SOURCE: Blast Radius

November 26, 2007 09:19 ET

Blast Radius Reveals America's Best Online Experiences

As Cyber Monday Kicks Off the Holiday Shopping Season, New Report Offers Insight Into 25 Companies' Online Strengths and Pitfalls

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 26, 2007) - Interactive strategic agency Blast Radius today released findings from its America's Best Online Experiences 2007 report, which takes a deep dive in evaluating the customer experience offered by 25 of the country's top consumer goods companies.

This year's top player in the apparel category is Levi Strauss & Co. while Apple is the leader in the computer electronics and office equipment category. Blast Radius partnered with Informa Research Services to conduct the research and used an outside-in approach, focusing more on qualitative and anecdotal results than the sales and marketing tools typically applied for measuring Web site effectiveness.

How the research was conducted

Blast Radius researched the top 25 companies as defined by Fortune 500's America's Largest Corporations in the categories of Automotive; Apparel; Household and Personal Products; Consumer Durables; and Computer Electronics and Office Equipment. A panel of Blast Radius experts tested the sites for considerations such as ease of navigation, degree of engagement and interaction quality.

Next, Informa's "mystery consumers" visited the online destinations to search for products, utilize the sites' social shopping perks (product wikis, social networking, tagging), make purchases, and return products, to evaluate the companies' delivery on the full spectrum of customer experience. Three individual samplings, or shopping trips, were conducted for each site, and the experiences, anecdotes and interactions were recorded and assessed alongside the findings from Blast Radius' panel of experts.

Overall criteria considered were: awareness of the brand; appeal of the site; enabling selection and comparison; assistance with purchase decision-making; purchase and transaction process; loyalty as shown by repeat purchases and visits.

Highlights from research findings include:

Newell Rubbermaid's Sharpie brand was rated not only as the top performer in the Consumer Durables category, but also amongst the 25 companies evaluated by both the Blast Radius panelists and mystery consumers. Key features noted in the research include excellent site navigation and savvy visual design. Overall the site received an 84 percent rating for strong product display and for creating a compelling extension of the brand's identity. Mystery consumers also noted the site's generous promotions and giveaways, including everything from Disney vacations to scholarships which fits well with the brand's target market of children and families.

   --  In the Apparel category, Levi Strauss & Co. came out on top.  Worth
       calling out are the site's cross selling features, which present
       shoppers with suggested accessories and other clothing items to
       complement the items they are considering for purchase.

   --  In the Computer Electronics category, Apple was the leader as
       panelists and mystery consumers enjoyed guided tours of the latest
       products, pointing out that the language and tone throughout the
       site was true to the Apple brand.  Apple also offers iPhone
       downloads for ringtones and Sudoku, which give consumers an
       incentive to visit the site and to return in the future.  Dell and
       Gateway tied for second place in this category with features like
       live chats and online learning centers.

   --  Standout Companies from the Automotive and Household and Personal
       categories include:

        --  Volkswagen -- key feature: creative build-a-car feature that
            went above and beyond competitors' offerings (spray cans apply
            paint when a color is selected and consumers can consider every
            detail from interior to sport rack)
        --  Kleenex by Kimberly Clark -- key feature: nice tie between the
            site to the brands current "Let it Out" TV campaign

"Online magic happens when a brand becomes a forum for sharing interests and passions," said Gurval Caer, CEO and president, Blast Radius. "This transforms consumers into fans and fans into advocates who spread the good word, doing more for a brand than any ad ever could. Working together, consumer and brand then create content, tools and services that serve the cause. This report identifies and calls out the brands that embody these experiences."

Room for improvement

Across the board, there was a large performance gulf between brand awareness and purchase and transaction. This is likely attributed to the fact that these major corporations have come to rely on their strong brand recognition and solid reputations. This may explain the inclination to lean on these strengths rather than to put more effort into ensuring that the purchasing process is as engaging as the rest of the online experience. Looking ahead, Blast Radius' panel of experts project that consumers will continue to demand and expect more from their experiences online, may it be product searching or online purchasing. Excellent delivery on the full spectrum of the customer experience will go hand-in-hand in strengthening the equity of a reputable brand.

The report "America's Best Online Experiences 2007 -- Consumer Goods Industry" can be downloaded at http://blastradius.com/pdfs/america_best_online_experiences_2007.pdf

About Blast Radius

Founded in 1997, Blast Radius (www.blastradius.com) is a strategic interactive agency that builds long term relationships with major consumer-facing brands to deliver innovative and profitable customer experiences that realize the promise of the connected world. It does this by combining business savvy, experience design, and industry-leading technologies, including its on-demand Customer Experience Platform.

Based in Vancouver and with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Amsterdam and London, Blast Radius works with companies such as AOL, BMW, Electronic Arts, Heineken, Intrawest, Jenny Craig, Newell Rubbermaid, Nike, Nintendo, Philips, Vodafone and Whirlpool.

Blast Radius is a member of The Wunderman Network: the original and most diverse marketing services network in the world.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Brian Mitchinson
    Blast Radius
    (604) 647-6555
    Email Contact

    Media Contact:
    Elizabeth Rizzo
    SHIFT Communications
    (617) 779-1845
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