The awards were held at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand in Christchurch last night, in conjunction with the Lower South Island finals, which took place immediately prior. Entertainer Lisa O’Neill MC’d the event.
O’Neill remarked before presenting the awards that some of the finalists scored 100 percent in the mystery shopping round, meaning not one mistake was made in the course of the judge’s shopping experience. “This is amazing in a retail environment, where anything can go wrong at any time,” she said.
In an emotional speech, Whittingham thanked Specsavers Gisborne’s staff. He said he and Richards had put a lot of work into customer service and the award validated this focus on staffing.
“This is all about them, it isn’t just about us. They just blow me away every day.”
When Specsavers Gisborne won the Overall Regional Supreme Award for the Central North Island which qualified them for the nationals, Whittingham and Richards said that excelling in customer service was the main way to impress Gisborne people. They praised their tight-knit team.
At the finals in Christchurch, Whittingham also thanked his customers, describing the Gisborne community as wonderful: “Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”
He remarked that retailers worked extremely hard for their results.
“I used to think that retail was easy, just treat people how you’d like to be treated yourself. That’s not good enough now. We all do more than that.”
Retail NZ chief executive Mark Johnston says winning the National Supreme Awards is a tremendous achievement. The supreme award is sponsored by retail agency .99 and Retail NZ.
“The judges that visited the store were impressed by the very professional layout and look. The staff were friendly and made customers feel welcome and at ease, while providing excellent advice.”
Johnston says the Retail NZ Top Shop awards celebrate all those who have achieved retail excellence over the past year, and aim to lift the bar of retailing in New Zealand. He described the judging process which has been taking place over the past few months, in which the best stores are selected based on three rigorous rounds of judging – two in-store assessments and a panel selection, across a broad range of store types, including national chains and independent boutiques. The winners of the Retail Professional and Overall Supreme National Awards were selected from the 2015 regional winners announced at Top Shop events throughout the country over the past six weeks.
The Register covered every Top Shop event. You can find our stories here:
– Warehouse Stationery scoops the Upper North Island Top Shop Supreme Award
– First Samoan winner of the Top Shop People’s Choice Award
– Think pink: Pinky’s Bargains wins People’s Choice award in Hamilton Top Shop
– Customers’ energy drives Top Shop winners for the Lower North Island
– Green fingers the key to success for BeauKayes florist
– Gore store Carvin Streetwear takes out Top Shop for the Lower South Island
– Z Energy works its magic to score People’s Choice Award
– Hair Products Online is the People’s Choice for Christchurch Top Shop awards
– Joy ride: Avantiplus takes out the overall Upper South Island Top Shop Award
Gore clothing retailer Carvin Streetwear and Warehouse Stationery Royal Oak were both named runners up. Carvin’s manager, Jess Pulham, was joint winner of the prize for National Retail Professional of the Year with Rebekah Brown from Resene, Auckland.
The National Pureplay E-tailer award was also presented at the Top Shop awards evening and went to Wellington’s Beauty Bliss. Founder Toni Barrett spoke of how she came from a background in software development before pursuing her interest in makeup by setting up Beauty Bliss.