Learn how Retail Week measured retailers’ digital capabilities.

Retail Week has reviewed digital competence among the leading UK retailers through a strategic audit, for retailers to benchmark themselves and gain actionable insight.

What did the rank incorporate?

Retail Week Indicator measures the digital capability of 176 leading retailers in the UK across nine sectors, from fashion to food and grocery. While the methodology is focused on customer-facing digital capabilities, financial performance was also assessed.

The list of retailers was derived from Retail Week Prospect’s coverage, including pureplay retailers, multichannel retailers and those without a transactional website.

Retail Week defines a retailer as an organisation that actively sells a product directly to a customer through an intended destination – whether this is a store or a website.

Retailers were ranked on over 150 capabilities determining their digital strengths and weaknesses.

In total, 30,000 data points were analysed.

The data was collected through a combination of desk-based research and store visits in March 2019.

To ensure the data was collected comparatively, Google Chrome was used for all desk-based research and an iPhone was used for all device-based and application-based research. Android was used for application-based research only where retailers have launched Android applications.


Retail Week determined a set of customer-facing criteria required for digital competence. This was established in collaboration with an advisory board of retailers across different sectors.

The criteria were divided into four performance categories: marketing; logistics and customer services; cross-channel; and ecommerce.

We believe the four categories represent the total customer digital experience across all areas of a customer’s shopping journey. Including financial performance as well provides insight into whether a retailer’s investment has shown through in trading.

A score was assigned to each criteria and categories were weighted in line with discussions with our advisory board.

In total, each retailer was scored against a set of 155 criteria points, including two key financial measures. Financial calculations are based on the latest available accounts for each retailer as of March 2019.

To enable ease of use, the scores for each category and the combined overall scores for each retailer were then converted into scores out of 100 and ranked to allow retailers to benchmark themselves across each performance category and across the full range of digital capabilities.

Each retailer was assessed individually against the criteria with no subjective views.

When a retailer sells multiple categories, such as a department store, an average was taken across all relevant categories.

Pureplay retailers and those without a transactional website were assessed in the same way as multichannel retailers. However, pureplay retailers were also ranked separately without including 21 of the criteria in the cross-channel category – as seen in the pureplay rank.

While Indicator was conducted in 2018, the results for 2019 are not directly comparable. The retail industry has undergone unprecedented change over the past 12 months and we wanted to make sure Indicator was relevant for today. This required amendments to the criteria points that retailers were scored against, as well as including additional criteria from our collaboration with Google.

Further information

For any further information, please contact Luke Tugby, deputy editor at Retail Week.