Now open 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.

This week we tackle the Best Connected (aka Multi-Channel) category – a very modern way of looking at retailing but one which retailers have really been forced to take up during the pandemic if they were not doing it pre-Covid-19.

It is obvious to see how quickly this area has developed when one compares the shortlist of the first year to last year’s. Back in 2017 Starbucks’ then very new mobile order & pay app was shortlisted along with Farfetch’s ‘Store of the Future’ platform and the tech company GoInStore, which pioneered video-led retail. Things like that now look like standard features but were innovative just four years ago. Starbucks eventually won that year.

Best in show 2017: Starbuck

In 2018 GoInStore were once again in the shortlisted entries as it expanded its reach across a wide variety of brands. This time it was joined by a very small-scale operation – the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green which impressed judges with the way it used social media to drive sales. Third on the list was fashion profiling company Dressipi which uses peronalised data to enhance the customer experience and improve ROI for retailers and finally Amazon Home which allows customers to add to their shopping basket a package of installation from a trusted professional at the time of purchase of a product. It was Dressipi that caught the panel’s eyes for its impressive and immediate impact on conversion rates for retailers.

The following year Made.com came away with the trophy for its seamless combining of the virtual and physical worlds in its revamped showrooms.  It fought off tough competition from the IKEA Place app, which allows customers to place furniture in their actual surroundings on their phone to see how it looks, and a virtual selling team created by toyshop The Entertainer. Also doing very well and just pipped was the tech firm OneStock for its work with clothing retailer Jigsaw allowing it to fulfil online orders direct from shops.

Sarah McVittie, co-founder of Dressipi, recieving her Award for Best Connected company in 2018

In a steady evolution the 2020 awards showcased the best of the high-tech mergers of physical and online retail such as Samsung’s flagship store in King’s Cross while OneStock was once again shortlisted for its work with Whistles on inventory management across all channels. But it was the John Lewis Partnership that influenced the judges most positively. Its Covid-led virtual experiences and appointments across multiple sectors including beauty and home was deemed a real game-changer to last beyond the pandemic.

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!!