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From the editor-in-chief – July 2017

Welcome to the latest IRUK Top500 Dimension Report, on Merchandising. It’s a timely focus that aims to show the ways that retailers, faced with time-pressured consumers and increased competition for their attention, are using technology to ensure that what they present to customers stays relevant.

In this area, InternetRetailing research considers how retailers display and inform shoppers about their products. While these are the measures that underpin good merchandising, it then needs to be developed through the use of cutting-edge technology. After all, it’s the essential understanding of what a product is like, and whether it fits their needs, that ultimately persuades a shopper to buy.

Customers get the best view of a product through details such as high-quality images, detailed product descriptions and third-party reviews and ratings – all among the metrics that our research team has used in an approach designed to understand performance.

In the coming pages, we look at how leading retailers in this Dimension are going beyond this solid foundation to deploy technology that not only allows customers to understand all products within a range, but also lets them see all the items that are most relevant to them.

There’s a focus on content, since shoppers are increasingly inspired by ‘people like me’ on social media, whether that’s someone who has posted a picture on Instagram or who has blogged about an item. Similarly, style and buying ideas often come from the looks of celebrities and what they wear or tweet about.

We’re also looking to inspire action, with examples and commentary on what retailers are currently doing well. We look to leaders in this Dimension and related fields for practical examples of what works, through case studies, interviews and in our 12 approaches that work feature.

This Dimension Report flows from IRUK Top500 2017 research, in which we’ve benefited from the valued input of our skilled Knowledge Partners. We’ll be going on over the course of the year to look more closely at our remaining Performance Dimensions: Strategy & Innovation, The Customer and Operations & Logistics.

As always, we want to hear what you think, whether you have views on the metrics we’ve used, if you have suggestions on how they could be improved, or if you have experience of an innovative approach that you think is working for you. Please do share your thoughts.

Ian Jindal


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