Like the Food & Beverage group in general, Consumer Products companies sell some of the most recognizable brands that span global markets and cultures — and feed millions of people worldwide every day. These companies spend billions of dollars annually on multi-media advertising and social marketing campaigns to reinforce corporate branding and gain mind share among consumers. But how well do their websites work?

To find out, the siteIQ team conducted Usability Index evaluations using the Consumer Products version of the siteIQ Best Practices Usability benchmark. This benchmark includes 161 questions across three major categories and eight distinct sub-categories.

These questions measure the overall practicality, versatility, and convenience of any given website. A second review recategorizes the 161 questions into 16 unique Usability Dimensions that illustrate how sufficiently each website allows users to achieve common tasks, objectives, and goals.

The results of these evaluations allow the team to rank and rate each site to determine the winner overall. This case study announces key findings for the Consumer Products industry segment based on Website Usability and Website Usability by Dimension scores. 

The websites evaluated in this segment include: ConagraBrands.com, DeanFoods.com, GeneralMills.com, HormelFoods.com, KraftHeinzCompany.com, LandOLakesInc.com, TheHersheyCompany.com, and TreeHouseFoods.com.

Industry Findings 

At first blush, the results of our inaugural Consumer Products evaluations seem pretty unremarkable. These site’s overall scores rate as average at best, sub-category scores are standard, and Usability by Dimension averages frequently fall below 65%. But a deep dive into the data reveals that there’s more going on with these websites than meets the eye.

In fact, this view shows that there are a startlingly high number of cases where Consumer Products sites post scores that are close to — but just miss — the Good Practice target. This is especially interesting because it means that these sites are relatively useful and effective for visitors despite their moderate overall scores.

It also means that — in some cases — these sites could be optimally effective for visitors if usability improved only slightly. This is particularly true of TheHersheyCompany.com and General Mills.com, which are 0.5% or less from the Good Practice target in roughly a quarter of the sub-categories and a third of the Usability Dimensions.

Similarly, ConagraBrands.com, HormelFoods.com, and DeanFoods.com each display an impressive number of scores that are close to the Good Practice goal. In total, Consumer Products sites are less than 1% shy of Good Practice status in forty-one separate instances, which is second only to Specialty Retailer websites, which are less than 1% away from the goal in seventy-five cases.

Unfortunately, each of these sites also perform poorly in at least one other area, which adversely affects overall scores and contributes to the Average Competitive Ratings that most Consumer Products sites receive. Each site struggles to provide effective Search Features & Facilities — and KraftHeinzCompany.com doesn’t offer any search at all. Also, Thoroughness of Content is an issue for approximately half of all tracked sites, as is User Encouragement.

At the end of the day, TheHersheyCompany.com ranks first based on Overall Website Usability, but its victory is hardly a slam dunk. GeneralMills.com trails by a mere 0.6% and could easily close the gap if improvements were made in any of the areas where the site is currently close to the Good Practice target.  For that matter, any one of the other sites in the Top 5 could knock TheHersheyCompany.com out of first place if current usability challenges were addressed.

Thus, it’s anyone’s guess how future Consumer Products evaluations will play out. Mostly, though, we’re curious to see how these sites evolve over time — especially since the teams managing them already seem to be headed in the right direction.

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About the siteIQ Usability Index

siteIQ evaluated the 20 Food & Beverage Websites listed on the 2020 siteIQ Usability Index. These Websites are categorized into four industry-specific segments including:

  • Beverages (CBrands.com, Coca-Cola.com, KeurigDrPepper.com, PepsiCo.com)
  • Consumer Products (ConagraBrands.com, DeanFoods.com, GeneralMills.com, HormelFoods.com, KraftHeinzCompany.com, LandOLakesInc.com, TheHersheyCompany.com, TreeHouseFoods.com)
  • Food Production (CHSInc.com, Ingredion.com, Sysco.com, TysonFoods.com)
  • Food Services (Darden.com, McDonalds.com, Starbucks.com, Yum.com)

These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2020 edition of the siteIQ Usability Index Best Practices Benchmark, which tracks results in 8 sub-categories and 16 Usability Dimensions.

The 2020 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2020.

Category: Index Rankings

Class: Website Reviews and Rankings

Websites Profiled: siteIQ Usability Index Websites – Food & Beverage Industry

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