Welcome to this first IREU Top500 Strategy & Innovation Performance Dimension Report. In the following pages, we look at how retailers and global brands are currently approaching trade in Europe. There’s a distinct emphasis on the word ‘currently’, in the knowledge that the UK’s vote last June to leave the European Union may well affect the way that both retailers and shoppers behave in the future. With that in mind, we’re taking a snapshot of current trade that may prove especially intriguing when we look back at this research in years to come.
More generally, this Dimension Report looks at how retailers are pursuing strategies that InternetRetailing researchers consider to be key. To what extent are the IREU Top500 retailers internationalising and localising their businesses? Do they have an outward focus expressed through local websites, languages and currencies? Are they offering innovative cross-channel services that bridge the gap between the online and the offline worlds in overseas markets as well as at home? Are they retreating into domestic territories, focusing on serving home customers, as they defend their businesses, rather than looking beyond national borders for opportunities? We’ve already noted in our IRUK 500 work that Brexit could prove a great disruptive moment in the early 21st century, both at home and in Europe, and in this Dimension Report we look for the early signs of that disruption. We’ve also said that disruption can foster innovation, and we look for evidence of this at the same time.
None of this detracts from a highly practical approach to analysing what works for leading retailers in this Performance Dimension, and the lessons that others can take from those examples. In the coming years, we’ll continue to consider the new and emerging questions that face the leaders of Europe’s leading ecommerce and multichannel businesses, while also looking at how new ideas and technologies are helping to foster innovative approaches to retail.
We’ll continue to assess the way that retailers trade in what’s likely to be a highly volatile retail environment by putting the hard data of InternetRetailing research into a wider, and practical, context.
As always, we’re interested to hear from our readers about how they think we should judge and understand retail strategies – do share your thoughts.Ian Jindal