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Inspiration Index - final voting for the winning company...

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Vote here: - pick your winner from the Top 15 to date!

Early last year we launched the Internet Retailing ‘Inspiration Index’ – the IRII. Our purpose was to uncover those retailers who were a source of admiration, inspiration and (speak it quietly) envy! We asked our retailing readers to vote for up to 5 retailers who inspired them in the following ‘dimensions’:

  1. “delight” – the sheer joy, exhuberance and invetiveness of an aspect of their proposition

  2. Customer experience – the way they lit up the lives of their customers

  3. IT and Operations – looking behind the scenes to how they delivered on their business, bending IT and operations to their will

  4. Merchandising – seeking excellence in the art and craft of selling in the digital age

  5. Marketing – seeing new insights on attracting and retaining customers.

The results throughout have had five retailers almost constantly in the top five – Amazon, MyDeco, ASOS, John Lewis and Apple – with Amazon and MyDeco ‘duking it out’ for the top two places each time.

We were particularly pleased to see MyDeco, an affiliate, surface from our readers’ recommendations. Not a ‘traditional retailer’, their prominence showed that etailers look broadly across the spectrum for inspiration that they can then deploy in their own businesses. Equally Apple’s position does not reflect its importance as a high street retail player, but rather the coherent and motivating power of the brand’s presentation and the polish and confidence of their online presence.

Summing the results across all of the voting rounds we have a ‘Top 15’ as follows:

RetailerCumulative Rank
Amazon UK2
John Lewis4
Apple Computer5
House of Fraser12
British Airways15

British Airways is an interesting addition to our list, with voters mentioning not only the ease of their ticket sales but importantly the polish of their online seat booking and management and customer contact with flight details and change information.

The Ocado placing deserves a special mention since they were not part of our suggestions in the first round and so scored no votes: they have managed 8th position from four rounds of votes only – quite an achievement.

Strategy – the final round

We have extracted the Top 15 (above) and have placed a very simple poll at : the company that inspires you with their strategy and the reason is all that’s required. Please do spare a few minutes to consider this and share your thoughts with us. You have but a few weeks since we need to collate your thoughts, inform the winner, find a suitable moment for prize-giving (Prize? What Prize? – Ed) and get the photos developed in time for our next issue…

Do we consider that MyDeco’s strategy as an affiliate with uber-tools most inspiring? Are their developments from this base worthy of snatching the crown? Does Apple’s magic touch with product extend to a sure hand in multichannel retailing, or is the brand glow greater than its substance as an etailer? Can Zappos’ strategic positioning as a ‘service brand that happens to sell shoes’ continue to prosper, especially as part of the Amazon family? Speaking of whom, can the all-conquering juggernaut really conquer the web while leaving others to buy the stock and trade on its behalf in key categories? House of Fraser and John Lewis are each seeking to identify a role for the ‘format formerly known as a department store’ with John Lewis in particular ranking highly and consistently in every dimension: can their strategy inspire most people?

There’s no shortage of etailing talent with the list that you, our readers, have constructed and so we’re particularly excited to hear your final determination. You have until the end of  Friday 16 April, 2010 to vote!

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