Accenture Ranks the Top 5 Web Sites in Consumer Experience
Accenture launched its Web Evaluator on Wednesday, a new Web-site assessment service intended to help businesses drive customer loyalty and get more bang out of their online bucks. The Accenture Web Evaluator assesses how well companies use their Web sites to support their brand, attract customers, generate sales, and deliver improved service.
To determine what makes a Web site effective, consultants in the Accenture Marketing Sciences practice used Web Evaluator to scrutinize 260 consumer Web sites of the world's most prominent consumer brands and established benchmarks based on the top five:
- Microsoft.com; and
The Web Evaluator, the development of which was driven by Accenture's need to assess customer's Web sites, relies on several key factors, such as search and navigation, relationship building, branding, e-commerce, and globalization, says Jeffrey Merrihue, CEO of Accenture Marketing Sciences. "We've always been strong in system integration, building sites, and helping companies to run their Web sites," he says. "But we wanted the ability to measure how effective a Web site was at driving loyalty and providing positive customer experiences."
The most successful sites use a number of techniques to attract viewers and generate business, including:
- providing detailed information in interesting formats;
- establishing customer relationships through interactive dialogs; and
- using promotions to encourage return visits by current and existing customers.
"We identified the characteristics that affect brand experience," Merrihue says. "Companies can get a greater return from their marketing and brand investments by improving the functionality and impact of their Web sites."
Nike.com won top grades for customer-relationship building, among other factors. Merrihue says the site innovatively engages consumers, allowing them, for example, to design their own sneakers. Ford.com earned praise for its in-depth product information: Users can engage with a virtual showroom to view interactive product information, locate dealers, and learn financing options.
Many companies, however, are inadequately deploying these new marketing methods, Merrihue says. The study found a dearth of detailed, high-quality information in interesting formats, while other sites shunned the opportunity to build relationships through interactive exchanges. Furthermore, the potential to encourage return was rarely fully exploited.
At the same time, Accenture found that many corporate B2C sites fall far short of reaching their potential to build consumer relationships while supporting branding efforts and product sales. The report concluded that tools such as promotions, premium services, clubs, and other online innovations have been overlooked by most corporations.
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