Search on for Christchurch’s TOP SHOP®
Search on for Christchurch’s TOP SHOP® - doom defied with strong retail growth reported
The search for Christchurch’s best shop is set to begin next week.
New Zealand’s leading retail excellence awards, TOP SHOP®, kick off in Christchurch on Monday 12 May with the organiser, the New Zealand Retailers Association, calling for entries from Christchurch shops.
The launch of the retail sector’s showpiece comes as Canterbury retailers defy doom and gloom sentiment and report they are in good heart on the back of a 7.6 percent increase in sales (excluding motor vehicles) in February compared with the same month last year.
“In Canterbury at least most retailers are doing okay at a time when the consumer dollar is being stretched in many directions,” said the association’s South Island Regional Manager Stan Wojtas.
“Sales are tightening up a little, but retailers who have been around a long time, and know their profession, will continue to do alright.”
Wojtas said the TOP SHOP® awards are an opportunity for retailers to show how good they are. The awards are open to all shop owners proud of their customer service, the way their shop looks and how they run their business.
“They have been around 21 years now and have a well established track record of improving customer service.
“For the shops, TOP SHOP® is an opportunity to concentrate on service, bond their staff and cost effectively benchmark themselves against other similar shops.”
Mr Wojtas said winning the award not only gives public recognition to the best, but also has been proven to make a difference regarding where people shop with winners reporting more customers coming through their doors.
“It’s great for the ego if you win something and great for staff morale,” says Trudy McLean, Director of Christchurch’s Groovy Glasses, winner of the Christchurch 2007 TOP SHOP® Customer Service category.
“We get ongoing comments right throughout the year like ‘oh, you’re the place that won that award’ so it’s not like it’s all over and forgotten within a few weeks.”
The overall winner of the Christchurch 2007 TOP SHOP® was Builders Hardware.
A key test for TOP SHOP® entrants is the mystery shopper exercise during which staff from a specialist mystery shopper company make unannounced visits to entrants’ shops to provide judges with information on criteria such as service and presentation.
Other criteria include doing the basics well, innovation and the ‘wow’ factor.
TOP SHOP® is open to all retailers and entries for the Christchurch regional awards close on 4 July. The winners will be announced on 1 October.
The awards also run in the Waikato, Wellington and Auckland regions.
Shops enter in categories such as supermarket, fashion, footwear and accessories and start up. From the winners from these categories, an overall winner is selected.
The Christchurch 2008 TOP SHOP® region is from Leeston to Amberley and from Akaroa to Rangiora.
Milk- Contemporary Baby Store
“TOP SHOP® is a good discipline for Milk – it gives us something else to measure up to each year.
It keeps all of us on our toes and enables us to compare ourselves to retailers from different sectors.
It’s motivational for staff as they know for a period there will be a TOP SHOP® mystery shopper. Everyone makes an extra effort and it is easier to keep that up for the rest of the year.
SHOP® helps remind us of the importance of a positive
face-to-face interaction with our customers and having the
store looking 100 percent every day.”
(Mal Cleugh, co-owner Milk - Contemporary Baby Store winner Christchurch 2007 TOP SHOP® ® retail excellence awards Specialty Store category)
“For Christmas Jones, TOP SHOP® is a good way to judge if we are achieving our goals and how other retailers see us.
Thanks to TOP SHOP® a lot of shops come to us for display ideas – that has been extra business for us as we do displays and rentals. Shops coming to us shows that we know what we are doing and it’s nice to have acknowledgement of that.
When we first entered TOP SHOP® in 2003, it was our customers that put us forward. That was gratifying as Christmas Jones had just started out.
The TOP SHOP® judging sheet gives us a broad outline of what our staff need to achieve. TOP SHOP® gives us an easy way to explain to staff how to approach a customer and get a sale. You are only as good as your weakest staff member.
When we get our judging sheet back
it makes us aware of where we can improve. In the first
year of TOP SHOP® we lost because staff didn’t have name
tags. It’s all part of learning.”
(Mike Jones, owner/manager Christmas Jones, winner Christchurch 2007 TOP SHOP® ® retail excellence awards Innovation Excellence in Retail category)
“Entering TOP SHOP® provides a good discipline for staff to regularly review the way things are done and the mystery shopping gives us good impartial feedback. Also if we win anything it really impresses our existing customers and attracts new business – so why not?
We take any competition requirements – for example last year we were marked on whether we had a refund/ exchange policy on display - and implement them after discussion to see whether they fit with our business philosophy. This has resulted in several changes to the way we do things such as we now wear nametags.
It’s great for the ego if you win something (we all need a pat on the back from time to time) and great for staff morale. We get ongoing comments right throughout the year like “oh, you’re the place that won that award so it’s not like it’s all over and forgotten within a few weeks.
It costs only a small amount to enter and then of course there is the cost of the (Trudy McLean, Director Groovy Glasses, Christchurch. Winner Canterbury TOP SHOP® ® retail excellence awards Customer Service category)