Brand Websites Create Retail Store Buyers

According to a new Accenture/comScore/dunnhumbyUSA research study, highlighting the potential for brand websites to become key drivers in building customer loyalty and preference for CPG brands, visitors to CPG brand websites spend 37% more than non-visitors on the brand in retail stores. And, brand website visitors are heavier buyers within a brand’s product category, spending 53% more than non-visitors on the category in retail stores.

To help CPG executives better understand the link between consumers’ usage of brand websites and their brand purchases in retail stores, the research was designed to accomplish three objectives:

  • Quantify the retail sales value of the visitors to various brand websites
  • Identify the most valuable features and content that can be provided on CPG brand websites
  • Provide insights and opportunities to further explore online destinations where Internet marketers can best reach their brand buyers and prospects

Comparison of In-Store Performance Metrics for Website Visitors and Non-Visitors (Indexed Such That Non-Visitors = 1.0)





Monthly Brand spending




Category Spend




Brand Units




Category Price Per Unit




Source: Accenture/comScore/dunnhumbyUSA research, 2011

The study found that to maximize impact, the most important website features include compelling brand value messaging, frequent content updates, and engaging content such as promotions, philanthropic appeals, product demonstrations, surveys, and downloadable applications and games.

According to the report, CPG brand website visitors were highly engaged, valuable customers and frequent purchasers of the brand. CPG brand website visitors spend an average of $2.86 per household, $0.72 more than non-visitors, and on an indexed basis they purchase 48% more units of the brand.

Absolute Differences in In-Store Performance Metrics

In-Store Performance Metric

Website Visitors (Average)



Monthly Brand Dollars




Monthly Category Dollars




Numbers of Brand Buying Occasions in Six MonthPeriod




Source: Accenture/comScore/dunnhumbyUSA research, 2011

Some observations about engagement from the report include:

  • Engagement with the brand does not translate to exclusivity, as brand website visitors are also highly engaged in the category and are more likely to be heavy category buyers than non-visitorsl Compared with non-visitors, brand website visitors spend 53% more category dollars and purchase 58% more units in the category
  • Brand website visitors 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
  • Despite greater engagement with the brand and the category, website visitors pay 8% less per unit than non-visitors. It is likely that these visitors were visiting websites to download coupons, opines the report. Interestingly, says the report, website visitors paid 2% more per unit than non-visitors for two of the ten CPG brand web sites. These two web sites had a web content strategy focused on “brand value messaging” rather than “coupon downloads”

To gain insight into the online behavior of consumers who buy CPG brands in retail stores ( “Brand Buyers”), several analyses were executed to identify how Brand Buyers differed from the average U.S. Internet user across three variables:

  • Website reach or unique visitors per month (“Reach”)
  • Minutes per visitor (“Time”)
  • Number of pages viewed per visitor (“Pages”)

Another metric (called the “Intensity Index”) was then the primary metric used for describing the Brand Buyers’ web behavior relative to the general web population, with the average Internet user defined as 100.

Over-indexed reflects a greater orientation than average to a particular site or site category. Conversely, under 100 means means less oriented to that site  than the average Internet user. Several key findings surfaced using this approach, says the report:

  • The Beauty/Fashion/Style website category exhibited by far the strongest Intensity Index among website categories
  • Brand Buyers over-indexed in Intensity, Pages and Time within the eCards, and Community website categories
  • Brand Buyers in particular over-indexed in number of Pages consumed in the Food Community category (such as recipe sharing sites)
  • Brand Buyers were also very active in content-rich categories such as News, Portals, and Weather; they were particularly attracted to AOL, MSN, Weather Channel, WebMD, Gannett, and Demand Media sites
  • Brand Buyers spent over two times more minutes per visitor with the Politics site than the average Internet user
  • Brand Buyers were relatively experienced users of the web, with strong indices exhibited across all metrics in Technology, Online Trading/Banking, and eCommerce website categories

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 according to the report. As time on the brand website increases, brand purchasing in the store increases.

Given the strong correlation between time spent on the site and in-store purchases, the research team examined the factors that influence whether visitors spent more time on the site. Overall, four 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 that provides a persuasive reason, other than a coupon, for a website visitor to buy the brand
  • Fresh content updated at least weekly to encourage visitors to engage and participate and return frequently
  • Content that creates an engaging online experience such as a pulse survey on the home page, or an opportunity to rate a new product or product attribute, or user generated content like recipes or weight-loss planning
  • Well designed site navigation that is intuitive, uses simple menus and has clear site maps

Consumers, visiting the best of the ten CPG brand websites evaluated in the research study, spent over 200% more on the brand in stores than non-visitors. And, the price paid per unit of the brand was 2% more than for non-visitors in brand.

The report concludes by suggesting that most CPG companies are missing the opportunity to influence brand engagement and brand buying behavior on their brand websites simply because not enough consumers visit their site. To the extent that this study quantifies the potential of websites to influence brand engagement and in-store purchase, CPG company efforts to increase traffic to the brand website offer tangible return on investment.

Average Monthly Visitors to Top 25 CPG Brand Websites (Defined by Buyer Penetration)

Number of Monthly Unique Visitors (000)

% of Brands

Under 100








Source: Accenture/comScore/dunnhumbyUSA research, 2011

For more about this study, and access to the PDF report, please visit comScore here.


1 comment about "Brand Websites Create Retail Store Buyers".
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  1. Sarah Federman from Telmar, February 8, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.

    Sounds like for advertisers one of the best ways to promote their brand on the web is to invest time and energy improving their own sites...fresh content, etc.

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