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Event Coverage 13 minutesFree Report

VIP Awards 2023: Retail’s Core Is Human and Rooted in Partnership

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What's Inside

The Coresight Research team attended the VIP Awards in New York City on January 13, 2023, hosted by Vendors in Partnership. In this report, we present insights from the retail industry celebration, including the mission and significance of the event as well as winners of selected awards.

We are excited to reveal that Coresight Research won the Retail Voice award.

Companies mentioned in this report include: Digital Wave Technology, Impact Analytics, January Digital, Riskified, Tractor Supply Co., Ulta Beauty

Other relevant research:

Executive Summary

  • The VIP Awards highlighted cutting-edge solutions across areas such as sustainability, marketing, supply chain, innovation, analytics, payments, security and more. The event celebrated innovation, partnership and community.
  • Vicki Cantrell and Phil Leahy co-founded the VIP Awards after identifying that the retail ecosystem lacked opportunities to celebrate and foster collaborative relationships. Following pandemic-led restrictions in the past couple of years, the VIP Awards in 2023 presented an in-person opportunity to connect with retail’s leading thinkers and problem solvers.
  • We are excited to reveal that Coresight Research won the Retail Voice award.
  • Among the 21 VIP Awards winners were Digital Wave Technology, Impact Analytics, January Digital, Riskified, Tractor Supply Co. and Ulta Beauty.

Introduction

On January 13, 2023, Vendors in Partnership (VIP) hosted the VIP Awards 2023 in New York City—its third annual industry celebration for retail solution providers. At the event, VIP presented 21 awards spanning nine categories to a standing-room-only crowd.

The VIP Awards event provided an opportunity to celebrate the value of strong relationships between retailers and retail solution providers, while acting as a springboard to a vibrant new year in retail and an energetic and positive launch to five days and nights of everything retail, from the VIP Awards to RetailROI’s SuperSaturday to NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show.

Coresight Research was a sponsor of the VIP Awards 2023. In this report, we present highlights from the event.

VIP Awards 2023: Coresight Research Insights

As the retail industry continues to face an uncertain and challenging macroeconomic environment, retailers are increasingly turning to solution providers to leverage next-generation technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to solve for a range of challenges. The VIP Awards highlighted cutting-edge solutions across areas such as sustainability, marketing, supply chain, innovation, analytics, payments, security and more. The event celebrated innovation, partnership and community; it provided a platform for increased engagement across the industry.

Keynote speaker Dave Finnegan reminded attendees of the importance of “setting aside cellphones… to be present with partners.” He urged the audience to take the time over the following few days of conferences and meetings to get to know a couple of people better and so build “beautiful partnerships.”

The award winners spoke to the importance of listening to their clients, knowing their pain points and working together to solve issues.

We are excited to reveal that Coresight Research won the Retail Voice award.

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The Coresight Research team on stage accepting the Retail Voice award
Left to Right: Mike Zung, Deborah Weinswig, Andy Laudato (COO of The Vitamin Shoppe, judge at the VIP Awards), Marie Driscoll, Billy May (emcee at the VIP Awards)
Source: VIP Awards

 

The Mission of the VIP Awards

Vicki Cantrell and Phil Leahy co-founded the VIP Awards after identifying that the retail ecosystem lacked opportunities to celebrate and foster collaborative relationships—not only between retailers and solutions providers but also solution provider to solution provider. Given Cantrell’s 25-year tenure in the retail industry, previously serving as CIO and COO of global luxury brands, as well as SVP of Communities and Executive Director at Shop.org under the National Retail Federation (NRF), she is intimately familiar with the retail community and the importance of these relationships. She argued that the differentiator for the VIP awards is “how we define what matters. There are two types of awards: the solution awards, recognizing specific solutions and services; and the community awards, which recognize how you do business as great partners, not what the solution does.”

The core of the retail industry’s value ultimately lies in its human element, in opportunities for industry participants to form community and trust, and collaborate and create solutions for retail’s biggest challenges. After the restricted gatherings in 2021 and 2022 due to the pandemic, the VIP Awards in 2023 presented a special and welcome opportunity to connect with retail’s leading thinkers and problem solvers in the one room, and it was a great start to NRF 2023 Retail’s Big Show.

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Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder of Coresight Research, and Vicki Cantrell, Co-Founder of VIP Awards
Source: Coresight Research

 

The Significance of the VIP Awards

Finnegan shared how his recent global travel experiences reinforced his belief in the importance of values celebrated at the VIP Awards event, including the significance of human connection, being present and strong partnerships.

On the importance of the evening, he said, “Tonight, I spoke about the importance of getting to know your partners, and there are not a lot of times in your life that you actually get an opportunity to talk to someone one on one. That, to me, is why the VIP Awards are so special, because [the event] gives us a night that we can set aside everything else; we can celebrate the great work that partners are doing and get to know each other better.”

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Dave Finnegan on stage at the VIP Awards
Source: Coresight Research

 

2023 Award Winners

Below, we present details on the awards and winners of the VIP Awards 2023.

Partner of the Year: Litmus7

Award Description: Partner of the Year recognizes achievement in excellent customer and employee culture.

Winner: Litmus7 is a retail solutions provider whose services and products help retailers to accelerate digital revenue and profitability, while practicing a zero-escalation policy.

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Litmus7 team on-stage as they accept their award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Retail Partner of the Year: Ulta Beauty

Award Description: Retail Partner of the Year recognizes a retailer’s achievement in excellent customer and employee culture.

Winner: Ulta Beauty is the largest US beauty retailer.

Michelle Pacynski, Vice President of Digital Innovation at Ulta Beauty, shared her views on the importance of partnership in the retail industry, stating that the award “is all about the spirit of collaboration and partnership. And honestly, it really is pretty easy to create a strong partnership when you have two very like-minded organizations. We share the same values. We treat people with complete respect. And it’s just, it really makes for an incredibly strong partnership.”

Ulta Beauty accepts the Retail Partner of the Year award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Retail Transformation of the Year: Tractor Supply Co.

Award Description: This award recognizes retailers that demonstrate measurable and sustainable transformation across business models, technology modernization, organizational/cultural transformation or business process transformation.

Winner: Tractor Supply Co. is the largest US rural lifestyle retailer, selling products in the home-improvement, agricultural and pet categories.

Tractor Supply’s Rob Mills (EVP, Chief Technology, Digital Commerce and Strategy Officer), John Ordus (SVP) and Glenn Allison (VP of Customer-Facing Applications) accepted the Retail Transformation of the Year award. They emphasized the importance of partnership and hjow it translates across the company’s business model, with one executive saying, “This [VIP Award] means that we support our 50,000-plus team members in our stores and all of our customers in North America. Tractor Supply cares about legendary customer service, and this award shows partnerships across many different partners to drive that legendary customer service and show that we are always focusing on the customer.”

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Tractor Supply Co. team accepts the Retail Transformation of the Year award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Retail Voice: Coresight Research

Award Description: The Retail Voice award recognizes a media resource that provides valuable insights on current and future trends in the industry.

Winner: Coresight Research is a global research and advisory firm delivering data-driven insights focusing on retail and technology.

“Coresight Research is delighted to receive the Retail Voice award. Our team is proud of this incredible recognition for our global retail and technology research,” said Weinswig.

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Members of the Coresight Research team at the VIP Awards (left to right): Marie Driscoll, Senior Analyst, Managing Director – Luxury; Mara Dosso, Head of Events; Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder; Mike Zung, Senior Consultant
Source: Coresight Research

 

The VIP Challenge Award: T-Mobile for Business

Award Description: The VIP Challenge Award recognizes demonstration in partnership to solve a client hardship or identify a new opportunity. This year, the theme for The VIP Challenge Award was “Driving Retail Forward Through Innovation,” which aimed to recognize a retailer’s agility when faced with changing factors in the market.

Winner: T-Mobile for Business provides network solutions for small businesses, enterprises and government.

T-Mobile for Business helped “one of the biggest and fastest-growing retailers out there to empower them during a storm with connectivity immediately when it went down,” a company executive stated. The award was accepted by members of the T-Mobile for Business team: Kim Chow, Vice President for Business Marketing; Ryan Taylor, Head of Retail Product Marketing; and Ripi Krali, Managing Director of Retail Accounts.

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The T-Mobile for Business team accepts The VIP Challenge Award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Sustainability Initiative: Relex Solutions

Award Description: Best Sustainability Initiative is awarded to the solutions provider that demonstrates operational excellence combined with social and environmental responsibility that provides benefits for both the provider and its partners.

Winner: Relex Solutions’ supply chain and retail planning platform helps retailers optimize operations such as demand planning, inventory management, supply management and more.

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Relex Solutions team accepts Best Sustainability Initiative
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Security Solution: Riskified

Award Description: Best Security Solution recognizes solution providers that help their clients mitigate business threats and challenges.

Winner: Riskified is an e-commerce fraud management platform.

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Riskified wins Best Security Solution
Source: Coresight Research

 

Best Business Intelligence & Analytics Platform: Impact Analytics

Award Description: The Best Business Intelligence & Analytics Platform award is awarded to a solution provider with an intuitive and interactive business analysis product.

Winner: Impact Analytics leverages AI to optimize merchandising and supply chain management.

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The Impact Analytics team receives the Best Business Intelligence & Analytics Platform award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Retail Insights: Competera

Award Description: Best Retail Insights recognizes solutions providers that leverage data to provide actionable insights for retailers.

Winner: Competera is a pricing platform that provides price optimization and automation.

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Competera wins Best Retail Insights
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Digital Agency: January Digital

Award Description: Best Digital Agency recognizes a solution provider with new and creative digital marketing, product and service innovations.

Winner: January Digital provides media, strategic consulting and data analytics services to help brands solve retail challenges.

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The January Digital team receives the Best Digital Agency award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

The Retailer’s Favorite: Slalom

Award Description: The Retailer’s Favorite is awarded to a solution provider that is recognized as a reliable, flexible and knowledge solution partner to retailers.

Winner: Slalom is a global business and technology consulting firm.

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Slalom accepts The Retailer’s Favorite award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Kept Secret: Smarter Sorting

Award Description: Best Kept Secret is awarded to a solution provider or retailer with a service or solution that may be unfamiliar to many or not associated with its brand.

Winner: Smarter Sorting provides product intelligence for consumer goods, leveraging AI and ML.

The Smarter Sorting team accepts the Best Kept Secret award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Longstanding Partnership: Perfaware

Award Description: Best Longstanding Partnership is awarded to a solution provider that can demonstrate a minimum five-year relationship that has resulted in consistent mutual benefits and rewards.

Winner: Perfaware is a digital commerce agency that assists retailers and brands in developing commerce strategies.

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Perfaware accepts the Best Longstanding Partnership award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Customer Experience Marketing Automation: Digital Wave Technology

Award Description: Best Customer Experience Marketing Automation recognizes B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) solution providers that aim to improve marketing touchpoints across website, social media, mobile, email and more.

Winner: Digital Wave Technology is a PXM (product experience management) solution provider that enables brands and retailers to buy faster and sell quicker through digital transformation.

Lori Schafer, CEO of Digital Wave Technology, who accepted the award, said that Digital Wave’s journey involved little sleep and steady focus to know its customers, empathize, and take pride in not what they do, but how they can benefit their clients, which creates great partnerships.

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Left to Right: Lori Schafer, CEO of Digital Wave Technology; Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder of Coresight Research; Louise Hynd, SVP, Business Development at Digital Wave Technology
Source: Coresight Research

 

Best Commerce or Multi-Vendor Platform: commercetools

Award Description: Best Commerce or Multi-Vendor Platform recognizes a solution provider whose platform successfully integrates the needs of stakeholders, customers and employees.

Winner: commercetools is a major investor in composable commerce. The award was accepted by Christopher Holley, Global Director of ISV Partnerships at the company. commercetools provides discrete APIs (application programming interfaces) to create unique customer experiences.

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The commercetools team accepts the Best Commerce or Multi-Vendor Platform award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Payment Innovation: Verifone

Award Description: Best Payment Innovation is awarded to a solution provider with a seamless, integrated and innovative payment solution.

Winner: Verifone’s unified global platform enables seamless payments with any payment method. This enables Verifone to process nearly 50% of global non-cash transactions.

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Verifone wins Best Payment Innovation
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Breakthrough Technology Solution: Salesfloor

Award Description: Best Breakthrough Technology Solution is awarded to a solution provider that is leveraging next-generation technology to innovatively solve retail challenges and boost retailers’ performance.

Winner: Salesfloor’s customer engagement platform leverages AI to provide immersive shopping experiences across retail channels.

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The Salesfloor team accepts the Best Breakthrough Technology Solution award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Distribution Innovation: Wiliot

Award Description: Best Distribution Innovation recognizes a solution provider using advanced technology to improve productivity, cost and speed of distribution for retailers.

Winner: Wiliot is an IoT (Internet of Things) platform that uses IoT pixels, ML, and other technology and data to provide product insights along a company’s supply chain.

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The Wiliot team accepts the Best Distribution Innovation award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Fulfillment Advancement: Manhattan Associates

Award Description: Best Fulfillment Advancement is awarded to a solutions provider that is addressing arising complications in fulfillment across multiple channels.

Winner: Manhattan Associates provides supply chain, omnichannel and inventory software to help optimize supply chain operations.

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The Manhattan Asssociates team receives Best Fulfillment Advancement
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Quick Impact Technology Solution: StoreForce

Award Description: Best Quick Impact Technology Solution recognizes a simple-to-implement and effective technology solution that helps drive revenue growth.

Winner: StoreForce provides associates empowerment and management tools such as task planning, visibility and engagement.

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The StoreForce team accepts the Best Quick Impact Technology Solution award
Source: Vendors in Partnership

 

Best Unified Customer Experience: Bloomreach

Award Description: Best Unified Customer Experience recognizes a solution provider that is able to build a unified branded customer experience across channels.

Winner: Bloomreach’s commerce experience cloud enables brands to provide personalized customer experiences across channels, which drive retailer revenue growth.

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Bloomreach accepts Best Unified Customer Experience
Source: Vendors in Partnership

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