CPG Brand Website Visitors Buy More In-Store

January 31, 2012

accenture-in-store-performance-related-to-site-use-jan12.gifVisitors to CPG brand websites buy 37% more in retail stores than non-visitors to the brand website, and complete 41% more transactions, according to [download page] a comScore, Accenture, and dunnhumbyUSA study released in January 2012. Website visitors are also heavier buyers within a brand’s product category, spending 53% more category dollars than non-visitors. And they have more purchase occasions than non-visitors for both the brand and the category, making 35% more purchase trips for the brand, and 39% more in the overall category (3.2 vs. 2.3).

Specifically, CPG brand website visitors spend an average of $2.86 per household, $0.72 more than non-visitors. Engagement with the brand does not translate to exclusivity, as these visitors are also highly engaged in the category: compared with non-visitors, they also purchase 58% more units in the category.

These results on consumers’ cross-channel shopping behavior come on the heels of findings from ForeSee showing that mobile shopping satisfaction positively impacts other channels: satisfied mobile customers report being 40% more likely than dissatisfied mobile customers to consider the same company when purchasing from other channels such as a traditional website or store (88% vs. 63%).

Site Visitors Pay Less Per Unit, Though

comScore’s study indicates that despite greater engagement with the brand and the category, website visitors pay 8% less per unit than non-visitors. According to the report, it is likely that these visitors were visiting websites to download coupons, thus reducing their net price paid. For the 2 CPG brand websites (of the 10 studied) where visitors paid 2% more per unit than non-visitors, the web content strategy focused on “brand value messaging” rather than “coupon downloads.”

Coupon Seekers Don’t Stay Long

The study measured the online behavior of consumers who buy CPG brands in retail stores (“Brand Buyers”) in relation to the average US internet user across 4 variables: website reach (“Reach”); minutes per visitor (“Time”); number of pages viewed per visitor (“Pages”); and Reach multiplied by Pages, divided by the same metric for the average user (“Intensity Index”). Among the categories examined, some key findings emerged. For example, the Coupon category over-indexed on Reach, but under-indexed on Time and Pages, suggesting that the deal-seeking segment tends to quickly depart a property when no coupons or relevant coupons can be found. The Beauty/Fashion/Style website category exhibited by far the strongest Intensity Index among the website categories, while the Politics category was also of great interest to Brand Buyers, with these consumers spending over twice as much time with this category than the average internet visitor.

Time Most Important Purchase Determinant

Data from “Are Your CPG Brands Maximizing the Return on Your Digital Investment” indicates that the length of time that visitors spend on a brand’s website was the key determinant of their likelihood to purchase that brand in the store, although the presence of a social cause on the brand site also increased the likelihood of in-store brand purchase.

Meanwhile, the attribute that most influenced whether visitors spent more time on a site was fresh content updated frequently. The presence of brand value messaging, a click-to-buy feature, and value-added tools such as product ratings, user-generated content, and recipes all increased length of stay.

Overall, 4 website attributes correlated most closely with a higher brand purchase index (greater brand spending in-store for website visitors than non-visitors): a compelling brand value message; fresh content updated at least weekly; content that creates an engaging online experience such as a pulse survey on the home page; and well designed site navigation.

About the Data: The study was based on an integrated panel of 1 million US 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.

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