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This latest edition of IRUK Top500 research is interesting for the way in which it seems to show both growth in the adoption of broadly popular retail tactics, such as enabling click and collect from store – but at the same time a decision to drop more sophisticated versions of those approaches.

It’s clear that while most Top500 retailers now offer collection, a significant number have taken individual decisions not to offer same-day and/or next-day collection, or to enable returns to third-party shops. They’ve opted not to use social sharing and to share ‘likes’ on product pages, to name but a few approaches that proved to be less common in 2019 than in 2018.

This suggests that these approaches were either not useful, or that they were not cost-effective for the retailers that offered them and that they have now chosen not to deploy them as a result. That retailers have sometimes made this change in large numbers – 19pp fewer retailers offered next-day collection in 2019 (24%) than in 2018 (43%), for example –  suggests that having been tried, such approaches have not passed the test of usefulness, or affordability. It’s about deciding what works and is worth doing, and ruling out that which doesn’t pass that test as retailers adapt to the changing way in which customers now want to buy.

Over the coming year we’ll continuing our research and mapping the changes that retailers make, while presenting our findings in more detail through six Top500 Performance Dimension Reports that mirror the sections of this report. We’ll be considering what leading retailers in each dimension do well, what tools they use – and how others can apply these learnings to their own businesses.

All of that, we hope, makes this IRUK Top500 series of reports a useful tool for retail businesses looking to understand how they can improve their own approaches to selling both online and across sales channels.

As always we’re interested in how we can extend our research and improve the quality of our findings. Get in touch with your ideas and potential datasets via or tweet @etail with #IRUK500.

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