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Our Metrics

Our research covered seven Performance Dimensions:

FOOTPRINT: UK retail turnover, ecommerce turnover, web reach and store estate of retail businesses give the ‘heft’ and a preliminary rank. We then modify and weight that analysis through consideration of the following Dimensions:

STRATEGY & INNOVATION: the extent to which the retailer is adapting for growth, international commerce and customer responsiveness

THE CUSTOMER: measuring the experience from the customer’s point of view

OPERATIONS & LOGISTICS: delivery, returns, collections

MERCHANDISING: displaying and describing

BRAND ENGAGEMENT: making their brands familiar to the customer and connecting with them

MOBILE & CROSS-CHANNEL: beyond single ecommerce or store channels


We’ve ranked the UK Top500 in statistically similar groups. Elite retailers have performed at an exceptional level across all Dimensions, statistically separate from the subsequent clusters. In 2018 they are Amazon , Argos , Boots , Marks & Spencer , Screwfix and Tesco . Our congratulations to new entrants Argos and Screwfix and to Amazon, Boots, Marks & Spencer and Tesco for retaining their positions. Together with Leading retailers, these retailers, combining both size and capability, represent the leading edge of UK multichannel retail.

Top50 retailers bring us to the 50-retailer point and represent the current standard of UK best practice in ecommerce and multichannel retailing, exemplifying RetailCraft at its best. Between the Top100 and the Top500, retailers are grouped in a way that expresses their measured performance in a way that goes beyond their variation in size, reach and turnover. Throughout 2018, we will be continuing our testing and measurement of the whole group, with our findings contributing to the 2019 ranking.


Our current system started with the IRUK Top500 in 2015. Since then, research methods and metrics have developed steadily. The criteria regarded as cutting edge this year will necessarily differ from those of last year, since many one-time innovations have now moved firmly mainstream.


We could not have done this research without the generous advice and practical help of our Knowledge Partners. We thank Brand View for sharing data on the Top500’s price strategies and the information they provide on product pages; BuiltWith for tracking the Top500’s websites and providing information on the software used, such as ecommerce platform and payment methods; and Edited for measuring apparel retailers’ product sell-through rates, as well as discounting strategies and stock turnover. Thanks to Geoblink for its dataset on the location of physical stores and the demographics of people who live nearby; Hitwise for sharing data on website interaction and the demographics of visitors; and NCC Group for measuring the performance and load times of Top500 websites on mobile and desktop browsers.

We are also grateful to Poq , for researching the features and capabilities of the Top500’s mobile apps; to Return Path for measuring the email interaction that retailers enjoy, including how often they send emails, and open, deletion and marked-as-spam rates of those campaigns; and to SimilarWeb for sharing data on the visits and interaction that Top500 websites receive. We thank them all for their knowledge, hard work and generosity in approaching this project and look forward to sharing more of their findings over the coming year.


Congratulations once more to the InternetRetailing Elite retailers for 2017: Amazon, Argos, Boots, Marks & Spencer, Screwfix and Tesco.

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