You have to be in it to win it.
But is it worth it?
One research study revealed award winners had 37 percent more sales growth than their peers. Besides that, consider these other rewards you can reap from success:
1. Lots of publicity – free!
Most awards have media partners that support their promotion. Some, like the World Retail Congress and Awards, have incredible reach. Last year alone this event made the news in more than 40 countries across 200+ news articles in publications including Bloomberg, Financial Times, Women’s Wear Daily, Retail Week, Reuters and Sky News. That’s high-profile exposure that many web merchants would find hard to achieve alone.
2. Stronger appeal
Winning a business award can open doors to getting contracts, finding new supply channels and breaking into new markets. And for merchants it helps endorse your webshop and build trust with consumers too.
3. Instant differentiation
It’s fantastic to be recognized so it’s important to make sure that people know about your achievement. Even shortlisted companies can maximize PR exposure by including award logos on business cards, websites, literature, emails and sales material.
4. Fresh perspective
Applying for an award can help you look at your business in a new light. It helps you understand your strengths – whether innovation, diversity, growth, customer service, investment in people or strategic thinking. It also throws up ways of doing things better, which can be more valuable than the prize itself.
5. More credibility
Having a third-party endorsement is a great way of differentiating your company from competitors and will send out positive signals to customers and potential partners.
6. Morale booster
Awards recognize the achievements of your employees as much as your business, so it can help boost staff morale and improve motivation. If you win an award, don’t just stick the trophy on reception; make a fuss, get some treats out and share the recognition.
7. Talent attractor
Awards can showcase your work to a wider audience and help attract talent. Boosting your hiring stature among new recruits will ensure you get first pick of the most skilled individuals to push your business forward.
The benefits are even more tangible for smaller businesses who often struggle to establish recognition and credibility in the marketplace. An award win, or even just making it to the finals, can open up new opportunities and have a big impact on growth.
What other winners say about the impact
In the UK, the eCommerce Awards run in association with IMRG, Britain’s online retail association, highlight some of the very best merchants, agencies, innovations, products and campaigns. Here’s what some past winners have said:
“We enjoy the challenge of entering the E-Commerce Awards each year. It drives our team to continue to innovate and be the best we can. Our customers enjoy using an ever-improving website to help them choose the incredible products we sell, seeing we have won these awards will give them confidence to buy from one of the UK’s leading e-commerce retailers.”
– Andy Beresford, Managing Director, Home Leisure Direct
“This award has given us all even more drive to continue taking the business on to new levels of success. It’s also great to have this on our website, and marketing collateral as it gives us gravitas in our industry.”
– Samah Holden, Head of Marketing, Bid on This
“This win also gives us proof for our many other partners that we are able to create best-in-class campaigns with both digital and customer at the heart, that really work.”
– Stuart Adamson, Group Head of Media & Partnerships, Thomas Cook Group
However, you have to be in it to win it.
Next step: Find an award that you would love to win
E-commerce, retail and business awards come in all varieties so no matter what size or type of business you have, there’s bound to be one you can enter. They’re not necessarily looking for the most sales, the highest returns or the biggest market share. Awards can be for technical innovation, operational excellence, service quality, staff motivation, environmental approach and ethics. For vision, for passion and even for disruption.
A simple internet search will help you find suitable awards for your industry. All you have to do is Google “e-commerce awards”, “retail awards”, “business awards” or “entrepreneur awards”. Most retail trade publications and local e-commerce or internet retail associations run an award, often connected to an event. These are also easy to find online. Or why not look at your competitors’ websites and see what awards they have won – if it worked for them it may just work for you too!
Giving your entry your best shot
The secret to successful entries is choosing the right category, making sure you fulfill all the criteria, being able to articulate what makes you different/special and having measurable/tangible evidence of success.
Most awards will want a written entry. This normally includes a paragraph on your business, one on your submission and then a longer piece – between 500 and 1000 words – which will include the detail. Try to stick to the facts. Don’t use too much marketing speak. And use endorsements, company statistics, customer feedback, transaction figures or financials to prove your results.
Normally, judges will select five or so entries for each category as finalists – also known as the ‘shortlist’. Finalists may be asked to participate in a short face-to-face presentation to the judging panel, based on their entry. This is normally only a ten-minute slot, where they also ask you some questions.
Most awards, however, simply have a final judging session and then the winner is announced at an event, dinner or awards ceremony. For anyone making the shortlist, there is a window of opportunity to promote this prior to the final judging. So even if you don’t win, if you are in the final cut you can still get good publicity.
Be aware that some awards charge an entry fee. However, the majority are free to enter. It’s always best to check first.
Once the award is yours: Get back to us
If this article has inspired you to go for an award, let us know how it goes! We hope to be celebrating with you soon.