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Editors’ comment – August 2016

WHEN SHOPPERS SEARCH online for products they start conversations. The retailer that can most quickly and accurately answer the questions that customers pose during the course of these conversations is most likely to win the eventual sale. It’s through merchandising that retailers best answer shoppers’ questions – by showing relevant results when consumers search sites, by ensuring navigation is easy to use, and by offering full product details and strong images of wares.

In this Merchandising Performance Dimension Report, we look at how leading UK ecommerce and multichannel retailers use merchandising within their businesses – and how others can follow their example.

Merchandising is one of the six key themes through which we analyse the work of the InternetRetailing UK Top500 retailers. Today’s retailers are going beyond the store and deploying the power of digital to sell across the website, mobile devices, and through other channels, including social media and the call centre. Understanding and finding techniques that address the complexity of this retail landscape is key to success in modern retail.

We set the context for our analysis of the market in our strategic overview, which looks at the way merchandising approaches are developing in the UK, assessing the latest trends and more.

We’ve taken a research-led approach to identify the leaders in the field and what they do to stand out. Our analysing the numbers feature looks at the varying approaches that Top500 retailers take to merchandising, from the use of navigation and relevant search results through to the deployment of cross-selling, upselling and more. We look in greater detail at the way fashion retailers in this Dimension manage stock, from how quickly items sell through to how effectively traders replenish stock, in research carried out in partnership with Knowledge Partner Edited.

We look at leading retailers in this Dimension in more depth through our lead interview with Sam Perkins, merchandising director of Shop Direct, and a series of case studies. We focus on 12 practical approaches that Top500 retailers, and other companies too take in this field. We then look at Henry Eccles of Google discusses the idea that online advertising may constitute a significant new revenue stream for retailers.

Overall, we’ve captured a picture of an industry that’s more and more using personalisation and data analysis to win customers.

We’d like to thank all the Knowledge Partners who have contributed their expertise and insights in both this and previous Dimension Reports. We welcome your thoughts on new areas of research as we add to our primary data and analysis. Please email: and Jonathan Wright and Chloe Rigby, Editors

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