Welcome to the inaugural InternetRetailing Europe Top500 ("IREU 500") report. The ’Footprint’ is the first step in research that will ultimately see us assess and rank Europe’s top multichannel and ecommerce retailers. It’s research we’ll be conducting at a time when top UK retailers see Europe as a key market for growth. In turn European retailers and brands eye the developed and dynamic UK market as an opportunity – even a challenge – for expansion.
With different languages, varied cultures and a rich retail heritage, the European nations are bound by common interests and, of course, common legislation. Payments, delivery, consumer rights, contract law have their subtleties and frustrations, but in general we have an open and harmonised trading bloc.
In the wake of focusing on British retailers for the IRUK 500, published in January, it’s a natural development to extend our research to the 31 countries of the European Economic Area plus Switzerland. Our approach this time around will see us focusing on the customer: the sites that she visits, the store names and fascias she sees, the brands she searches for. The customer’s perception will outweigh corporate structures and holding companies. We’re going to focus on the retailing touchpoint, even though we’ll consider the management of these entities at a later stage in our research.
Following the customer also entails a cross-country view. While the customer has a localised view, her reach is international. Maltese customers need to look to other countries’ retailers to buy online, while 80% of the top retailers in the Czech Republic are based there – with many variations between these extremes. As we move from the overall footprint to performance we’ll see that smaller retailers with a large local footprint may be compared with retailers of global scale – all in the quest to find those whose retailcraft sets them apart from peers, competitors and emulators.
This Footprint is the first part of our IREU rollout. This sets the cohort of some 800 companies that we will monitor and research in depth, across six Performance Dimensions. We will determine the Top500 for 2015 and announce these at the 10th annual InternetRetailing Conference in October 2015.
It’s my pleasure to thank our research team, readers, the supplier community and advisers for their contribution thus far to the ecosystem research, and I look forward to the ideas and challenges ahead in coming to a view on retailcraft in Europe.
InternetRetailing’s European shortlist is only available in the pdf and print versions.
I invite you to share your views, ideas and critique with me at [email protected] or via [email protected].