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Axminster Tools & Machinery has recently been listed in the top 250 ecommerce and multichannel retailers as detailed in the Internet Retailing UK (IRUK) Top 500 report 2017, moving up a level from the top 350 group where the company was placed in 2016.

Axminster is now in the same group as well known brands such as Harvey Nichols, Ralph Lauren, Reebok and Yankee Candle. The company is also higher up the list than other familiar names including Fortnum & Mason, Iceland, The North Face and Plumbase.

The IRUK research team has looked in depth at the UK’s leading ecommerce and multichannel retailers, comparing and contrasting the capabilities of these top-level traders to see where and how the best retailers excel.

IRUK has taken an analytical approach that ranges across six Performance Dimensions. By doing this, IRUK aims to understand and learn from high-performing retailers what best practice is in this highly competitive market, and how it can best be fostered and encouraged in other businesses across the industry. This combined capability is what is referred to as ‘RetailCraft’ and constitutes a striving for excellence that’s responsive to the customer.

Six performance dimensions were measured:
1. Strategy and Innovation: the extent to which the retailer is adapting for growth, international commerce and customer responsiveness.
2. The Customer: measuring the experience from the customer’s point of view.
3. Operations and Logistics: delivery, returns and collections.
4. Merchandising: displaying and describing products with efficient site navigation.
5. Brand Engagement: making brands familiar to the customer and connecting.
6. Mobile and Cross-channel: beyond single ecommerce or store channels.

A seventh performance dimension was also applied: Footprint. This covers UK retail turnover, ecommerce penetration, web reach and store estate of retail businesses. IRUK then modify and weight this analysis through consideration of the above six dimensions.

Axminster attributes this result to a committed web, social media and digital marketing team. Dedicated customer service and logistics teams are strong, with the company averaging 9.7 out of 10 on Trust Pilot. With its eight stores across the UK, face-to-face retailing is still strong too.

Managing Director Alan Styles commented “The results of this research are very interesting. They are based on a set of criteria we’ve been focusing on and improved upon.”

Alan went on to say “On sales and market penetration, we’ve had very competitive pricing on power tools. We have linked our product expertise to helping customers with solutions for their businesses or hobbies with information and videos on our website, and through our trained sales team via webchat, by phone, in retail or through a field based team. We are also running a national TV campaign together with door-drop leaflets in selected areas of the UK.

“In the area of strategy and innovation, we have a website that is mobile friendly, adapts for export and has good information and links. From the customer experience aspect, service and quality are vitally important, and remain a key priority. On the logistics front, we use quality carriers who offer excellent features, and we have continued with the £1 delivery. We have a strong brand, dynamic pricing and multiple stores. I think we should feel extremely encouraged to have moved up within a year from the top 350 to top 250.”

View the full list here.

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