Top firms branded Web failures

Many companies are failing to communicate the nature of their business via their website, according to a survey by new media communications group Incepta Online.

FTSE-100 companies in the manufacturing sector are guilty of “diabolical digital behaviour” that results in almost 80 per cent of Internet users abandoning sites after 1.5 minutes in “sheer frustration”. And companies are failing to communicate effectively with online audiences by not understanding their needs, acc-ording to 67 per cent of participants.

The survey, which polled 500 UK Internet users, revealed seven “deadly sins” at the heart of this miscommunication. These include lack of contact information, overuse of jargon, outdated information, lengthy request forms, and complicated e-commerce functions.

One-third of respondents believe websites to be the most accurate communications medium ahead of television and print. In spite of this, 64 per cent of respondents claimed that companies use jargon and communicate their business proposition in a confusing way.

The findings could have serious business implications as 95 per cent of respondents said the presence of these website sins affected their opinion of the company.

Meanwhile, Dragon Brand Consulting says leading brands are being badly let down by their websites.

Dragon’s study covered 60 packaged goods brands across 18 sectors using The Grocer’s Top Product Survey. Dragon senior consultant Steve Adams says: “Brands often develop the most amazing websites without thinking about what the consumer wants and expects from them. Many brands don’t seem to have grasped the fact that two-thirds of the UK population now use the Internet.”

Dragon assessed sites on criteria that included functionality, accessibility, contactability, technical performance and speed of information.

A “surprising number” of big brands, such as Diet Coke and Kit Kat, scored poorly, mainly because they focused on lifestyle content instead of the product. However, smaller brands such as Warburtons and Müller were “clear winners” with a much broader audience appeal.

“Consumers want transparency and they want a brand to support their buying decision,” says Adams. “Not allowing them to find out basic facts, providing contact information or a site that takes too long to load will turn them off – after all, the competition is only a click away.

He adds: “We were also surprised that 22 per cent of the brands we researched had no Web presence for the UK market – big brands such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Batchelors and Magnum. How are consumers supposed to get fast, reliable information on a brand if there is no website?”

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