This year, perhaps more than any, the RetailX Top500 UK report is a tribute to the ingenuity of retailers who have worked tirelessly to serve customers over the course of the last 12 months. The experiences of those months have challenged brands and traders as never before. Covid-19 and Brexit have exerted harsh pressures on an industry that continues to be moulded and to reshape under that pressure. What has emerged is a resilient industry that can meet the needs of the most vulnerable, while continuing to serve those now working in very different ways and whose lives have changed enormously.
There have been times when delivery – and supply – has been difficult, but retailers have come through for the communities that they serve. New ways of serving customers, unthought of a year ago, have been embraced. Retailers are now using delivery methods they may not previously have thought of using, from bike delivery to click and collect to the car, to ensure that customers get the goods they rely on – and do so safely. At the same time retailers may have reset customer expectations around delivery times and how they can engage, enabling them to trade more efficiently and profitably.
That change is only set to continue and perhaps intensify over the coming year. At the time of writing, the UK market is once more in lockdown. It’s a brave forecaster who can say with certainty where retail goes next. The hope is that a newly vaccinated population will emerge, ready for new adventures and new ways of shopping.
Retail will stand ready to serve as their customers take up new habits and rediscover old ones – and, just as it always has, it will no doubt continue to change the way it does so. We look forward to recording that progress, both in our research and our news coverage, online and on our broadcast channels. As always, we’re interested in how we can extend our research and improve the quality of our findings. Get in touch with ideas and potential datasets via email@example.com or tweet @RetailX.