A new study released in January 2021 has ranked UK retail the top industry sector for digital maturity for the first time - with nine out of the top ten UK companies’ retailers, with Ocado (Ranked 1.), Curry’s PC World (Dixons Carphone) (2.), ASOS (3.), M&S (4.) and Argos (5.) leading the list of the UK’s Top-Ten Digital Leaders across all sectors.
Fashion retailers, Boohoo (8.) and Zara (10.) also featured in the top ten, with the report highlighting that digital product experience is a strength amongst these companies. Although UK companies scored an unsatisfactory average score of 2.6 for digital marketing, the study found that ASOS, with a score of 4.01, was the best performing company in this dimension.
The study says that while fashion remains one of the UK’s best-established and developed industries, there remains significant potential for digital growth and development:
- Fashion e-CRM – the fashion retail sectors e-CRM score was low. Expanding customer propositions to include live-chat support and call services would improve this score. In the luxury space this includes developments in clienteling with personalised customer service.
- Augmented Reality (AR) - fashion retailers should also explore using AR to showcase products with avatars and sizing guidance. This technology not only enhances the customer experience but also reduces retailer returns.
UK Digital Leaders Study 2021, published by management and technology consultancy, BearingPoint, analyses 390 companies across seven countries (79 companies spanning seven different industry sectors in the UK) – revealing the UK’s digital maturity, and each firms’ digital presence and areas for development. The research is based on 239 best practice criteria in four digital dimensions – digital marketing, digital product experience, e-commerce, and e-CRM. The study also found that all UK Companies ranked second for their digital maturity compared to the other seven countries in the study.
Stuart Higgins, Partner at BearingPoint, said: “Retailers lead the way on digital maturity in the study, dominating the top 10, and boasting the digital leader for the UK in the ranks. However, this is no time for retailers to rest on their laurels with customer expectations evolving at pace, now is the time to double down on digital.
Whilst fashion retailers are focusing heavily on the digital product experience, there are significant areas for improvement within digital customer service and digital marketing strategy to remain globally competitive. Our study found a number of underutilised aspects of digital marketing including display advertising, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-per-Click (PPC), which are independently complex processes.”
Curry’s PC World (Dixons Carphone) – leading in non-food retail
The highest scoring non-food retail company is Curry’s PC World (ranked 2nd overall), who also led in the digital product experience and e-commerce dimensions. The BearingPoint study says that one area which differentiated Curry’s PC World was their sales support, using chatbots and having a variety of call options, including ShopLive which enables an online customer to have a video call with a member of staff in store.
The study’s Top Ten UK Digital Leaders ranked the digital maturity of leading retailers out of five as follows:
- Ocado - 3.56
- Curry’s/PC World – 3.51
- ASOS - 3.51
- M&S – 3.46
- Argos - 3.45
- John Lewis – 3.45
- Tesco – 3.42
- Boohoo – 3.39
- EE (Telcos) – 3.38
- Zara – 3.37
For more information about the Digital Leaders Study and to access the report and results, visit https://www.bearingpoint.com/en-gb/our-success/digital-leaders/
 The seven countries included in the study were - the Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, and Ireland.