From the editor-in-chief


WELCOME TO THE latest IREU Top500 Performance Dimension Report, on Merchandising, which we’ve defined as the art of selling products online. Here, we examine the way that retailers from across the European Economic Area, plus Switzerland, approach a task that relies on communicating the product – for customers who fully understand the product are more likely to buy. Compiling this report, InternetRetailing researchers have measured traders’ ability to communicate their products through the use of imagery, information and customer feedback via ratings and reviews, and through social media sharing. They’ve also assessed how easy traders made it to find products, through search, navigation and fast checkout, while considering how far retailers localised content to different markets.

I believe this Dimension Report offers detailed insights into how leading retailers set out their online stalls – and what it takes to succeed in this key area of retail best practice. This in turn means retailers can use the report’s insights to benchmark company performance within the wider European ecommerce and multichannel retail industry, while also using its insights to reveal areas where there’s room to take action to boost competitiveness.

This report is part of the IREU Top500 series of Performance Dimension Reports. It builds on research that first started by identifying the leading Top500 UK multichannel and ecommerce retailers, and then moved to analyse their performance through six Performance Dimensions: Strategy & Innovation, Merchandising, Brand Engagement, Operations & Logistics, Mobile & Cross-channel and The Customer. We’ve subsequently expanded the scope of our research from the UK market to the wider European market. At a European level, the scale of the challenge for retailers is much larger, since it encompasses not one but 32 markets, with 26 official languages. We aim, therefore, to learn from the hard data produced by the InternetRetailing research team, in partnership with our valued InternetRetailing Knowledge Partners, and to see how retailers make their merchandising initiatives work at scale across the continent.

We believe that in this report we’ve highlighted and analysed some interesting findings that should provide food for thought. We hope that our readers will share our interest and find this a useful resource as they look towards a European market that offers high potential rewards alongside the undoubted challenges of doing business. We always enjoy hearing from readers about their experience of trading in Europe, and their suggestions for how we can improve our research. Do get in touch.

Ian Jindal