The Good Retail Awards 2021 has been an enormous success, showcasing those in the industry who have taken positive steps to grow their businesses. In a year that has been challenging for so many, it has been refreshing to share the stories of so many in the retail industry who have not only adapted, but also thrived.
Following on from the success of last year’s awards, this year saw businesses enter from far and wide, sharing their inspirational stories and innovative approaches to retail. The various categories were designed to incorporate those in all areas of the industry, searching for retail districts, as well as retailers that help their community, demonstrate an omnichannel approach, excel instore or have stand-out digital campaigns, as well as those implementing sustainable initiatives.
With an unprecedented number of entries, the judging panel had a challenging job ahead of them, looking for positive initiatives that benefit both retailers and their customers. Made up of industry experts and representatives from both Modern Retail and Spring Fair, the judges included:
- Catherine Erdly, Founder of the Resilient Retail Club
- James Mansfield, Ecommerce, Warehouse and Logistics Consultant at The Access Group
- Naeem Arif of the Midlands Retail Forum and NA Consulting Ltd
- Julie Driscoll, UK Regional Director of Hyve Group PLC, Spring Fair’s parent company
- Rob Gamage, Managing Editor of Modern Retail
- Holly Worthington, Content Editor of Modern Retail.
Taking place virtually as part of Spring Fair @Home, the awards ceremony saw people tune in from around the globe to see the winners announced.
The winners of the Good Retail Awards 2021 were as follows:
Bricks ‘n’ Clicks Award – 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 offered 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.
Through the development of a new website that encourages interaction and a brilliant instore environment, as well as a monthly newsletter, enhanced social media use and the introduction of interactive events and competitions, Salamander Cookshop has created an omnichannel experience that impresses customers and has grown the business.
Community Award – The Old Moat Garden Centre & Café
The Old Moat Garden Centre & Café is part of the Richmond Fellowship, reinvesting profits into supporting the recovery of people living with mental ill health. Helping around 50 people at any one time and providing them with the confidence, skills and qualifications they need, the Old Moat Garden Centre & Café is a place for them to work alongside staff and volunteers in a safe, supportive environment.
When the garden centre initially had to close due to lockdown, they quickly adapted their support service to offer digital support, including regular Zoom chats, which some described as a lifeline. Amidst challenging circumstances, the Old Moat has adapted its offering to keep their team safe, training the team to bake cakes away from the public, as well as launching an online ordering and delivery service.
Recent months have seen a large increase in the number of people being referred for their wellbeing service, as well as a continuous growth in website visits and social media followers, enabling them to help more people when it is safe to do so. Seeing themselves as a wellbeing service first, the garden centre has made the difficult decision to close its doors for the time being, in order to keep their staff and customers safe, however their work in the local community continues.
Digital Impact Award – Furniture Village
With over 50 stores throughout the UK, it became clear that Furniture Village had to pivot their strategy to place a greater focus on their ecommerce offering. Having partnered with NHS doctor and sleep ambassador, Dr Ranj, for ‘Sleep Well Live Well’, the campaign focused on helping customers find their perfect night’s sleep.
As the COVID-19 pandemic meant that anxiety impacted many people’s sleep quality, offering smart sleep tips and practical advice worked to inform people throughout the UK, creating a conversation around the best ways to achieve optimum sleep health and boost wellbeing. Combining PR, content, social media, search and paid media to create a consistent story around sleep in the times of the pandemic. Furniture Village monitored search trends around sleep problems to offer relevant advice, as well as surveying 2,000 adults via One Poll and streaming messaging across video, DAX and Spotify.
This wide-ranging digital campaign resulted in major sales, informing customers and reinforcing Furniture Village’s positioning as a trusted UK furniture retailer.
Instore Creativity Award – Wyle Blue World
Showcasing the most beautiful, exquisite handmade products from all corners of the globe, Wyle Blue World is decorated with Moroccan lanterns, with exotic scents filling the air alongside the sounds of world music. Selling handmade items chosen by Belinda herself on her travels, as well as locally made leather bags and covered journals, the shop showcases the most unique items, accompanied by Belinda’s in-depth knowledge of where everything has come from, telling each product’s story.
Aiming to create an experience that would impress her customers, Belinda created an atmospheric Moroccan themed alfresco bar in the garden behind her shop – the blueBAR. Working relentlessly to turn this vision into a reality, the blueBAR matched the colour and style of the shop. Employing a chef to work with the pizza ovens being sold instore, customers are able to enjoy a menu of homemade pizzas, sharing platters and more, all served on walnut boards and in hand decorated bowls that can be bought in the shop.
Wyle Blue World has created a one-of-a-kind instore experience, combining their offering with their retail space and the blueBAR, which has worked to generate sales, create employment for new staff and position it as an exciting destination for all in Shrewsbury to enjoy.
Retail District Award – Made in Ashford
Made in Ashford has provided a platform for local creative businesses to sell their products, as well as helping to regenerate the town, support micro businesses and celebrate creativity, all for free or at an affordable price.
Selling local creatives’ products in their brick and mortar shop and online, Made in Ashford has also launched online live shopping events, online market nights and a physical regular makers market; creating multiple channels for members to sell their products. To assist the positive regeneration of the town, members and other local creatives have run workshops with some places being funded, preventing there being a barrier to entry. Made in Ashford also has free content online full of ideas for anybody to download, which has increased website visits and grown members’ visibility and success simultaneously.
Made in Ashford’s ongoing efforts have worked to benefit the community, inspiring locals, encouraging business collaborations, growing members’ sales and benefiting the town in challenging times.
Sustainability Initiative Award – Harts of Stur
Already recycling over 300 tonnes of wooden pallets, cardboard, plastic, metal and electrical items each year, Harts of Stur were keen to look at other areas of the business that could be made more sustainable and eco-friendly. This saw them undertake a project to re-think every aspect of their business to become more eco-friendly.
Sending thousands of orders each week, Harts of Stur began reusing boxes and cartons that they received from suppliers, using these to ship orders to their customers, drastically reducing the number of boxes that need purchasing throughout the year, and buying any additional boxes required from a local supplier. Sourcing a 100% biodegradable alternative to polystyrene chips, they utilise Eco Flo loose fill, which is not only made in an eco-friendly way, but can also be composted or added into food recycling. To make customers aware, they included a postcard full of disposal information, to make sure they knew how to keep the process as sustainable as possible. Installing LED lighting, an air source heat pump system and solar panels has enabled Harts of Stur to reduce their carbon footprint.
Additional projects have included phasing out plastic carrier bags and replacing them with environmentally friendly alternatives, joining the water refill scheme, installing a milk vending machine and using biodegradable netting on Christmas trees, adding to their list of eco-friendly initiatives.
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 the winners and thank you to everybody who entered. We look forward to continuing to share the most innovative campaigns in the world of retail.
For the latest information on the Good Retail Awards, click here.