NEW YORK; July 31, 2007 — A new website benchmarking offering, the Accenture Web Evaluator, has identified five business-to-consumer (B2C) websites as delivering the best "brand experience" to consumers. The five top sites out of more than 260 evaluated by Accenture Marketing Sciences are Nike.com, Ford.com, Google.com, Adidas.com and Microsoft.com.
Accenture Marketing Sciences is a specialized practice within Accenture that helps companies manage their marketing and media expenditures and practices more effectively.
The top sites were successful at engaging consumers using a variety of techniques, such as providing detailed, high-quality information in interesting formats; building relationships through interactive exchanges; and encouraging return visits by current and potential customers through the use of promotions, premium services, clubs and other online innovations. At the same time, Accenture found that many corporate B2C websites fall far short of reaching their full potential to build consumer relationships while supporting branding efforts and product sales.
"By benchmarking the key components among the world’s most influential business websites, we were able to identify the characteristics that encouraged or discouraged a positive brand experience," said Jeffrey Merrihue, CEO of Accenture Marketing Sciences. "Our findings indicate that companies can get a greater return from their marketing and brand investments by improving the functionality and impact of their websites by adding important information and relevant services, creating engaging features to build relationships, and improving the retail and e-commerce linkages."
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. In creating the new offering, Accenture developed a rigorous methodology that captured information from websites of more than 260 of the world’s most prominent consumer brands, using nine key factors comprised of 33 criteria associated with delivering a high-performing branded customer experience via the Internet. The nine key factors included: search and navigation; information; service; engagement; relationship building; branding; eCommerce; globalization; and number of visitors.
The Nike site scored particularly high in the areas of engagement, relationship building and branding, as it delivered instant impact with tight integration with its offline marketing activity and other elements to engage the targeted customers and make it relevant to their daily lives. For instance, Accenture noted that Nike, by using its site to market Nike+ and NikeID, incorporated innovative mechanisms that enable consumers to measure and manage their running regime and even design their own sports shoe.
Google.com was rated as particularly strong in the area of relationship building, as the simplicity of the site’s design enables a consumer to set up his or her Google account and return to a home page that is tailored to deliver the information that he or she wants to access on a regular basis. Repeat Google users can readily register to gain access to a variety of services ranging from maps and video to blogs, images and news.
Ford’s U.S. site received high marks because of its depth of product information, which the Accenture Web Evaluator rated as detailed, helpful and well-presented. For instance, people who use the Ford site can enter its Virtual Showroom, where they can access detailed product information that is interactive and easy to use and can also locate dealers, search dealer inventory and learn about financing options.
Microsoft.com provides online services that create customer "stickiness" and deliver value to the customer. The site encourages visitors to return to download software, access user guides and tutorials and obtain other product information.
Accenture Web Evaluator gave the Adidas site high marks for branding, noting that from the moment a user arrives at the Adidas landing page, the site delivers a high-impact positive brand experience with a ‘wow’ factor. That impression is sustained throughout the site, as its design, function and layout support the company’s ‘Impossible is Nothing’ messaging with animation, images of star athletes and other design elements that support the slogan and the brand while providing visitors with information about the company and its products.
"The Accenture Web Evaluator is a powerful, comprehensive and readily accessible offering that looks across industry categories to help brand owners identify potential areas for improvement of their online brand presence," Merrihue said. "We have gained tremendous insight into what creates a superior online brand experience and look forward to sharing this knowledge with clients serving consumers in a wide range of industries."
About Accenture Marketing Sciences
Accenture Marketing Sciences, a specialized practice within Accenture, provides media auditing, benchmarking and related consulting services to help clients manage their marketing and media expenditures and practices more effectively. Accenture Marketing Sciences has more than 400 clients across Europe, the United States, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region, including more than half of the top 100 global advertisers.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 158,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$16.65 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2006. Its home page is www.accenture.com .
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