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Every week we’re highlighting the shortlisted retailers in the 2014 Internet Retailing Awards. Today we focus on the Capability Award.

The winner of the Capability Award will be the retailer that most consistently delivers on its operational promises, in the eyes of the Internet Retailing Awards 2014 judging panel.

This retailer will be one that delivers a new or demanding service in a predictable and reliable manner, appearing effortless to the customer. It will operate in a cost-effective manner, no matter how complex the tasks involved initially appeared, and will build on good foundations to create a strong operational capability. Since things don’t always go to plan, this retailer will also be able to bounce back from mistakes and adapt to meet the demands of new realities.

“If genius is, as Edison claimed, 90% perspiration, then this award values that 90% of ecommerce which is based upon the consistent, repeated capabilities of operations, IT, logistics, systems and processes,” said Internet Retailing editor-in-chief Ian Jindal. “Web-level eye-candy is well and good, but it’s as nothing without the operational capability to deliver on those promises. The winner of this award may or may not have the snazziest interface or the most-hyped consumer brand, but boy oh boy do we look at them and wonder just how on earth they can be so efficient, effective and all-conquering with their ruthless capability. Deep down, this is the award our CEOs want us to win…”

The final shortlist, whittled down from 10 nominated retailers by our panel of distinguished judges are: Amazon, Argos, and John Lewis.

Amazon wins its place on the shortlist because, in the view of the judges, in 2014 it continued to set the standard for online retailing with a particular focus on competitiveness and convenience of delivery. It invested in lockers near workplaces and transport hubs and it introduced seven-day delivery. Amazon may inspire fear as a competitor, and anger, as a result of its tax minimisation strategy, in retail boardrooms, but all agree that the disruptive competition from this ambitious and capable organisation has set standards that others must now live up to.

Argos , many times nominated in this year’s awards, wins its shortlist place for its role as what the judges have described as “an outstanding example of home-grown British multichannel success”. Through its ongoing transformation programme, it is creating a digital-first business and achieving an industry-leading logistical capacity on foundations that include legacy systems and legacy real estate.

John Lewis , say the judges, is on the shortlist because it gets everything right. It gains a “killer competitive edge” for its very fast, very free click and collect which also uses as collection points branches of its sister company Waitrose.

The final winner of The Capability Award will be named at the Internet Retailing Awards 2014, to be held at One Mayfair on June 26.

A reminder too that voting is open for the overall Internet Retailing Award 2014, sponsored by Venda. This is our readers’ award, in which a winner is chosen by you from the full awards shortlist. Vote and your name will go into the draw for a free ticket to the awards party.

Join the conversation and tell us who you want to win the Internet Retailing Award by tweeting your vote to @etail with #theawards.

Get tickets for you/your team/your clients/your friends here:

We’ll be exploring the other awards categories in the weeks to come.

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