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INTERNET RETAILING AWARDS 2014 The winners are named

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Asos has been recognised as best retailer in the Internet Retailing Awards 2014. The title was awarded last night at the annual party held to mark the awards, held at One Mayfair, attended by more than 400 ecommerce and multichannel traders, brands and suppliers.

Presenting the award, Andy Harding, executive director, multichannel, at House of Fraser, said Asos was a “truly incredible” retailer, and one that had demonstrated its resilience when fire hit its Barnsley warehouse last weekend.

“Anyone who can come back from losing 20% of their stock to be selling again in two days shows true resilience,” he said.

Readers of Internet Retailing magazine and website voted for the Internet Retailing Award, naming Waitrose as their favourite retailer, while both Argos and Asos won two awards each.

Bertrand Bodson, chief digital officer for Argos, said: “We are delighted to have been nominated for and won these prestigious awards. Our teams are moving at amazing pace, coming up with new ideas and making them real so that customers can see, touch and feel how Argos is changing. It’s an exciting place to be.”

While entertainment came at the casino tables, and from magicians, jugglers and a DJ, the key moment of the evening was the presentation of the awards.

Tesco was the first winner of the night, taking the Innovation Award, sponsored by dotMailer, ahead of a shortlist that included House of Fraser, Argos, and Marks & Spencer, after a year in which the UK’s largest grocer has launched its own tablet computer, the Hudl, broadening access to ecommerce; cut the cost of delivery and harnessed the power of its data to deliver smart rewards.

The Omni Award, sponsored by Sapient Nitro, went to Argos , chosen from a shortlist that included Evans Cycles, House of Fraser, John Lewis and Waitrose. Argos was recognised for its digital-first move towards multichannel that has produced ecommerce sales that account for 44% of its total revenue, and m-commerce sales that account for 18% of overall sales, and an innovative partnership with eBay to bring click and collect services to the store.

Free People and Shop Direct were shortlisted for the Mobile Award, sponsored by LogMeIn, but the overall winner was House of Fraser , after a year in which it put mobile first and succeeded in creating the most integrated set of interfaces of their peer group.

The winner of the Capability Award, sponsored by VirtualStock, was Amazon , coming ahead of Argos and John Lewis. During the year Amazon continued to set the standard for online retailing, focusing on competitiveness and convenience, launching new devices including the Amazon Firephone, and new ways of taking delivery of orders, from lockers to seven-day delivery.

Asos, John Lewis, Lovehoney and Ocado were shortlisted for The Customer Award, sponsored by SDL Fredhopper. But the winner, proving that small is beautiful when it comes to service, was Cult Pens. The site for lovers of fine writing instruments has 16,000 Trustpilot reviews with a Trustscore of 9.9.

The Iris Award, for Internet Retailing in Store, had a strong shortlist featuring B&Q, Burberry, House of Fraser and Thomson (Tui). But the winner, for the second time in the evening, was Argos , taking the title for its work to reimagine the digital store in the light of ecommerce. Its approach to customer convenience goes beyond in-store tablets to experiment with a reality in which the store is still king: some 90% of shoppers end up in store even if they buy online.

Asos scored its second triumph of the night when it took the International Award, coming ahead of a shortlist that included Mothercare, Puma, RS Components and Wiggle. The company is trading as far afield as China, where it’s taking a start-up approach that’s not afraid to lose money in the short-term as it invests for long-term profit, and Russia, as well as selling to customers in North America and Europe, and beyond.

Graze and Lego were both winners in the newly-introduced Brand Award, coming at the front of a field that included Boden and Lego won in the year that Lego: The Movie has confounded expectations by winning critical acclaim and product recommendations at the same time. The brand is represented online, in the high street, in theme parks, and this year in cinemas. Graze was named for the way it has grown the concept of the healthy snack box into a profitable multimillion pound turnover business.

Dressipi, eBay, Hungryhouse and were all shortlisted for the Service Award, but the winner was Etsy , a marketplace that’s successfully created a new and different kind of service, one that gives creative makers and retailers a space to connect with customers.

The Market Entry Award title was taken by Missguided , who won ahead of shortlisted and Lululemon. The company was founded in 2009 but this has been its breakthrough year, as it turned over £55m and set its sights on £100m by 2014. This homegrown success hails from Manchester, where it’s developed close links with its supply chain and manufactures in the UK. That combination enables it to respond quickly – and affordably – to new trends, satisfying an audience who look to it for inspiration as well as the products they want to buy.

Simon Walker, who owns and founded Cult Pens with his wife Amanda, said of his company’s success in the Customer Award: “It was a huge boost to our small company to be nominated, especially during a stressful time of IT upgrades and a nail-biting replacement of our long-serving website. To go on to win has been slightly surreal, but it’s a testament to the effort and dedication of the entire team – the work of every single one of which has an effect on the customer experience. We were fortunate to be able to bring five of the team from across the company to the hugely enjoyable awards party, and I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoyed it slightly more than we should have!”

The award winners were chosen by an eminent panel of judges, led by Internet Retailing co-founder and editor-in-chief Ian Jindal.

He said: “Congratulations to the deserving winners of the Internet Retailing Awards. The prestigious shortlist and ultimate winners show the depth and extent of capability within our dynamic industry.

“In addition to established ecommerce players who have grown in capability and scale, never resting on their laurels by continuing to keep innovating, this year it’s a pleasure to celebrate the new brands on the scene who are embracing multichannel and making waves in the sector.

“Our thanks go to our sponsors who made the evening possible, to our eminent judges for their time and deliberations and of course our readers who as nominators, voters and guests turned the venue into a party.

“This evening’s party is a microcosm of the talent, energy and spirit of the multichannel sector, and we are already looking forward to celebrating further successes in 2015.”

Readers of Internet Retailing magazine and website nominated retailers in each of the categories. The judging panel first named a shortlist before choosing overall winners for each category and finally, an overall best retailer. The winner of the Internet Retailing Award, sponsored by Venda, was chosen by readers of Internet Retailing magazine and website.

The members of the judging panel were: Robin Philips, director of ecommerce at Waitrose; Andy Harding, executive director, multichannel at House of Fraser; Tanya Lawler, vice president, UK trading, at eBay; Peter Fitzgerald, country sales director at Google UK; Alan Giles, associate fellow at the Said Business School, University of Oxford; Donna Chen, of the group strategy team at Alliance Boots; Simon Forster, executive director, multichannel and supply chain, at Selfridges; Sarah Lukins, ecommerce director at LK Bennett; David walmsley, director of multichannel development at Marks & Spencer; Jennifer Cherrington Mowat, global head of IT (marketing/ecommerce) at RS Components; Jonathan Wall, group ecommerce director at Shop Direct Group; Walter Blackwood, director group logistics at Mothercare; Tracy Stone, global sales and distribution director at GANT AB; Shivani Tejuja, digital operating advisor to Apax Partners; Eric Abensur, chief executive officer, Venda, and Emma Herrod, editor of Internet Retailing magazine and programme director for the Internet Retailing Conference.

Aside from the award sponsors, event sponsors also included Rich Relevance, who sponsored the photo booth, Bronto, who sponsored goody bags, Fashot/Packshot, who sponsored the tequila, Inurface Media, who sponsored digital signage and DocData, who sponsored the casino.

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