The Q2 2022 benchmarking report for UK convenience stores has just been published. Learn how the top 8 UK convenience stores perform across the digital space.
4th July 2022
The latest Q2 2022 benchmarking report for UK Convenience stores has just been published. It covers the largest 8 national convenience stores, including Premier, Spar, Budgens, One Stop, Nisa, McColl’s, Londis, and Costcutter - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other convenience stores to win brand exposure locally, online orders and in-store footfall. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key take-aways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each brand based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will under-perform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance.
We noted that convenience stores generally are very strong when it comes to avoiding website errors, particularly when compared to other sectors we have reviewed. However, Nisa’s significant 627 4xx errors when crawling their website makes them an unfortunate anomaly! Nisa must ensure that users are not being directed to dead ends on their site, which could lead to them turning elsewhere out of frustration.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates.
For convenience stores, mobile page speed is especially important as users looking for stores near them will, most likely, be on a mobile device. In our research, we discovered that none of the eight convenience stores in our report achieved even an ‘okay’ score of 50-89, indicating that all these brands have some serious work to do on improving their mobile page speed.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gage of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, ie. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads.
Domain authority is considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. ‘Good’ DA score depends on the competition level of the industry. However, a ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing. In our research, UK convenience stores saw their domain authorities range from an excellent score of 63 to a reasonable score of 43, from McColl’s. Though a score of 43 is still a strong achievement, McColl’s should focus on building a stronger backlink profile to compete with those at the higher end of this scale.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions.
Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We found that all but two UK convenience store chains have achieved year on year growth in mobile traffic. Concerningly, Budgen’s and Premier Stores are the only brand to lose traffic YoY, dropping 6% and 10%, respectively.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a brand can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings.
People Also Ask questions seem to be the most popular universal search result UK convenience stores are optimising for, with Spar achieving 377 People Also Ask Results (the most of all brands). However, convenience stores generally appear to be underusing any universal search opportunities, with appearances clocking into the hundreds, rather than thousands.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for brand new search terms as they enter Google’s index.
Costcutter are ranking for no long tailer keywords in positions 1-3. Though Costcutter are ranking for 2,727 long-tailed keywords overall, nearly all of these are ranking outside the top 20. Costcutter should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing long-tailed keywords, but also at how they can expand their strategy to include new specific search terms.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.
Below, we can see examples of Costcutter’s Facebook ads. They’ve used bold, strong, creative to capture the attention of users, including the deals & prices on the images themselves. However, their use of the 👏 emoji between letters could cause hidden problems for those who use screen readers. Their text designed to highlight ‘shop local’ will be read by a screen reader as;
“S clapping hands H clapping hands O clapping hands P clapping hands L clapping hands O clapping hands C clapping hands A clapping hands L”
Advertisers must ensure that all web content they create is accessible and easy for everyone to understand and encounter.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your brand engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time.
With convenience stores stocking a range of products, there should be a wide variety of content opportunities for these brands to jump on. However, while many of these brands are showing a consistent content output, Londis and Costcutter are both lagging behind when it comes to content production. This is a missed opportunity for these brands, who could be sharing recipe content, getting involved in the social media cleaning craze, and sharing information about special offers.
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere.
Compared to many sectors we have reviewed, convenience stores appear to have reasonably accessible sites with fewer errors than we typically see. However, brands which are still seeing errors, such as Londis’ 19 contrast errors should still be reviewing and optimising their accessibility.
User Journeys & Conversion Rate Performance
3.42 seconds are all it takes for a user to judge a site solely on its appearance. For sites with a low clarity score, this means users are getting a poor impression of your brand and aren’t seeing your vital cues to convert.
Budgens achieved the best clarity score of 84%. However, with One Stop and Nisa only slightly behind, on 81% each, Budgens have plenty of opportunity to widen this gap and ensure their website becomes even clearer and easier to use.
Additionally, we use attention maps to judge user behaviour and assess how customers are interacting with a site. You can see from these examples just how wildly different site designs can impact user attention;
Q2 2022 Winners and Losers Summary
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 8 convenience stores on, check out our quick-look table below;
If you want to explore how you can improve your performance relative to your competitors, reduce media spend wastage and drive more performance from less, read the 10 Week Performance Accelerator Programme for CMO’s & Marketing Leaders.
Get the full 70-page Report
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Phil Robinson.