Conclusion

 

IN RESEARCHING AND updating the InternetRetailing Top500, it’s been fascinating to observe developments within the sector. In particular, and this is something we have found with the IRUK Top500 too, we notice time and time again how cutting-edge practices are adopted by other retailers. Within multichannel retail and ecommerce, today’s innovations quickly become industry standards – where, that is, retailers can see a business benefit.

That’s not to say that all European retailers are performing at the highest level. Retailing at scale requires a combination of imagination, planning and resources. In this context, the six Elite retailers we’ve identified – Apple [IRDX RAPL], Boots [IRDX RBOO], H&M [IRDX RHAM], IKEA [IRDX RIKE], Nike [IRDX RNKE] and Zara [IRDX RZAR]– have all got the mix right for their particular sections of the markets.

This latter point is especially important because, while elements of best practice cut across these retailers, each has its own unique approach to serving its customers. Boots, for example, has its hugely successful loyalty card, Nike enables customers to personalise new trainers, Apple connects channels brilliantly and so on. These companies aren’t Elite retailers just because they do lots of things well, which they do, they are Elite companies because, in areas of retail practice that really matter in their markets, they are measurably better at what they do than their competitors.

Whether they will still be rated as Elite retailers next year is another matter. As we’ve already noted in these pages, it takes continuous improvement to maintain the highest standards. Again, as we’ve already noted, there will be another factor playing in here over the next year: Brexit. To look at this from the perspective of retailers based outside the UK, even the possibility of a hard Brexit may be great news as British retailers scramble to cope with a world where tariff s are placed on exports and the pound plunges. Considering the patient, long-term work German and Scandinavian retailers in particular have undertaken to develop multichannel off erings, they may be among the benefi ciaries here.

However, things may not be that simple. In the medium term, it may be that British retailers focus more on European operations, innovating in order to solve the problems a hard Brexit causes. This may actually increase competition. Even next year, when we update the IREU Top500 again, we may get early clues as to which outcome seems most likely.

Mentioned in this piece…

Apple

Apple

IRDX: RAPL

Apple is a US-based multinational consumer electronics manufacturer that designs, develops, and sells mobile devices, computer software and personal computers. Apple retails through its eCommerce site, Apple.com, and through a global chain of stores. (more…)

Boots

Boots

IRDX: RBOO

Boots is a pharmacy chain and multichannel retailer with outlets on most high streets throughout the UK and Ireland. (more…)

H&M

H&M

IRDX: RHAM

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. H&M exists in 53 countries.
The first store was opened on the high street of Västerås by Erling Persson, in Sweden in 1947. (more…)

IKEA

IKEA

IRDX: RIKE

IKEA is a Swedish company registered in the Netherlands that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories. The company retails through physical stores, catalogues and its webstore. (more…)

Nike

Nike

IRDX: RNKE

Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development and worldwide marketing and selling of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services. (more…)

Zara

Zara

IRDX: RZAR

Zara is a Spanish clothing and accessories retailer based in Arteixo, Galicia. It is the flagship chain store of the Inditex group, the world’s largest apparel retailer. (more…)