Study Shows Website Visits Drive Brand Purchases

CPG brand Website visitors spend 37% more on the brand and 53% more on product category in retail stores.

A study from Accenture, comScore Inc. and dunnhumbyUSA, aimed at helping consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers better understand the link between consumers’ usage of brand Websites and their in-store brand buying behavior, found that visitors to CPG brand Websites buy 37% more in retail stores than non-visitors to the brand site.

The study, Are Your CPG Brands Maximizing the Return on Your Digital Investment?, also concluded that to maximize impact, Website content needs to be updated regularly and contain brand value messaging that both engages visitors while also providing compelling reasons for them to purchase the brand at retail.

“CPG marketers currently invest millions of dollars in their brand Websites, and the results of this study confirm the importance of this investment. Brand Websites can attract and influence the behavior of the most valuable segments of any brand’s franchise,” said Mike Zeman, comScore vice president. “But it’s clear that the content and utilities on these sites need to be highly engaging if they are to attract a meaningful numbers of visitors. Marketers who do this successfully stand to gain an attractive return by growing their brands’ sales in retail stores.”

Brand Website Visitors Are Heavier Buyers

The study found that visitors to CPG brand Websites are valuable and frequent buyers of the brand in retail stores, completing 41% more transactions than non-visitors. As a result, brand Websites are able to attract heavier-than-average brand buyers, who spend 37% more on the brand in retail stores than non-visitors. Website visitors also are also heavier buyers within a brand’s product category, spending 53% more category dollars than non-visitors.

In-Store Performance Metric

Percent Difference

Monthly Brand Dollars

37%

Monthly Category Dollars

53%

No. of Brand Buying Occasions

In Six Month Period

41%

 “The Accenture / comScore / dunnhumbyUSA research highlights the significant yet underutilized potential of brand Websites and digital communications as key drivers for building customer loyalty and preference for CPG brands,”  said John LaRocca, vice president, strategic partnerships at dunnhumbyUSA, noted. “Since Website visitors have higher affinity to the brand and the overall product category, there is an opportunity for brand marketers to drive loyalty through personalizing the Website experience, catering to the preferences of their best customers.”

Compelling Features of Successful Brand Websites

The length of time that visitors spend on a brand’s Website was found to be a key determinant of their likelihood to buy the brand in retail stores. The study identified three important characteristics of brand Websites that are associated with a higher likelihood that visitors will buy the brand in retail stores:

1.     Brand value messaging that provides a persuasive reason for a Website visitor to buy the brand

2.     Fresh content updated on at least a weekly basis, such as “pulse surveys,” user generated reviews, status on weight loss plans, etc.

3.     Content that engages visitors. This can include promotions, philanthropic appeals, demonstrations, live chat, apps and games.

“Marketers who create compelling CPG brand Website experiences for consumers are extremely effective in driving incremental and profitable in-store sales,” said Jerry Lohse, senior director, Accenture Interactive. “Analysis shows that consumers visiting the best of the ten CPG brand Websites evaluated in the research study, spent over 200% more on the brand than non-visitors. Moreover, the research shows that the price paid per unit of the brand at the best of the ten CPG brand Websites in the study was 2%  more than for non-visitors in brand.”

Research Study Design

The study was based on an integrated panel of one million U.S. Internet users who have given comScore explicit permission to have their online activities continuously measured and matched to their in-store brand buying behavior provided by dunnhumbyUSA.  This integrated panel provided a single-source, privacy-protected data mart containing each panelist’s online activities and their in-store buying behavior. Using the comScore-dunnhumbyUSA database, the study examined 10 individual food and household product brands with annual sales between $40 million and $3 billion. These brands had at least 100,000 unique visitors to their Websites and as many as 2.3 million per month. The study covered the time period from September 2010 through February 2011. Leveraging comScore’s knowledge of the digital user, dunnhumby’s shopper understanding, and Accenture’s experience in operating and maintaining consumer packaged goods Websites, the study quantified the linkage between CPG brand buying at retail and digital behavior by comparing the in-store purchase behavior of Website visitors and non-visitors and identifying the common components of successful CPG brand Websites. For Website performance scoring criteria, the Accenture Web Evaluator was used for this survey.  The Accenture Web Evaluator provides a comprehensive assessment of how well companies use their Websites to attract and retain customers, support and reinforce their brand, deliver services and generate sales.

The research was conducted with the endorsement of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), and the results were presented Jan. 29 at their joint board meeting in Orlando. “Creating a better understanding of the relationship between a brand’s online presence and real-world shopping is important, relevant and timely to our membership and their future growth potential,” noted Denny Belcastro, executive vice president, industry affairs and collaboration, GMA.  

 

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