Unlike most consumer categories, brand sites in the spirits industry cannot serve as a point of purchase, and brands must have a clear strategy to determine which site features warrant investment. Brand sites should support three key objectives: attracting customers through search-optimized content, serving as the best-in-class source of product information and seamlessly handing shoppers off to points of purchase.Ultimately, brand sites must effectively guide users to points of purchase.
Brand sites tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Spirits accounted for 38% of referral traffic to Drizly over the past year, meaning consumers actively use brand-owned sites to then convert on retailer platforms and leaders see store locators constitute a significant portion of on-site traffic. Brands that fail to effectively integrate handoff see viewers bounce from the site to non-retail sites at a higher rate. While brands generally meet the basics of handing consumers off to online retailers or brick-and-mortar locations, only 54% surface these handoff calls to action effectively by placing them above the fold on product pages—a key touchpoint during the consumer journey.
Furthermore, 13% provide neither retailer handoff nor a store locator, leading consumers to a dead end with no logical next step down the funnel. Index leader Johnnie Walker surfaces handoff touchpoints across multiple areas of its brand site, which means that 96% of all site visitors find their way to a preferred online retailer. Additionally, the store locator is the fourth most visited page on the brand site, after the homepage and two popular products. Prioritizing site handoff and closing the gap between product research and purchase helps this brand earn its Genius ranking.