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Introduction - Research

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The way that retailers communicate with existing and potential customers has changed enormously in recent years. Now that, as our research shows, 98% of Top500 retailers have not only Facebook but also Twitter accounts, enabling customers to get in touch via social media is surely a basic requirement?

Retailers at the cutting edge are those enabling shoppers to use live chat from their mobile phone app, a convenience unthought of just a few years ago.

Meanwhile, our research finds, most retailers now enable customers to say exactly what they think of a product that they bought via ratings and reviews. This adds up to a brave new world of transparency: browsers can see both sides of two-way conversations when they’re deciding which items to buy, and which retailer or brand to buy from. Running the type of operations that can easily open themselves up to this level of daily scrutiny is a challenge for retailers but it’s also an opportunity – to communicate values, beliefs and approaches with an audience that is increasingly receptive and that wants to hear from those that it spends with.

In this IRUK Top500 Brand Engagement Performance Dimension Report, we’re looking at what leading UK retailers are doing to give their customers the level of communication that they want. We’re analysing what the Top500 are doing as a group to find out how standard practice is evolving in the UK market, while also focusing in on top retailers to understand what makes the difference for those at the cutting edge.

Our aim is that retailers of all sizes can use this report both to benchmark their own approaches and to understand what tools are proving to be the most effective for businesses across the industry. We hope you find it useful.

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