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Editors’ comment – December 2017

Customer expectations are already well ahead of the service they often receive and pushing retailers of all sizes continuously to improve. The service the retail sector offers has already developed fast over the years, but now we see it moving forward very quickly indeed. In this IRUK Top500 The Customer Performance Dimension Report, we’re looking both at where the retail industry is now in terms of the customer service and experience that it offers, and at how it may develop in the future.

We do that in several ways. First we set out the context for this report in our strategic overview. We look at new approaches that are coming to the fore in our emerging practice feature, which focuses on how retailers are using in-store events, services and experiences to give a new lease of life to the store at a time when more business is moving online. We then explain and share our research. In our analysing the numbers feature, Martin Shaw, head of research at InternetRetailing, explores in detail the metrics that underpin this Dimension Report, while in the new research feature, he looks at how successful Top500 websites are in attracting customers from different demographics.

Our final step is to provide hands-on, practical examples of how leading retailers are developing their strategies. We do this through an interview with Stuart Ramage, ecommerce director at Dixons Carphone , which focuses on how the retailer manages and develops the customer experience at Currys PC World . We also hear from James Backhouse of Evans Cycles on how it’s using bike rides to forge new omnichannel links with customers. We analyse the performance of retailers, including Topps Tiles , Boots , Debenhams and M&S , through case studies, then look at 12 innovative approaches to the customer experience and to customer service.

You’ll find the full listing of the Top500 as well as the listing of the leading retailers in this Dimension. We hope you find this Dimension Report useful and we look forward to hearing your feedback on this approach, and on any ideas that you have for our future explorations of this subject.

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