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Total, utter helpfulness

Comment: IRUK 500 –  approaching RetailCraft

Comment: IRUK 500 – approaching RetailCraft

Ian Jindal has been asking for help, and pondering with amazement how lovely, helpful and giving are the people in our industry.

The lot of an Editor in Chief is to be permanently asking for things. Begging, borrowing, wheedling, asking. Being an EIC is not actually to be an Editor (Magazine readers who see the fruits of our wonderful Emma Herrod’s work will be pleased about that). It’s an odd title for an odd role – starting things, mobilising others, asking yet others for help: finger here, pie there; bird, bush, hand… you get the picture.

Many readers will be familiar with the call suggesting that they may like to give up their time, prepare a presentation and share their insight with industry peers at our Annual Conference. In this issue you’ll see the calibre of people contributing to and know that these aren’t idle people waiting for a diversion. It’s extraordinary that an industry exists where busy, knowledgeable leaders give their time to share with others. With IRX (Internet Retailing Expo) on the horizon we have 8 whole-day conference streams that depend upon leaders’ generosity, but as you’ll see there are many people who give of their time.

This summer, though, we have hit the big time with the InternetRetailing Top 500 research. Our own research established the ‘Footprint’ back in March – the size, reach and ‘heft’ of the UK’s largest retailers. For our ranking to deserve the title of “top” we are assessing retailers on more than just their size. We’re looking at six dimensions of performance that together create the ranking.

We’re combining primary research with the input of our advisory board and the qualitative assessment of hundreds of our readers – to them all our thanks. However, last month I was stunned by the generosity of a contributor who through her work regularly assesses the performance of retailers across some 90 contact points and actions over the course of the order, delivery and returns process. Knowing of this work I asked – with my Cheeky Hat on – whether I could use some of the research data within our own research. The answer stunned me. Not only was there an immediate “yes, of course”, but when I explained our approach there was an offer to amend their work schedule and activities to cover off material that would help in our research. Oh, and to top it off I was offered historical data for comparison.

Helpful? Extremely. However, if you’re used to niceness I hope that you’re seated as you read this. When I asked what I could do in return (I was thinking of a thank you, an ad, some promotion, name in lights) the answer was “nothing, thank you”. We had an interesting project, they were happy to help. They helped. I can’t credit them in lights, but I will say that there’s a person reading this (let’s call her Reader “S”) who has a halo.

Last week, I asked a very busy Multichannel Director whether he’d be willing to help me out reviewing this data and calibrating what’s important commercially. I gave little notice and as expected his PA said he had no time even to meet (let alone ‘squeeze in’ the 3 hours to review and discuss). However, later that night I received a text saying that he’d look over the material one evening and would happily contribute.

It’s a wonderful reminder, as we return to our desks and the madness of peak trading pressure, that even as we work so hard to perform for our businesses and customers people are so willing and giving within our wonderful industry. At InternetRetailing we’re not unique – a cursory glance at your inbox will show any number of other events where people are helping too.

As we unveil the Top500 for the UK we hope that thanks to the input of our advisors, assessors, contributors and research partners the work will ring true this October. Before that, however, I wanted to take time in print to say a massive and heartfelt “Thank You” to those whose total, utter helpfulness has gone above and beyond the calls of politeness or common sense. Without you our work would be less fun, our industry would be less vital and the pace of progress (for our businesses and the customer) would slow.

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