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It’s now more than four years since InternetRetailing first started tracking retail strategies and performance in the IRUK Top500. By doing so, we wanted to find out what leading UK ecommerce and multichannel businesses did that others did not. What were the tools and technologies that set high-performing retailers apart?

Comparing this year’s findings with that first year, there’s a strong sense of steady improvement. Click and collect continues to be a key metric for RetailX research in this strategy and innovation dimension. Back in 2015, 44% of Top500 retailers offered click and collect. In 2018, the rate has risen to 62% – and 22% offer same-day pick up. In 2015, we monitored the payment options that retailers offered: researchers judged a retailer to be advanced if they offered one alternative payment option. Today, as payment has developed, these are the norm. This year, rather, our metrics include whether or not a retailer has augmented reality in its mobile app, and whether click and collect orders are fulfilled same day.

Our research metrics have changed as technology adoption rates have increased among leading retailers, resulting in some once pioneering technologies moving from desirable to simply expected.

Consumer expectations have changed at the same time: now shoppers expect that they’ll be able to buy wherever, whenever and however they want – and very often they can. Today, as we saw in the strategic overview, shoppers still expect to be able to buy in a store, as well as online, over their phones and no doubt they’ll soon expect to have voice commerce enabled. It’s inevitable those expectations will change, and our research metrics will change too as we track the ongoing evolution of retail.

You may already be seeing services and features that you think are significant but that we haven’t tracked this year. Let us know. We’re always interested in how we can extend our research and improve the quality of our findings in this area. Is there a new or emerging tool or approach that you consider vital and that we should monitor in future reporting? Get in touch with your ideas and any potential datasets via or tweet @etail with #IRUK500.

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