Appliances Online has proudly flown the Australian flag at the World Retail Awards in Paris this week, winning the Customer Experience of the Year prize for its innovative approach to attracting and converting customers over the internet. Unfortunately, from an Australian perspective, fellow antipodean nominees Move (by Dick Smith) and Catchoftheday were unsuccessful in their respective categories.
The Customer Experience of the Year award recognises retailers that employed innovative new methods to generation online activity and/or foot traffic. It is open to both online and bricks and mortar retailers and Appliances Online had to beat out a very strong field to claim victory. Its vanquished rivals were Carrefour (Villeneuve la Garenne Store), Harris+Hoole, Harvey Nichols and Ampersand (Harveynichols.com), Lidl (Dill Restaurant), Macrocenter (“The Land of More”) and Sonae (Continente App).
Appliances Online is owned and operated by the Winning Group, which also runs Winning Appliances, BigBrownBox, The Handy Crew and BestHomeChef. CEO John Winning collected the award in Paris. He said the victory was a great achievement for the whole team.
“The foundation of our business centres around providing exceptional service so being acknowledged with 2014’s Best Customer Experience award is an incredible honour for our team,” Winning said. “As a retailer, our mission is to provide the best shopping experience in the world and this, alongside our company value to impress every customer, is reflected in every area of our business.
“From our 24/7 locally based customer support and service teams right through to our technology, marketing and distribution team, our customers are always top of mind.”
Winning also mentioned how much of a turnaround this victory is for the entire Australian retail industry, which has over the past decade been criticised for not embracing change as rapidly as similar economies like the United States and the United Kingdom.
“It’s also great to see Australian retailers representing our nation at the awards. For years, Australian online retailers have lagged behind our international counterparts however Australia’s presence at this year’s awards highlights just how far we have come as an industry and I’m proud that Appliances Online is helping lead the way.”
The Winning Group was also nominated in two other categories. In Best Pure Play Online Retailer, Appliances Online lost to vente-privee.com, a French retailer that specialises in snap sales to its 22 million-strong club. Australian daily deals website Catchoftheday also lost out in this category. In Store Design (>12,000 square metres), the Winning Appliances Redfern showroom was eclipsed by fashion retailer New Look’s store in White City, in trendy west London.
Meanwhile Dick Smith’s retail venture into the nascent world of fashtronics, Move, was beaten to a World Retail Award by Eataly, an Italian food and culture restaurant/shop/school. ”The idea behind Eataly is very simple: to gather all high-quality Italian food under one roof, a place where you can eat, shop and learn everything about food,” the judges said.