Like the Food & Beverage group in general, Beverage 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 Beverage 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 Beverage industry segment based on Website Usability and Website Usability by Dimension scores. 

The websites evaluated in this segment include Cbrands.com, Coca-Cola.com, KeurigDrPepper.com, and PepsiCo.com.

Industry Findings 

There’s no sense in sugar-coating it. The results of our inaugural Beverage evaluations are pretty cut and dry — Pepsico.com wins the segment by a near 3% margin and is the only one in the group to show signs of hope in areas that are critical to the tenet of every Beverage website. That said, even PepsiCo.com displays some serious usability issues that prevent it from being optimally useful and effective for visitors.

Every Beverage website suffers at least one usability challenge, which means these sites as a group are merely adequate for users. Unfortunately, a review of scores by sub-category reveals that the most problematic areas are also the most critical to achieving core objectives.

In particular, search features are completely missing from two of the four Beverage sites we track — and are highly problematic for the other two. This leaves users with no — or limited — options for locating desired information if site navigation fails them — and at least one site’s Navigation & Architecture score suggests that’s a distinct possibility.

More troublesome, however, is that one site is utterly void of any product marketing information, which means it’s completely missing the opportunity to effectively promote the parent company’s extensive — and impressive — line of brands to visitors. Additionally, one other site uses its product marketing pages as placeholders that link visitors to external brand-specific sites rather than simply delivering information, which is counterintuitive to common convention.

Not surprisingly, these issues interrupt a visitor’s ability to research Beverage companies effectively, locate information about their products, comprehend marketing messages, find useful resources, and to make a purchasing decision. Sadly, this is corroborated by poor scores in a slew of Usability Dimensions, including Ease of Locating Content & Features, Thoroughness of Content, Ease of Using Resources & Features, Usefulness of Resources & Features, and User Encouragement.

So, while Beverage websites may be relatively useful and effective for visitors, they are far from operating at optimal levels. On a positive note, the level of performance that Beverage sites display puts them on par with other sectors in the Food & Beverage industry including sites in the Food Production and Food Services segments.  Unfortunately, this also means that more than half of all the Food & Beverage sites we track are a long way from being fully effective — and a good number of those sites are prime candidates for website benchmarking if they’re ever to be considered suitable for all levels of users.

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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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