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First impressions from the Retail Week Awards 2024 Judging Panel

Retail Week Awards 2023

This year’s Retail Week Awards are almost here. They’re always the highlight of the retail calendar and Salesforce is delighted to be sponsoring this special event again in 2024.

Retail moves at a terrific pace so these annual awards offer us a welcome opportunity to pause, reflect and come together in celebration of everything that our diverse community has achieved. It’s a unique moment to showcase the best in retail and recognise the committed individuals and companies who are passionately going above and beyond to change our sector for the better.

On the 2nd February, the judges gathered at Salesforce Tower in London for a morning of deliberation and to start selecting the winners in 16 nominated categories. So, what has stood out for us this year?

I’m particularly proud of the inspirational leadership that the British retail industry is showing right now. We have all commented on the increasingly impressive standard of awards entries we see, year on year, showcasing exceptional stories of retail innovation, dedication and resilience. UK retailers are setting the benchmark for global excellence, taking a digital-first mindset, and embracing AI-powered technology to shape the future of retail. And they’re doing it all in extremely challenging economic conditions, with growing customer expectations and rapid technology shifts constantly changing the goalposts. Our community is spectacularly rising to these assorted challenges.

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Without giving too much away I can also share that all the retailers shortlisted for an award this year are committed to doing better for their customers, their colleagues, and their communities. It’s often about great teamwork, with retailers bringing together store workers, delivery workers, warehouse workers, and head office teams to make a tangible difference.

It’s been heartening to witness how passionate many retailers are about being of value: building connection and supporting their customers through tough economic times. Retailers have learnt that they need to treat every on- and off-line moment as an opportunity to engage and learn about their customers, in a trustworthy and human way. We saw this reflected in the awards nominations across everything from innovative store design to bold omni-channel propositions, tailored promotions and price freezes.  Retailers are harnessing data to ease the cost-of-living challenges at the front of many customers’ minds.

Those shortlisted have also shown great community-mindedness, investing in ideas designed to positively impact our world. I was blown away by inspiring community heroes making a real difference in their local area. These include excellently executed projects that support low-income households and improve environmental sustainability with innovative circular economy initiatives.

The final common thread I noticed is an ongoing commitment to colleague wellbeing and making the workplace a happy place to be. There’s been an upsurge in recognition and education programmes, as businesses realise the importance of investing in learning and development for their teams, as well as in comprehensive ally programmes that look to uplift underrepresented communities in the workplace.

On behalf of Salesforce UK, I wish all the shortlisted entries the very best of luck and congratulate everyone for submitting such inspirational stories. Choosing the stand-out entries this year in such a strong field has proved exceptionally difficult. I look forward to celebrating with the winners at the Retail Week Awards on the evening of the 5th of March. If you’re there, do drop by the Salesforce table and say hello. We’ll be out in force as usual, championing British retail.

Navkinder Sanghera

AVP Retail, Consumer Goods, Travel, Transport and Hospitality

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