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Editors’ comment – October 2016

AS COMPETITION INCREASES in an ever-more crowded multichannel retail market, innovations that help to improve the customer experience, in areas from delivery and collection, to better search and a new approach to social media, help the retailer to stand out from the competition.

But innovation on its own is not enough. New features and functionalities must work for existing and new potential customers if they are to be taken up at scale, helping to build first sales and, in turn, profits. The key to this lies in well-planned strategies that start with customers – from how customers want to shop to what they want to buy, whether they are in the UK or in other international markets. These strategies will vary, depending on whether the target customers like to buy via smartphones, whether they want to go to the store or whether they prefer fast delivery or convenient collection.

In this report we identify the Top500 UK retailers that are proving most effective in the Strategy & Innovation Performance Dimension. We interview Emma Mead, ecommerce director at Holland & Barrett (page 22) to find out how the health and wellbeing retailer is defining and targeting its audience in order to grow ecommerce sales as the retailer targets £1bn turnover by 2020. We look in case study detail at successful companies in this Dimension, from Amazon and House of Fraser to John Lewis and Debenhams , analysing what their examples say about best practice in this area. In addition, we have 12 hands-on examples of effective approaches that leading retailers and others in related industries are taking.

Our research team explains in analysing the numbers and new research how they’ve approached the task of measuring, quantifying and grading retailers on their performance in Strategy & Innovation. Their results are set out in a full listing of the Top100 retailers in this Dimension. We set the wider context through our strategic overview and consider how new point-of-sale (PoS) technology will impact on multichannel retailers in our emerging practice feature. We’ve found this a stimulating and interesting area to research, and we’re confident that readers will want to act on some of the insights uncovered here.

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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