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Search for Waikato’s top shop: the tough get going

MEDIA RELEASE

Search on for Waikato’s top shop - the tough get going

Tough times on main street and in the malls are an opportunity for good retailers to shine, says New Zealand Retailers Association chief executive John Albertson.

Announcing the launch of the association’s 2008 Waikato TOP SHOP awards today [26 May], Mr Albertson said the retail excellence awards sought shops that had great staff offering fantastic customer service, were focused on presentation, were innovative and who just stood out from the competition.

“Doing the basics well is important in the current environment.

“The shops which have been around a while have seen down turns before – they know how to deal with them and they’ll do alright,” he said.

“The awards 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 Albertson 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.

Te A Cycles in Te Awamutu has won TOP SHOP category awards two years in a row. “It makes you stand apart in an industry where a lot of people go on about service, product ranges, lower prices. We have TOP SHOP awards to show that we have been recognised by the retail industry as being very good at these things,” says owner Brett Purchase.

Another Waikato category winner, Corporate Pots says its award put the business on the map. “We have become much more well known in the community as an innovative business offering a service that is unique and is becoming well used by both the corporate and private sectors,” says owner Anne-Marie Kyle.

The overall winner of the Waikato 2007 TOP SHOP was Zip Plumbing Plus in Frankton.

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.

Entries for the Waikato regional awards close on 18 July. The winners will be announced on 15 October.

The awards are open to all shops. They also run in the Wellington, Christchurch 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.

ENDS


NOTES
The Waikato 2008 TOP SHOP region runs from Huntly and Thames to Te Kuiti, across to Tokoroa and from Raglan to Matamata.

QUOTES

Te A cycles, Te Awamutu
“I estimate that winning the TOP SHOP awards has increased business by 5-10 percent a year.”

“We pride ourselves on our customer service. TOP SHOP enabled us to benchmark ourselves against the retail industry and our peers. We have not been in business long and we wanted to see if we had what it takes.”

“The TOP SHOP awards function is a great opportunity to network and chat to people who have been in the retail industry a lot longer than us and to learn from them.”

“We even got some business from people we met at the awards evening.

“The fact we have won a TOP SHOP award is a great thing to advertise in the Yellow Pages and we have a big sign on our shop saying we have won it two years in a row – it makes you stand apart in an industry where a lot of people go on about service, product ranges, lower prices. We have TOP SHOP awards to show that we have been recognised by the retail industry as being very good at these things.

“We hear customers say they came to our shop because we have won the TOP SHOP award.”
Brett Purchase, owner Te A cycles, Te Awamutu. Waikato 2006 and 2007 TOP SHOP® retail excellence awards lifestyle and fitness category winner.

Corporate Pots
“Participating in TOP SHOP is an opportunity for us to be part of a prestigious award and is an excellent way to have a close critical look at your business – it lets you know how you are doing and what you could possibly do better.

“It’s an opportunity to show other retailers we are just as good as them. Other retailers, after hearing of our win, wanted to come and have a look at what we do.

“We work hard to provide efficient and quality service to our customers - winning two categories showed our company that our hard work had been recognised.

“Winning TOP SHOP is an opportunity for good exposure and advertising – it helped get our company name out into the Hamilton retail world.

“Our business was put on the map in the public eye. We have become much more well known in the community as an innovative business offering a service that is unique and is becoming well used by both the corporate and private sectors.

“In the marketing I do for Corporate Pots, it has been an advantage in winning the two categories giving us a significant tool which helps with prospective clients who look favourably towards using our business.

“Our staff are very proud of the fact that we won two prestigious awards - to be part of a winning team. They want to continue to provide our clients with superior customer service. It motivates them, giving them a feeling of accomplishment - a job well done. It was a big boost to staff morale.

“Winning TOP SHOP has an ongoing effect on the business as we now have to maintain and improve on a very high standard.”
(Anne-Marie Kyle, owner, Corporate Pots Corporate Box, Waikato 2007 TOP SHOP® retail excellence awards Giftware and Homeware category)

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