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From the editor-in-chief – October 2017

From the editor-in-chief

In this brave new world of joined-up retail, customers come brands, retailers and products any place, any time anywhere. They might be browsing a retail website in search of an item from their mobile phone, but equally they might be looking at products on Instagram or catching up with friends on Facebook when inspiration strikes. Enabling shoppers both to act on their inspiration, and to communicate with retailers through the channel that’s most convenient to them is what successful retailers now do.

European retailers at the cutting edge in this IREU Top500 Brand Engagement Performance Dimension Report are working hard to reach out and engage with existing and potential customers across Europe. In this IREU Top500 Performance Dimension Report we analyse how they’re doing that. We focus both on the cutting edge, where leading retailers are setting a direction of travel, and on the mainstream, looking at how the ‘average’ retailer is responding to a world in which shoppers are more willing to use a variety of devices to shop, and to shop across geographical borders in search of the right item, thanks to a new confidence that retailers will deliver on the promises they make around easy ordering and convenient delivery. The reality that this uncovers is that the average lags far behind the cutting edge, and that many retailers have yet to move beyond their own markets and benefit from the opportunities that a joined-up European market has to offer. That should be exciting, since it shows how much is to be gained by taking the initiative in this area.

In this report we take a performance-based approach to metrics that range from the channels that retailers use to communicate with their customers, be that email, social media, telephone or blogs, to the ways that they enable customers to share their feedback publicly, whether’s that via product reviews, star ratings or social media.

Insights contributed by InternetRetailing Knowledge Partner Hitwise tell us what proportion of visitors come to Top500 websites via search engines, helping us to understand the importance of both SEO and paid search to brand engagement. We thank them, and all our Knowledge Partners, for their time and generosity.

As in our all research, these metrics will certainly develop over time and we’re keen to hear your opinions on how that might happen. Do get in touch if you have metrics to suggest or datasets to contribute towards our work in 2018.

Ian Jindal


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