The Bricks ‘n’ Clicks category of the Good Retail Awards set out to find retailers that have utilised both online and offline channels to create a seamless customer experience.
Last year’s winners, Harts of Stur, set the bar high with their omnichannel campaign that was designed to tell their brand story across various channels, to celebrate 100 years as a family business.
Following on from the success of last year’s awards, this year saw retailers enter from far and wide, sharing their fantastic omnichannel offerings and inspirational stories, despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Those that were shortlisted were able to demonstrate the integration of all of their customer-facing platforms, both physical and digital, to create a stand-out experience.
The Good Retail Awards’ panel of judges went through the shortlist for the Bricks ‘n’ Clicks category, looking for new and creative omnichannel projects and effective methods of integration, as well as campaigns that positively impacted business and boosted customer engagement. After a challenging judging process, the winner of the Good Retail Awards 2021’s Bricks ‘n’ Clicks Award was decided.
The Bricks ‘n’ Clicks Award winner – Salamander Cookshop
Single independent shop, Salamander Cookshop worked to design a stand-out experience that links their instore environment and online presence in a different way to their competitors. They set out to create a virtual store alongside their instore offering, allowing them to facilitate a wider range of customers, through next day delivery to the store, or their home.
Bringing their products to life, Salamander Cookshop offers access to the enthusiasm and expertise of staff, brand ambassadors and other experts to customers inside the shop and through online channels, allowing these opportunities to be accessible anytime and anywhere.
Speaking about Salamander Cookshop’s omnichannel approach to retail, owner of the shop, David, explained: “Our virtual channels are a method of opening another meaningful platform to customers, in the style of how the shop is as an independent retailer. We recognised that we couldn’t put 7,000 lines of products online, but we could make interaction simple, as well as making the site an interesting place to go. We wanted to be able to satisfy quickly and sell online, so we went to a model where when you browse the website or newsletter, it encourages you to email or phone and we get back to you within 24 hours, guaranteed.”
Through the development of a new website that encourages interaction, as well as a monthly newsletter, enhanced social media use and the introduction of interactive events and competitions, Salamander Cookshop’s online presence has worked to successfully grow the business. They have made engagement their USP, opening dialogue with customers in a variety of ways, which has worked to successfully increase sales.
Salamander Cookshop provides countless opportunities for interaction, also having a ‘Brands in Spotlight’ section where they showcase specific ranges, offering in-depth information about products and brands such as Le Creuset, Sage and Netherton. David added: “We really appreciate the suppliers that work with us as everything has to align and we’re trying to do something a bit different.” Their competitions, such as the Christmas Baking competition that they did with Le Creuset, have proven to be a huge success.
Their store events have also transformed. Initially beginning with the idea of a ‘food walk’, they took six people around the artisan food retailers in the town, including their own shop. These events have since become virtual, bringing cooking to life and engaging customers amidst lockdowns. Their ‘Zoom personal shopper’ experiences are also proving to be popular, showcasing another method of combining instore and online effectively.
These additions have been designed to compliment the instore experience perfectly, creating a unified approach to retail, regardless of how a customer prefers to purchase. Instore, the same level of customer service is evident, with knowledgeable staff taking pride in offering advice and assistance. Shoppers are also able to see products in use, capturing their imagination through the creative approach to retail that Salamander Cookshop have introduced.
When it comes to fulfilment, Salamander Cookshop have excelled, implementing a dropship model that means people can come instore to touch, feel and see products, before placing an order for a specific colour or variation. Their ability to see if items are in stock in their supplier’s warehouse enables them to place orders instantly and easily fulfil them in the customer’s preferred way.
David explained his vision, adding: “We try to always have a narrative and make what we do flow. We recognise that the virtual world is really important, as well as being a local shop, so we try to mirror the instore experience on all of our channels. We’ve only just begun and are learning all the time, testing things. It’s evolving and we think we’ve found something that’s working.”
The judges’ comments praised Salamander Cookshop for their unique approach to retail. James Mansfield, Ecommerce, Warehouse and Logistics Consultant at The Access Group, highlighted the “Smart blending of the physical and virtual worlds to create an enhanced and highly customer-centric shopping experience.” He added: “Strong relationships with suppliers and good use of omnichannel technologies and tactics reach a wide range of customers and prospects.”
Naeem Arif, Founder of NA Consulting commented on their “Really Exciting project and positivity throughout,” while Julie Driscoll, UK Regional Director of Hyve Group plc (Spring Fair), commented: “What a fabulous retailer. Customer experience is clearly at the core of this retailer’s business.”
Rob Gamage, Managing Director of Modern Retail said: “Salamander Cookshop have embraced a truly omnichannel approach. Everything they do, whether online or offline, is focused on building value for their customers by creating a community around a shared love of cooking. The fact that their events and competitions have moved seamlessly online during the lockdowns of the past year shows that they are having great success in achieving their omnichannel ambitions.”
The Good Retail Awards 2021 shortlist highlighted businesses that are leading the way in their use of omnichannel retail. The calibre of entries was incredibly high this year, with the campaigns and creativity displayed making the judging process a real challenge.
The shortlist for the Bricks ‘n’ Clicks award included:
Artworx Gallery created an interactive customer experience through the use of in-house videos, 360° videos and alternative views to replicate their instore offering online.
Gracie Jaynes adapted to overcome challenges faced this year by offering customers a virtual shopping experience from their sofa.
Stationery Supplies adapted the way they worked to deliver a first-class experience for those working from home and home schooling, rethinking their approach to online orders, email and phone enquiries.
Kukoon Rugs created a uniform approach to instore and online sales, combining shop assets with online assets.
We’d like to thank everybody that entered the Good Retail Awards 2021. It’s been a pleasure to learn more about each and every entrant and we look forward to continuing to celebrate their successes in the coming months.
To read more about the Bricks ‘n’ Clicks shortlist, click here.
Thanks again to all who have made the Good Retail Awards 2021 such a success. We’re proud to be part of a community that showcases and celebrates the most inspirational and exciting initiatives in the industry. Congratulations again to Salamander Cookshop and we look forward to continuing to share the most innovative campaigns in the world of retail.
To find out more about the Good Retail Awards, and to keep up to date with the latest news, click here.
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.