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Update 1: Product and Merchandising Tracker

Sports Direct and Ocado update investors on their multichannel strategies

Ocado, Boots, and Debenhams lead the field for merchandising deployment in the first edition of the IRUK 500 Product and Merchandising Tracker. The Tracker monitors Elite and Leading Top500 retailers across six product categories. Fragrance retailers and those selling FMCG goods were most likely to offer large discounts, revealed the Tracker, which was researched in collaboration with Brand View .

Merchandising performance was assessed on several criteria, including the retailer’s inclusion of product reviews, and the use of videos and images in product listings. Product descriptions were also considered. Grocery and fragrance retailers had the best merchandising performance (Table 1) but also featured among the biggest discounters (Table 2). In addition to being merchandising deployment leaders, Boots and Superdrug also made significant discounts.

Table 1: Merchandising Deployment Leaders – June 2016

1 Ocado Grocery
2 Boots Fragrance
3 Debenhams Fragrance
4 Sainsbury’s Grocery
5 Superdrug Fragrance
Taking account of the percentage of range with reviews, descriptions, product videos, and images; and the average number of images per product.

Homebase’s range is the most-reviewed of the five DIY retailers tracked in this study – nearly 60 percent of its products have received customer feedback according to the Tracker, which covers both FMCG and general merchandise. Argos’ range, meanwhile, enjoys the greatest use of videos compared to the same group – nearly 14 percent of products have a demonstration video. The most advanced merchandisers present their products to a consistently high standard. Most of their products have multiple display images. Reviews and ratings share space with product reviews and ratings. Additional information is easy for the customer to come by and some products have unusual enhancements, such as demonstration videos.

“One of the key hurdles ecommerce retailers face is that, unlike bricks and mortar stores, a shopper cannot physically see or touch the products,” said Chris Elliott, insight analyst at Brand View.

“Comprehensive and accurate product content such as product videos is critical in allaying shopper uncertainty about a purchase. US Toy manufacturer Step2 found that shoppers were 174 percent more likely to purchase a product when they had viewed a product video.”

Tesco Direct’s toys and games selection has the greatest number of images per listing at 4.5. The average is 3 for all 26 retailers with six sectors included in the study.

Table 2: The Biggest Discounters – June 2016

1 Boots Fragrance
2 Superdrug Fragrance
3 Appliances Direct Appliances
4 Mothercare Toys
5 The Entertainer Toys
Taking account of the percentage of products on promotion and the average depth of cut.

The fragrance sector’s five retailers had the biggest average depth of cut and the largest average number of products on promotion, compared to other sectors. Appliances Direct promoted nearly all (96 percent) of their appliances range at some point during the month. Very, whose fragrance range was measured, was the only retailer with a larger share of products on promotion – 99 percent.

Related: Access the UK Top500 Merchandising Report (July 2016)

About the Product and Merchandising Tracker

InternetRetailing partners with Brand View to analyse the approach to discounting and product display adopted by the UK’s top retailers across six categories of retail. The Tracker covers products in the Appliances, DIY, Electrical, Fragrance, Grocery, and Toys sectors and is updated periodically.

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