors. Calm them, excite them, draw them in, chase them away quickly to a PPC link etc.
I would think that it matters less how a site looks if just directing buyers to other "affiliate" sites. As opposed to buying from the site they are on. More professional sites give the impression of greater trust that it is a real company you are handing your money that took the time to set up there online store and not something that someone in there bedroom threw up the night before with a link to paypal and perhaps no real plans on shipping anything or may have changed everything the next day when you go back to the site. Esp. sites where there are tons of dead links and a lot of things don't work.
Again, I know I'm a minority. I would deffinitely like to test all these different kinds of styles and sale approaches to see what does better for different products.
But is there any examples of what people are really talking about when they say that an "ugly" site does better, what are you really considering as "ugly" or "home brewed"? Does anyone have any examples of each they can show? Not of there own sites but just some sites you've seen online that match your deffinitions?