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From the editor-in-chief – September 2016

WELCOME TO OUR first IREU Top500 Performance Dimension Report, which places brand engagement in the context of the European Economic Area, plus Switzerland. In it, we’re looking at how retailers that trade in this area first raise awareness of their brand and then go on to develop relationships with existing and potential customers through search, email marketing and social media.

At heart, brand engagement is a two-way process that enables retailers both to communicate and to listen, to explain and to learn. That task is inevitably more complex in a European market of 32 countries and 26 official languages. We’ve set ourselves the challenge of mapping and understanding the practical approaches that leading retailers take when they raise awareness of their brands in important European markets, and then when these retailers go on to talk to potential and existing shoppers via a range of channels.

We look at how easy merchants make it for shoppers to ask them a question or to tell them what they think – whether it’s a complaint or praise – and at how engaging and responsive these retailers are in return. Taken together, all of this plays an important role in raising awareness of brands as they expand beyond domestic markets in order to grow sales across Europe.

This Dimension Report is the latest iteration in a research programme that started by identifying the leading Top500 UK multichannel and ecommerce retailers, and then moved to analyse their performance through six Performance Dimensions: Strategy & Innovation, Merchandising, Brand Engagement, Operations & Logistics, Mobile & Cross-channel and The Customer. We’re now taking that approach to Europe, where we aim to learn from the hard data produced by our research team, working in partnership with InternetRetailing Knowledge Partners, how brands and traders successfully extend business reach in order to work at a continent-spanning scale. At the same time, we aim to identify and share the lessons that can be learned from that experience. For us, this seems a daunting and yet fascinating challenge. It’s one we’re looking forward to taking on, and we hope that our readers will share our interest in these findings.

As always, we want to hear what our readers think – so please do share your thoughts.

Ian Jindal


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