Seven online retailers have been named the country's best in their categories in the 2013 Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards. Recognized by the judging panel for their innovative business models and superior online customer experience, the winners were announced tonight at a gala at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will share a total of $1 million worth of prizes from Canada Post.
The winners are:
- Best Multi-channel Retailer – Large: Lowe's Canada (North York, Ont.) lowes.ca
- Best Multi-channel Retailer – Small: SNAKES & LATTES (Toronto, Ont.) snakesandlattes.com
- Best E-tailer – Large: Well.ca (Toronto, Ont.) well.ca
- Best E-tailer – Small: Build.ca, a Build.com Network Store (Burlington, Ont.) build.ca
- Most Innovative Retailer – Large: Jewlr (Thornhill, Ont.) jewlr.com
- Most Innovative Retailer – Small: TenTree International (Regina, Sask.) tentree.com
- Consumer Champion Award (chosen by Canadians in an online vote): NailPolishCanada.com (Vancouver, B.C.) nailpolishcanada.com
The judging panel included Rafe Petkovic (Google Canada); Josh Bloom (Facebook Canada); Stéphane Ricoul (Sid Lee Technologies, also Co-founder and President, eComMTL); Duncan Payne (Hut2Hut Events and DX3 Co-founder); and Siobhan Vinish (Postmedia Network).
"These innovators are pushing the boundaries and creating opportunities for homegrown e-commerce and we're so pleased to recognize and support their success," says René Desmarais, Senior Vice-President, Parcels, Canada Post. The $1 million total prize package includes shipping services, customized direct marketing packages that include data and targeting solutions, and marketing exposure.
As Canadians flock to online shopping, they have increasingly high expectations that e-tailers hit the mark for online user experience, product selection, shipping and returns solutions and customer engagement. These are the very things the winners excel at. For example:
- Best Multi-Channel Retailer – Large winner Lowe's Canada, a big box home improvement retailer, excels at the omni-channel experience to offer, for example, the same products and exceptional product information online that shoppers will find in the store, a real-time product availability tool, as well as how-to advice geared to the do-it-yourself market.
- Best Multi-Channel Retailer – Small winner SNAKES & LATTES boasts the largest publicly-accessible board game library in North America. Its innovative business model creatively engages customers of their physical café and of their online gaming marketplace – making it easier not only to buy a board game but also to participate in a growing global community.
- Best E-tailer – Large winner well.ca was a startup working out of the closet of a Guelph pharmacy five years ago, and now carries online more than 50,000 health, beauty and baby products with free shipping to most Canadians, and recently delivered its 1 millionth package. Leveraging research about the busy working moms who represent their key market, well.ca has, among other things, optimized its mobile app's user experience for iPad and iPhone users.
- Best E-tailer – Small winner Build.ca created the ability to offer Canadians a wide array of home improvement and décor products from U.S. suppliers by leveraging Canadian warehouses to fulfill orders, paid for in Canadian dollars, thereby avoiding customs duties.
- Most Innovative Retailer – Large winner Jewlr.com has a website that allows customers to create their own unique piece of jewelry by choosing a metal, stones and personalized engraving – but it has also created a kiosk equipped with iPads which customers can use to place orders directly, with free shipping and a 99-day "hassle-free" returns policy.
- Most Innovative Retailer – Small winner TenTree International, an apparel company that plants 10 trees for every item sold, has used social marketing in innovative ways to drive awareness and spectacular sales growth. It is now branching out to allow customers to discover the location, species and more about their ten trees.
- Consumer Champion Award – NailPolishCanada.com used its website, Twitter and Facebook, with daily contests and clever calendar reminders, to engage customers about voting to express their support for the brand.