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From the Editor-in-Chief (IRUK 2016)

Our metrics

Our research covered seven Performance Dimensions:

0 Footprint: UK turnover, ecommerce penetration, web reach and store estate of retail businesses gives the ‘heft’ and a preliminary rank.

We then modify and weight that analysis through consideration of the following dimensions:

1. Strategy and Innovation: the extent to which the retailer is adapting for growth, international commerce and customer responsiveness

2. The Customer: measuring the experience from the customer’s point of view

3. Operations and Logistics: delivery, returns and collections

4. Merchandising: selling online

5. Brand Engagement: making their brands familiar to the customer, and connecting

6. Mobile and Cross-channel: beyond single ecommerce or store channels

Performance clusters

We’ve ranked our Top500 in statistically similar groups.

Elite retailers have performed at an exceptional level across all dimensions, statistically separate from the subsequent clusters. The seven in this group in 2016 are Amazon UK , Argos , Boots , House of Fraser , John Lewis , Mothercare and Screwfix . Our congratulations to the three new retailers in this cluster, and to Amazon, Argos, House of Fraser and John Lewis for a second year at the top of UK cross-channel retail.

Leading companies are by most measures out in front, and combine both size and capability. Top50 retailers bring us to the 50 retailer point and represent the current state of RetailCraft in the UK. Taken as a group the strength and capability of the UK industry can be seen in this cohort.

Throughout 2016, we will be continuing our testing and measurement of the whole group. Stand-out performance and improvements in each Dimension will be published monthly at least, and contribute to the 2017 ranking.


All judges and judgment systems are fallible, and our research is no different in that regard. But with a starting point of the IRUK Top500 2015, we have refined and developed our research methods and metrics. At the same time, criteria that were differentiators last year – when, for example, click and collect was a measure of innovation – are no longer, as such innovations become the mainstream. We could not have done this research without the generous advice and practical help of both our Advisory Board and our Knowledge Partners.

Knowledge partners

We thank SimilarWeb , whose web insights platform rendered the data for web traffic; OneHydra , which analysed Google search data to find how visible each retailer was compared to competitors; and Wiser , which tracked best-selling products and pricing against the Amazon benchmark for the largest 50 retailers, enabling us to understand pricing and competition at the top of the industry. BuiltWith gave us a detailed breakdown of the ecommerce technologies used for each Top500 website. Edited analysed apparel retailers’ offering and discount strategies in order to give a better understanding of selling operations specific to that sector.

GTmetrix contributed analysis of load times and page size for the mobile and desktop landing pages of the Top500; and Poq researched the retail app market, providing a unique dataset on how app features affect conversion, browsing time and average order value. Return Path analysed the content of the largest retailers’ emails, open rates and interactions.

While we thank them all for their knowledge and hard work, it is the enthusiasm, the spirit of partnership and flexibility shown in working with us that has been most gratifying. We look forward to sharing more of their exceptional work throughout 2016.

Top retailers

Congratulations once more to the InternetRetailing Elite retailers for 2016: Amazon UK, Argos, Boots, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Mothercare and Screwfix.

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