Merchandisers working to expand retail businesses beyond their domestic European markets have an important job to do to explain and sell their ranges of products to a new audience. These new visitors may be used to different approaches to illustrating and explaining products. They may rely on certain tools, from social sharing of a product to reading or writing a review, to aid their decision-making process.

Meeting those expectations is important for retailers: put simply, these may well be the tools that encourage new visitors to buy. When these new approaches are combined with the existing approaches that retailers employ to great effect in their own domestic markets, expansion becomes not only a means of garnering new sales but a highly effective catalyst for positive change. By bringing together what works in different countries, each retailer can potentially improve their approaches in all their markets. As more retailers do so, we may well find that we move towards a more common standard of European merchandising.

This IREU Top500 Merchandising Performance Dimension Report focuses on the work of those that are currently at the forefront across the region, pointing to effective practices and case study examples of approaches that really work. It also highlights practices that are more widely used – and perhaps therefore expected by consumers – in different parts of the large European Economic Area.

This Dimension Report exists not only to draw attention to the best. It’s also a tool that all traders can use to benchmark their own work and take from it merchandising strategies that will work in the new markets that they are targeting.

We’ll be continuing this research into European merchandising performance in the future. It’s likely that the metrics we use to judge performance will change as customer expectations and competition between traders trigger new approaches. We’ll continue to adjust our research approach as we do so – and we look forward to the task of understanding and communicating the development of this key retail discipline over the years to come.