Transforming Retail Awards – category profile – Delivery Innovation of the Year

Calling for entries now for 2021 Awards

The Retail Insider 2021 Transforming Retail Awards is now open for entries. Each week we will be profiling one of the categories 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 the theme of delivery which never becomes irrelevant no matter which era we are in. Back in 2020 three companies made the final shortlist. Swyft was a revolutionary new sofa-in-a-box design involving patented smart locks that clipped the piece together in 10 minutes and meant less packaging, less delivery time, less space used, and only one delivery person needed to deliver it.

Swyft: a sofa delivered in a flat pack box

A very different initiative from Polymer Logistics – reusable shopping crates – also made the grade. However, the judges’ favourite in the end was the entry from delivery firm DPD Group. It won for a host of new customer-focused ideas centred on its app, which the panel felt went above and beyond putting the customer at the centre of their own delivery requirements.

Likewise in 2019, we had a diverse mix of both virtual delivery options and physical. Charity donation outfit GiveBackBox was appreciated by the judges as it took the problem of the endless waste packaging from all our online deliveries and designed a free charity collection scheme where the empty box is filled with charity donations and posted free of charge to a charity of the consumers’ choosing. However, the real battle turned out to be between the big players – Sainsbury’s, Ocado and John Lewis who all vied (two of them using the same technology firm Stuart) for top spot with various ideas to solve the ‘last mile’ problem. It was John Lewis/Waitrose that won for While You Were Away – the first UK pilot to provide delivery into the home where groceries are put away while the customer is absent.

Retail breakthrough: While You Were Away from Waitrose

The previous year Waitrose had featured again – this time with another in-home idea – the wine tasting whereby Waitrose staff visited the customer’s house to deliver and present the wine to the guests. Alongside that was Stowga, which offers warehousing on demand for its clients, and Built which came a very close second with its technology-driven builders’ depot. On the day however the judges favoured the letterbox flower delivery company Bloom & Wild for its highly forensic delivery analytics technology.

In the inaugural year of the awards 2017 there were some truly global companies represented. Both Deliveroo and Amazon Prime Wardrobe were shortlisted along with Starship for its automated delivery vehicles. Deliveroo, which was just developing its dark kitchens, now so ubiquitous, emerged triumphant setting the bar high on future years.

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 to ask for an application form and more information. It’s completely free to enter. Good luck!