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INTERNET RETAILING AWARDS Focus on the shortlist: customer and capability

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With just over a week to the Internet Retailing Awards 2013, the latest in our series focusing on commended retailers who have been named in each category considers the Customer and the Capability awards.

A final winner in each of eight categories will be named at the awards evening, to be held at SushiSamba, 664ft up at London’s Heron Tower, on June 26. The judges will also name their overall winner, who will take the Judges’ Award, while the winner of the Internet Retailing Award 2013, voted for by Internet Retailing readers, will also be named.

The Customer award, says the judges’ guidance, will recognise the “impact upon the customer and their experience created by the award winner.” It adds: “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 winner will have done things that make the customer go ‘wow’ and the rest of the industry long to emulate them.

Criteria include evidence of responding to customer need, and evidence of creating a service proposition “that delights the customer.”

The shortlisted companies are House of Fraser , John Lewis , Lakeland and Lovehoney .

House of Fraser was named for the integration of customer feedback, user testing and optimisation into the online experience, and on the way service development rests on customer preference. Singled out from Lakeland’s offer was its absolute satisfaction guarantee, while John Lewis won nominations for customer insight, focus, service and connection. Lovehoney, finally, was named for its no-quibble returns and satisfaction.

The Capability award recognises, in the words of the judges’ guidance, “that 90% of ecommerce that is based upon the consistent, repeated, capabilities of operations, IT, logistics, systems and processes.” It adds: “Web-level eye-candy is well and good, but it’s as nothing without the operational capability to deliver on those promises. Efficient and effective are the buzz words for an award whose criteria include the delivery of a new, novel or demanding award in a way that seems effortless to customers.

Shortlisted for this award are Amazon, Asos, B&Q/Screwfix/Tradepoint and John Lewis.

Amazon wins its commendation for its prime service, which includes next-day delivery, customer service and the fact that “it just works” at scale, across carriers, suppliers and categories.

ASOS is named for strong growth not only abroad but also at home, where its service includes a FashionFinder, and strong performance in areas from user-generated content to merchandising and social.

At Kingfisher Group companies B&Q and Screwfix, the focus is on the “segmented and relevant service” offered to the customer “over a demanding SKU count, across all channels.”

Finally, the much-commended John Lewis receives another mention in this category at a time when its ecommerce sales have recently hit £1bn.

The overall winners in all of the categories will be named at the Internet Retailing Awards on June 26 and later on Internet Retailing. For more details of the Internet Retailing Awards and party click here. Ticket information can be found here.

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