A study by Accenture, ComScore, and Dunnhumby USA has identified a direct correlation between CPG brand website usage and in-store purchase behaviour, as consumer packaged goods (CPG) website visitors spend 37% more on the brand and 53% more on the product category in retail stores than consumers who don't visit their websites.
The study, entitled 'Are Your CPG Brands Maximizing the Return on Your Digital Investment?', was conducted to help CPG marketers better understand the link between consumers' usage of brand websites and their in-store brand buying behaviour, and concluded that, in order for CPG marketers to maximise their websites' impact, digital content must be updated regularly and contain brand value messaging that both engages visitors while also providing compelling reasons for them to purchase the brand from retail stores.
"CPG marketers currently invest millions of dollars in their brand websites, and this study confirmed the importance of this investment. Brand websites can attract and influence the behaviour of the most valuable segments of any brand's franchise," explained ComScore's vice president Mike Zeman. "But it's clear that the content and features of 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."
The study also found that visitors to CPG brand websites tend to be both valuable and frequent buyers of those brands in retail stores, completing an average of 41% more transactions than non-website visitors. Brand websites therefore seem 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 overall product category, spending 53% more in the category than non-visitors.
"The study highlighted the significant but under-utilised potential of brand websites and digital communications as drivers of both consumer preference and customer loyalty for CPG brands," said John LaRocca, vice president of strategic partnerships for Dunnhumby USA. "Since website visitors have a higher affinity for the brands they visit, as well as the overall product category, there is a clear opportunity for brand marketers to drive loyalty through personalising the website experience and catering to the preferences of their best customers."
The length of time that visitors spend on a brand's website was found to be a key factor in their likelihood to buy the brand in retail stores. The study identified three important characteristics of brand websites that are associated with a higher propensity to purchase the brand in-store:
- Brand value messaging that provides a persuasive reason for a website visitor to buy the brand;
- Fresh content updated on at least a weekly basis, such as 'pulse surveys', user generated reviews, weight loss plans, and so on.
- Content that engages visitors, such as promotions, philanthropic appeals, demonstrations, live chat, mobile apps and even games.
"Marketers who create compelling CPG brand website experiences are extremely effective in driving incremental in-store sales," concluded Jerry Lohse, senior director for Accenture Interactive. "Our analysis showed that consumers visiting the best of the ten CPG websites we evaluated spent over 200% more on the brand in-store than did their non-visitor counterparts."
The study was based on a panel of 1 million US internet users who had given permission to have their online activities measured and compared to their in-store brand buying behaviour by Dunnhumby. The ComScore-Dunnhumby database tracked ten food and household brands with annual sales of US$40 million - US$3 billion. The study was conducted with the endorsement of the US Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
The report has been made available for free download from ComScore's web site - click here (free registration required).