Transforming Retail Awards – category profile – Most Intelligent Use of Data

Now looking for entries…

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.

Today we are starting with the award that some people probably think is the least popular. The Most Intelligent Use of Data category which is, of course, not in the least unpopular!

Given the paramount importance of customer data it is little wonder that this is in fact one of the most populated awards of all. At the inaugural 2017 awards the accolade went to Shop Direct’s Very Assistant which was then the first use by a UK-based retailer of a WhatsApp chat style customer interface. It ran a close race against Geoblink, which helped businesses centralise all their data, and the work that Blue Yonder did on Otto’s demand prediction technology.

In 2018 the field was similarly crowded with a shortlist consisting of fashion data site Dressipi, grocery tech giant Ocado and Nosto’s personalisation work for accessory brand Knomo. On the night it was however Graze that won – not then quite the supermarket shelf stalwart it is now and just prior to its Unilever buyout. The panel admired the speed and flexibility of its consumer monitoring site which recorded reactions to new snack combinations and analysed them according to gender, geography and so on.

Graze receiving their award in 2018

It was all change in 2019 as one of the big boys, McDonald’s, won hands down against competition from JD Wetherspoon which was nominated for its ‘talking for the blind’ menus, Unmade’s on-demand clothing for Rapha, Chattermill’s customer experience work with Bloom & Wild and the personalised pet food from

What did the panel admire so much? Again it was the reactive speed and sheer potential of what Dynamic Yield could do for the retail behemoth. The software allowed McDonalds to instantaneously change prices and menus, to upsell or promote certain products in light of changing circumstances like traffic jams, weather or events.

Finally, last year during the pandemic there were still no shortage of entrants. A strong shortlist included Fuller’s which used the Wagestream technology to help its staff through cash shortages, 3D Look digitised the human body to ensure consumers are always sent the right fit and For Good Causes which allows customers to donate unused loyalty points to various charities. However, eventually it was FarFetch and Optimizely which won out for their joint partnership on an experimentation platform allowing the fast-tracking of design ideas including customer feedback.

We are hoping for another excellent set of entries in this category in 2021 – email to ask for an application form and more information now. Good luck!!