Vote for Your Favorite Retail Technology Service Provider Today!
Have you heard of the Vendors in Partnership (VIP) Awards? The awards program was created to celebrate innovation, empathy and excellence among the retail solution provider community. In addition to celebrating great product solutions, the companies that are recognized are those that are willing to make changes that are meaningful in creating a better partnership with retailers, increasing the success of all.
To delve into the program a little more deeply, we asked Vicki Cantrell, co-founder of the (VIP) Awards, and Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded and a judge for the VIP Awards, about it.
Total Retail: Why did you decide to launch the VIP Awards program?
Vicki Cantrell: I believe in retail, and have always worked to advance our success and drive the art of the possible. I've been lucky enough to work for top retailers and brands, to have represented the industry as a spokesperson, and to work for long-time retail solutions providers. Throughout my career, I made vendor selections based on who I thought would be a good partner. But true partnership doesn't come without empathy, the art of perspective, and seeing the problem from the lens of another. The partnership between retailers and the support ecosystem can be collaborative and co-celebrating, allowing all boats to rise in service to the customer. Retailers need the community that supports them, and we need to recognize them for guiding, providing, innovating and investing.
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle: I was thrilled to learn that Phil [co-founder of the VIP Awards and founder and CEO of Retail Global Events and the Retail Orphan Initiative (Australia) Ltd.] and Vicki were bringing the Vendors in Partnership Awards to life because the retail industry at large has needed something like this for a long time. There are so many valuable service providers, experiences, industry leaders and more that help keep retail evolving, exciting and engaging for customers and industry professionals alike to enjoy. Keeping this in mind, the VIP Awards are a fantastic way to bring recognition and respect to the those leading the way in helping to shape both the current landscape and future of retail.
TR: Can you walk us through some of the categories that the solution providers can be nominated for?
VC: The categories were designed to recognize and acknowledge in three key areas:
- highlighting the actual solutions that help the industry;
- recognition for ALL the types of partners retailers rely on (software providers, analysts, media sources, advisors, and innovation); and
- celebrating and rewarding partnership. The Community Award category celebrates those that demonstrate the best possible working relationship and customer-centric methodologies.
TR: What, in your opinion, makes a great solution provider? What qualities do they have?
NLR: I've been fortunate to research, experience and work firsthand with countless solution providers over the years, and the one quality that I always look for is the willingness of vendors to listen vs. just share. This is so important for retailers because they need to feel as if these providers aren't cookie cutter, but rather uniquely able to support their specific needs.
TR: How do you believe the industry will change and improve as a result of these awards?
VC: So many solution providers that support the retail industry not only understand the value of long-term relationships, they consider it part of their mission. We need to reward those companies, and demonstrate that this is the best future success measure for others that are still struggling to break out of the transactional selling mind-set. Transformation is hard but necessary, and we want to reward and highlight the value of deep and empathetic partnerships.
NLR: Retailers gain value in hearing from their peers on what they've appreciated and enjoyed in terms of solution providers. The VIP Awards help give retailers this opportunity while at the same time applauding those providers that deserve this recognition.
TR: How can our readers vote?
VC: We will open the voting for the industry to make their voices heard on Nov. 11. Voting can be done by all supporters of a vendor’s service or product, and each person can vote once per award. Voting is easy and will be done through the vendorawards.com website simply by reading the submission information and clicking on the entry they want to vote for. Retailers can nominate their favorite vendor via the same site by Nov. 8.
TR: When and where is the event taking place?
VC: The VIP Awards is the kickoff to the biggest global retail week of the year, and will take place on Jan. 10, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. It will be at the beautiful Gotham Hall located in midtown New York at 1356 Broadway.