10 years at the top

House of Fraser, McDonald’s, Shop Direct, Specsavers, Doddle and BookingBug were among the winners at the 2015 Retail Systems Awards, which took place in London during October

The event kicked off with a welcome speech by Scott Thompson, Editor of Retail Systems, who noted that the Awards was into its 10th year. “Wow, 10 years and I’ve been around for nine of them which in no way makes me feel old. Oh no. So many entries, so many judges, so many glasses of wine and champers consumed on the night and so many hangovers to contend with the next morning,” he commented. He was followed on stage by stand-up comedian and comedy writer, Jo Caulfield, who, in her opening routine, took an irreverent look at the retail sector in 2015, including the perils of personalisation. “It’s all the rage these days for retailers to talk to you about your day, isn’t it? I don’t want to talk to you, that’s why I shop online,” she said. “I was in Marks and Spencer recently and the teenager serving me asked what I had planned for the day. I thought I would mess with his head by saying, I’m having a smear test. I went back in the store a couple of weeks later and said to the staff members, excuse me, is Callum around? He was very interested in the results of my smear test!”

Caulfield then presided over the awards ceremony, with the 2015 Hall of Fame looking like this…

EPoS Innovation of the Year
This UK startup officially launched its AppStore earlier this year, making hundreds of business-boosting web services accessible to hospitality, retail and beauty firms nationwide. Epos Now’s work on the AppStore helped them beat three other companies in the running for EPoS Innovation of the Year 2015, including big hitter First Data Merchant Solutions.

Hayley Johnson, COO, Epos Now, says: “The EPoS Innovation of the Year Award has a solid reputation, celebrating hard work, commitment and technical advancements in EPoS. With last year’s award going to Tesco Labs (the grocery giant’s innovation hub), it’s a great achievement for a young company like ours.”

Supply Chain Solution of the Year
Booths, a regional supermarket in the UK, partnered with RELEX Solutions to implement a new supply chain system while completely overhauling replenishment of its 31 stores across NW England. The prime objective was a radical cut in spoilage, improved promotions and a fresher produce offering to customers. Booths IT and e-commerce director Andrew Rafferty says: “We are thrilled to have been recognised by these prestigious awards. We have a complex and varying supply chain with considerable inventory ranging from chilled and perishable to preservative free. We have worked hard with RELEX to make our supply chain as agile, efficient and transparent as possible. We have been able to cut spoilage and manage our seasons and promotions more effectively and to have the success of our IT project recognised in this way is fantastic.”

Best Use of Technology in the Hospitality and Leisure Sector
A partnership between Worldpay, MasterCard and the RFU means contactless payment technology was available at Twickenham throughout the stadium in time for this year’s RBS Six Nations tournament and ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Retail Website of the Year
Better Bathrooms worked with Space 48 to create a site that offers an excellent user journey, and has delivered impressive business growth.

Technology Project of the Year
Specsavers has introduced a cutting edge way of selecting and fitting customers’ glasses, using imaging software on tablet devices. The project was rolled out to all 747 UK and Ireland stores in four months.

Technology Team of the Year
McDonald’s IT department is consistently challenged to support the increasing pace of business change across the global organisation, not only aligning to its internal customer base but the three million customers a day it serves in the UK and its 167 franchisee operators.

Retail Security Initiative of the Year
Kount once again won the Retail Security Initiative of the Year award, the third time in a row no less! The judging panel were impressed by how the company was able to slash chargebacks for clients and boost sales and profitability. Kount were able to demonstrate the extent to which their software was helping win the battle against chargebacks for clients such as: CD Baby - Chargeback rates cut to 96 per cent; Busted Tees – 75 per cent; Paymentez – 70 per cent.

Retailer of the Year
House of Fraser has enjoyed one of the most important years in its history. It was acquired by a Chinese company, delivered 19 consecutive quarters of growth and improved bottomline profitability. It is now looking towards international expansion in China in 2015, and an Australian website launch.

Online Retailer of the Year
Shop Direct partnered with ThoughtWorks Retail to build the very.co.uk mobile app, enabling young fashionista customers to make purchases on-the-go. This app allows customers to shop faster, keep track of orders and view account balances. It also lets shoppers match styles with its Snap Style feature.

Card and Payments Solution of the Year
SPAR UK is speeding throughput in its convenience stores by offering faster alternatives to cash, including contactless cards and mobile wallets. It’s also championing nationwide roll-out of P2PE, to lock-down its systems against fraudsters and make compliance more manageable for 1,400 of its 2,500 stores.

Tech Vendor of the Year
Eurostop has 25 years’ experience providing end-to-end omnichannel solutions, which are now used at over 30,000 locations across the world. Customer examples included delivering a complex stock and sales management system for thousands of items per week in-store and online for Gaynor Sports, providing a premium customer experience for luxury phone provider Vertu, enabling Trespass to comply with retail fiscal tax systems in Poland and Slovakia and supporting large scale EPoS implementations for two sports retailers in China, Erke and Anta Sportswear.

Online Tech Vendor of the Year
Online marketplace solution provider, Mirakl, was up against the likes of HookLogic, Intershop Communications, Maxymiser, Oracle Marketing Cloud and SpinMe. “2015 has been the year that online marketplaces have really come of age in the retail sector and for Mirakl it has been our best ever year,” says Adrien Nussenbaum, CEO at Mirakl. “Not only have we confirmed deals with some of the world’s biggest retailers, but we have closed a funding round of $20 million and now won one of the industry’s most prestigious awards for our online marketplace technology. We have even bigger plans for 2016 and winning this Retail Systems award gives us the ideal platform to go forward and meet our goals.”

Multi-Channel Tech Vendor of the Year
Over the last 12 months BookingBug has become an essential tool used by retailers to offer added value services, experiences, education and expertise in their stores as part of their omnichannel strategy. It has helped the likes of John Lewis, Pets at Home, M&S and Mothercare join the dots between the online and offline worlds, increase customer footfall and grow revenue from services by up to 50 per cent.

Mobile Technology Solution of the Year
Yoyo Wallet is a mobile payments app that integrates payments with loyalty and rewards, whilst providing valuable insight for retailers, allowing them to segment and create customised campaigns for their customers.

Most Disruptive Retail Technology
Luckycycle is customer promotions technology that offers retailers a fresh way to reward shoppers without discounting. Challenging the culture around incentives, its ‘buy and win’ concept is simple: shop as usual online or instore and after payment get a one in ten or five chance to win your basket for free.

Digital Marketing Campaign of the Year
2015 marked the launch of Cath Kidston’s first ever Mother’s Day campaign. The multi-channel initiative, titled Bloomin Marvellous Mum, saw sales figures hit unforeseen heights, e-commerce demand increase by eight per cent and Cath Kidston’s social media following grow by several thousand in the span of two weeks.

Mobile Retailer of the Year
Many retailers still only pay lip service to it, but mobile has been identified as a priority area by House of Fraser. It has a successful history with apps, but to have apps on multiple operating systems required moving away from a bespoke, standalone development plan and moving to a platform-based approach; an ambitious project that won praise from the judging panel.

Payments Partnership of the Year
Handpoint has been working with Cha Cha Cha, a retailer of vintage clothes and homeware, to transform its sales and retail experience with a new standard of PoS and fully-integrated payments. This payment solution enables heightened customer interaction throughout the store with Handpoint card readers.

Delivery Initiative of the Year
Online shopping collection and returns venture, Doddle, now has 25 retail partnerships in place, including Amazon, ASOS, New Look, Warehouse, Hawes & Curtis, T.M. Lewin and Wiggle. It also recently opened a store at King’s Cross, its 38th in less than 12 months, and over 60,000 people are now signed up to the service.

Loyalty Programme of the Year
Shop & Win was SPAR’s first national mobile marketing campaign. Its objective was to attract new customers and increase visit frequency through the deployment of mobile vouchers. Over 50 FMCG brands participated, contributing over £250,000 worth of prizes; the result was a 65 per cent increase in basket spend.

Retail Innovation of the Year
To quote one of our Twitter followers: ‘Retail innovation of the year? @PurpleWiFi of course. What else?’ There’s certainly a huge amount of buzz around the company, which provides cloud-based guest Wi-Fi software, offering customers access to Wi-Fi through social login.

Outstanding Individual Achievement
A retail IT veteran, Roy Ford manages all aspects of retail payment services for SPAR UK, along with payment innovation. He headed up the retailer’s win in the 2015 Card and Payments Solution of the Year category, and is a worthy Hall of Fame recipient.

Overall Winner
In a category dominated over the years by the likes of Tesco.com, Shop Direct, Kiddicare and Boots, BookingBug is not the biggest or best known of our 10 Overall Winners but their impressive entry was nonetheless a hit with all the judges. See Multi-Channel Technology Vendor of the Year category for further details.

Best of the Best
As already mentioned, the Retail Systems Awards celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, we introduced a new, one off category: Best of the Best, recognising the most impressive, innovative and gamechanging overall winner entry from the past 10 years. Contenders included Shop Direct, Mothercare and Aurora Fashions, and the winner was Tesco.com for its 2011 Retail Website of the Year submission.

Further information on the Awards at: www.retail-systems.com/awards

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