REPORT Europe’s e-commerce is faster, broader, closer to customers

jeff-bezos-quote-bookstores“Selling into new markets is about more than language. It’s also about localisation through content that reflects the local culture”, writes Steven Ledgerwood, UK Managing Director at Emarsys, in the report “IREU Top 500: A performance ranking of Europe’s Top500 ecommerce and multichannel retailers”.

The report is the first Europe-wide retail performance index, ranking the Top 500 most significant multichannel and eCommerce retailers from 31 countries (the members of the European Economic Area – EEA plus Switzerland), based on their performance across seven dimensions:

  1. Footprint
  2. Customer
  3. Operations and Logistics
  4. Merchandising
  5. Brand Engagement
  6. Mobile and Cross-channel
  7. Strategy and Innovation


IREU Top500 research shows that, as a group, leading European retailers are often starting to foster cross-border trade, but have by no means completed the task.

The average IREU Top500 trader sells not in 13 currencies but in two, and in three languages, rather than the 26 that are possible in the region. New ecommerce rules proposed by the European Commission in May 2016 aim to encourage cross-border ecommerce by tackling geoblocking, making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient while at the same time encouraging trust among customers through better protection and enforcement.

Learn from Europe’s best

The largest top 10 retailers, based on the seven dimensions in the report, are:

  1. Albert Heijn
  2. Amazon
  3. Apple Store
  4. Argos
  5. Asda
  6. Auchan
  7. A.S. Adventure
  8. Bershka
  9. Boots
  10. C&A


12% of the top 500 online shops from Europe have activities in Romania. And a record: the IKEA online shop has the lowest loading time from all the shop’s websites (~2 seconds). The web pages load the fastest in Europe in Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands.


Top 5 for the fastest standard delivery:

  1. Germany
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Switzerland
  4. Belgium
  5. Poland


Some figures and lessons:

  • Germany is the most competitive market for returns, with most retailers operating in this market offering pre-paid returns, followed by Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden.
  • Carrefour is a major retailer in France, Italy and Belgium, and also sells online via dedicated ecommerce websites in Poland, Romania, Greece and Spain. But it’s only in Italy that Carrefour’s delivery service really stands out. Here, customers can pick up their shopping from a number of store locations as quickly as one hour after placing an order – and they can do so for free.
  • Spanish-owned Zara rates highly for impressive standards of pan-European customer service. It delivers the same standard of services across the 28 EEA countries that it serves in 23 languages, while a global system of shopper feedback across its operation means that designs and services can be adjusted in the light of comments.

In the conclusion of the report, Emarsys confidently predicts that more retailers will be selling to more markets, and using more languages and currencies to do so. They expect that customers will inevitably find new products and styles that they once discovered only on holidays but which are now becoming ever easier to buy closer to home, at the touch of a button.