The Innovation Award

Commercially inventive

Not newness for newness’ sake, but rather inventive and inspiring solutions for problems or the creation of new opportunities. The winner of this Award will have shaken something that needed disrupting, seen something that was obvious once their genius had made it clear, or so improved a business that it has created a new genre, a new mode of business or even a new verb!

From the sustained excellence of our Elite retailers, to disruptive startup via a sparkling achievement that could signal a move up the Top500 rankings,  we are interested in innovations of note that will resonate beyond 2016.

Judging Criteria

  • A new service or invention
  • Innovative use of an existing technology, process or capability
  • Landmark implementation of new technology, process or capability


2015 Winner: House of Fraser
2015 Commended: Amazon,, Google, Marks & Spencer, Shop Direct, Waitrose
2014 Winner: Tesco
2014 Commended: Argos, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer
2013 Winner: Burberry
2013 Commended:, M&S, Top Shop
2012 Winner: Joint award to House of Fraser and Aurora Fashion

The Mobile Award

The untethered brand experience

The mobile dimension is integral to Internet Retailing. Phablet, tablet, phone or whatever new untethered device comes along, this Award focuses upon the role of mobile, mobility and unchainedfreedom within multichannel retail.

In particular we recognise the increased role of mobile as a ‘remote control’ for the customer is driving our business and so will be looking for examples of interaction beyond the sale itself.

The Award will go to the retailer whose mobile activities extend beyond an obligatory app and tablet-optimised site to creating an integrated, coherent and compelling experience under their brand – using the unique capabilities of the device, location and context to reinvent the ‘new normal’ of connectedness to the retail experience.

Judging Criteria

  • Customer experience via a mobile device
  • Use of technology for the mobile device
  • Business model for the mobile channel
  • More than just ‘buying’, managing the order process before, during and after the sale


2015 Winner: House of Fraser
2015 Commended
: Naked Wines, SpreadShirt,
2014 Winner
: House of Fraser
2014 Commended: Free People, Shop Direct
2013 Winner: eBay
2013 Commended: Amazon, Debenhams, Dominos, eBay Marketplace, Net a Porter/Mr Porter
2012 Winner: New in 2013

The Digital Store Award

Digitally-powered bricks, malls and streets

2016 could well be called the year of the store, as digital POS gains momentum, the use of mobile in store, click and collect gaining further prominence and most of all the increases level of polish, integration and experience.

IRIS (Internet Retailing In-Store) considers the people, process and technology implications of the digitally-enabled store full of digitally-savvy and connected customers engaging with digitally-empowered staff selling digitally-enhanced products and services. This Award will recognise retailers who have moved beyond digital displays and point digital offerings to create an immersive, connected and compelling realisation of this next iteration of retail.

The scope of this Award will include retailers, pop-up stores and experiences, malls, shopping centres and town schemes with a combined searching for real standout and ‘wow’, alongside scale and polished capability.

Judging Criteria

  • Effective use of the store or physical environment to support multichannel selling
  • Use of digital technologies in-store/place
  • Staff training, capability and service in exploiting the digital capabilities
  • Integration of the digital store into a seamless proposition
  • Commercial exploitation of in-store digital
  • Deployments at scale that look ‘normal’ and fully-integrated
  • “Wow” examples of the next stages within IRIS.


2015 Winner: Marks and Spencer
2015 Commended: Argos, Boots, The Dandy Lab, Dixons Carphone, Halfords,, The Entertainer
2014 Winner: Argos
2014 Commended: B&Q, Burberry, House of Fraser, Thomson (TUI)
2013 Winner: Burberry
2013 Commended: Apple, Burberry, Dixons (DSGi), Marks and Spencer
2012 Winner: New in 2013

The Customer Award

Love into profit

This award recognises the impact upon the customer and her experience created by the Award winner. Whether it’s a case of insight to a given segment, an unerring knack of connecting, the greatest customer service or an immersive, breathtaking experience. The Award winning will have done things that make the customer go “wow”, and the rest of the industry long to emulate them. Most importantly, the Award winner will have made the connection between the customer’s delight and her wallet, demonstrating a commercial benefit from their customer-centricity.

While the Top500 recognises sustained, cumulative capability in connecting with the customer, this Award is looking for a point service, new initiative or breakthrough that has changed the relationship between the retailer or brand and the customer within the last year.

Judging Criteria

  • Customer policies and distinctive supporting behaviours
  • Net Promoter [tm] score and customer advocacy
  • Positive sentiment and reviews
  • Share of voice (positive) via Social Media channels
  • Commercial impact linked to the customer experience.
  • A notable change in customer perception and engagement


2015 Winner: eSpares
2015 Commended:, Dixons Carphone, IKEA, John Lewis, Lovehoney, Watchfinder, Zopa
2014 Winner: Cult Pens
2014 Commended: Asos, John Lewis, Love Honey, Ocado
2013 Winner: Lakeland
2013 Commended: House of Fraser, Lakeland, John Lewis, Lovehoney
2012 Winner: Net a Porter/Mr Porter

The International Award

International growth and presence

While the UK is one of the most competitive retail markets in the world, many of the very best companies are seeing significant growth from European and global markets. This Award will recognise retailers who through brand extension, operational capability and market insight have created digitally-led or digitally-enabled international markets for their products and services. This Award is open to both pure play eCommerce retailers and multichannel retailers, with the determinant of success being the way they've incorporated international growth and performance into their ongoing business as usual.

Judging Criteria

  • Percentage of total sales made in non-UK market(s)
  • Number of marketing served
  • Variety of foreign markets serviced
  • Growth in international sales
  • Profitability
  • Adaptation to individual markets (language, culture, operational context)
  • Innovative approach to international growth
  • Significant launch, entry or step-change in operations


2015 Winner: Asos
2015 Commended: Deckers Brands, Ideal Shopping Direct, Maclaren, River Island, Swimshop
2014 Winner: Asos
2014 Commended: Mothercare, Puma, RS Components, Wiggle
2013 Winner: Asos
2013 Commended: Asos, Net a Porter/Mr Porter, Wiggle, Zalando
2012 Winner: New for 2013

Market Entry (new retailer or brand multichannel or eCommerce launch)

Whether a newly-founded retailer with sharp elbows creating a space, or an established retailer embracing multichannel, this Award is to recognise a new market entrant who has – since leaving the blocks within the last three years – has caught the eye of both customers and peers (now known as ‘competitors’!). This Award goes to the retailer that’s not only made a splash, but who looks to be making ripples for a good while to come – perhaps into another Award next year!

Judging Criteria

  • Public launch (open for selling) since 1 January, 2015 or later
  • Retailer has adopted eCommerce (to add to stores) or stores (to add to ecommerce pure-play) since 1 January 2015 or later
  • Viable retail business (ie not just a concept operation or loss-leader)
  • The launch/entry shows signs of best practice from the outset
  • Likely to influence established players as a result of distinctive approach
  • Clear record of growth


2015 Winner: Hello Fresh
2015 Commended: The Dandy Lab, vente-privee, Yes Sir
2014 Winner: Missguided
2014 Commended:, Lululemon

Service Retail Award (non-product retailing - service, experience, intangibles)

Promise, experience and delivery

Selling services online has its own challenges and rewards, and this Award looks to recognise those retailers who are taking a share of our customers’ wallets, yet without any physical products to show, sell and ship. While other retailers may envy their lack of physical product, we know that their business lives or dies on the promise, the experience and the memory under their brand.
This Award is open to retailers – pure-play and multichannel – who sell direct to consumers yet who do not deal in product. Whether travel, financial services, games, software or innovative service, this Award recognizes the retailing talent beyond the normal notion of a ‘shop’.

Note that retailers in this category are also eligible for other Awards.

Judging Criteria

  • The extent to which the service solves a problem or creates a new business
  • The impact of the service upon retailers – either as a partner, supplier or a new expectation level to meet for their customers


2015 Winner: Uber
2015 Commended: British Airways app, Dressipi, Etsy, Farfetch
2014 Winner: Etsy
2014 Commended: Dressipi, eBay, HungryHouse, NotOnTheHighStreet

Brand Award (direct retailing)

Soup-to-nuts selling

Brands create products, desire and demand for their products, and increasingly move from supplying retailers, wholesalers and licencees to direct retailing under their own brand. From concept store to showcase experience, via pop-up, to a vibrant multichannel immersive brand experience, today’s global, authentic and connected brands are vertical, integrated and focused. This Award recognizes a brand that has embraced all aspects of multichannel retail, connecting in a profitable, sustained and market-setting way with their customers, distributors, retailers and international partners.

Judging Criteria

  • Product or service brand that sells only their own products (perhaps with limited curated supplementary lines)
  • Active in multiple channels – online, store, catalogue – direct to customer
  • Integrates direct selling with an indirect channel
  • Brings a distinctive, brand-led experience to the way they operate
  • Adoption of, or excellence in, multichannel retailing has increased brand status and value.


2015 Winner: Alexandre Meerson
2015 Commended: Boden, Burberry, The Cambridge Satchel Company, Michael Kors, UGG
2014 Joint Winners: Graze and Lego
2014 Commended: Boden,

B2B multichannel Award

No longer behind the scenes…

B2B is an area of innovation and rapid adoption of the lessons of direct to consumer retail. With the added complexities of balancing complex client relationship, demanding delivery and supply chain requirements and  multilayers relationships (B2B2C, B2Goverment etc).

Our B2B Research Brief covers some of the myriad areas, but to be eligible for the Award 75% or more of sales must be to VAT-registered or trade buyers. Wholesale and brands selling to consumers will be considered in the Brand Award.

Note that retailers in this category are also eligible for other Awards.

Judging Criteria

  • Multichannel capability, adoption and growth since January 2015.


2015 Winner: Tradepoint
2015 Commended: Alexandra, Euroffice, RS Components, Staples
2014 Winner: New in 2015

The InternetRetailing Award

Please note: You cannot nominate for this Award individually. The readers of InternetRetailing will select the winner from the shortlist.

This Award is given by the readers of InternetRetailing – the people’s award, in a way.

All of the Commended Winners, upon announcement, are eligible for this Award and the readers will choose. Which company has most inspired them, is most deserving of recognition? This Award could amplify the glory of a Winner, could be salve for the near-Winner, recognition of a ‘je ne sais quoi’ element from one of the players or an indicator of future greatness… All bets are off once the voting starts!

Judging Criteria

  • All InternetRetailing readers are able to vote
  • All retailers who’re shortlisted for an Award are eligible for this Award.


2015 Winner: Alexandra
2014 Winner: Waitrose
2013 Winner: Lovehoney

The Judges' Award (2016 Best Retailer Award)

Please note: You cannot nominate for this Award individually. The Judges' will select the winner from the shortlist.

There are “it” bags and “it” moments, and this Award simply says that the Winner has managed to assemble all of the parts in a unique and compelling way. Whether an overwhelming winner in one or more Award categories, or very strong in all areas, this Award winner will be the one you wish you held stock in, or joined as employee number 5, or might just call having spotted your talent. No-one would doubt their ability or deservedness. Given solely by the Judges having reviewed all the nominees, voted on according to their own feeling, this Award recognises a company of stature in our industry. As Po, (the Kung Fu Panda) memorably said, “there’s no charge for awesomeness”. At least now, however, there’s an Award.

Judging Criteria

  • A retailer of stature, admired by professional peers for creating a retailing ‘wow’
  • Across all Award categories, this retailer has mastered the most important, in the most compelling combination
  • This retailer has a habit of setting the standard or direction that others come to see as ‘best practice’
  • This retailer has a certain ‘something’ that will come to prominence in future years and future Awards


2015 Winner: House of Fraser
2014 Winner: Asos
2013 Winner: Asos
2013 Commended: Asos, Net a Porter/Mr Porter, Wiggle, Zalando
2012 Winner: New for 2013