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Transforming Retail Awards – category profile – Most Promising Newcomer

The Retail Insider 2021 Transforming Retail Awards is now open for entries. Each week we will be profiling one of the categories available to see which kind of companies have entered and won over the past four years and to see if we can spot any themes emerging.

This week we are looking at Most Promising Newcomer – a category which is perennially popular and where the list of winners over the four years have all gone on to achieve big success.

In 2017 Syte.ai, which uses algorithms to allow consumers to search for individual items on one marketing image, Mention Me, that powers retailers’ refer a friend marketing programs and Starcount which was founded by the legendary data analyst for the Tesco Clubcard Edwina Dunn and analyses customer data to predict future buying behaviour, all battled it out for top dog. However, it was finally Mention Me that triumphed and the company has since gone from strength to strength now powering the referral sites for 450+ brands globally.

Refer a friend company Mention Me is among previous winners

The next year saw a similarly varied bunch of shortlisted companies. The Great British  Exchange offers a route to market for small and artisan British brands through partnerships with the likes of Ocado, John Lewis and Amazon while Street Bees runs focus groups that upend traditional market research procedures in favour of in the moment reaction from consumers. But it was finally the disruptive warehousing firm Stowga that really impressed the judges with its completely new business model offering flexible and short term commercial storage lets.

2019 gave judges an extra difficult time with a total of five companies shortlisted. They ranged from Shopappy which put the local high street shops all on one app to the innovative location mapping company Pointr which digitizes the footprint of a store to help customers navigate. Also in the mix was Entrupy, a tech-driven way of authenticating luxury goods which prevents fraud by taking a microscopic image and comparing it to a database of millions of images with a 99% accuracy rate and the drop-shipping platform Avasam. It was close but the judges finally went with Zynstra. Another technology innovation which allows retailers to centralise management and set up self-checkout systems at speed.

2020 winner Infarm

In the year of Covid 2020 there was unsurprisingly a medical innovation DNA Nudge in the running. It consists of a DNA analysis test which is then used to nudge consumers towards healthier life choices. Stitched, the online blinds and curtains manufacturer, captured the spirit of the year when they mobilised an army of factory workers who were unable to work in lockdown to make its bespoke curtains at home but the eventual winner was Infarm which is now increasingly seen in our department stores and supermarkets – the judges loved its sustainable and remotely-controlled in-store gardens where customers can pick fresh salad and herbs.

We are hoping for another excellent set of entries in this category in 2021 – whether you are a big company, a tiny start-up, or a tech firm advising retailers please email christina@busicomm.co.uk to ask for an application form and more information now. It’s completely free to enter. Good luck!