You know your site deserves an industry Oscar, but how can you be sure of putting on a star performance and taking the top prize at the Hollywood-themed Forecourt Trader of the Year awards ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane Hotel on Thursday, September 20?
Winners are people who know how to get themselves noticed not just because their forecourt is the best in its class, but because they’ve managed to show that by putting in a good entry.
Categories to enter
The retailer categories will be grouped by two main criteria region and fuel volume. There are also 12 specialist categories to enter.
First get an entry pack by either calling the awards hotline 01293 610422 or by visiting our website www.forecourttraderawards.co.uk. Read it thoroughly to understand the rules, the categories to enter and what’s expected of you. The entry form requires you to explain why you think your site should be a winner. This is your chance to highlight any big achievements, or elements of your business of which you are particularly proud. The pack also includes the judging criteria for the specialist categories these are a BIG CLUE as to what the judges are looking for. Check the form is completed correctly with full contact details and ticked categories.
We can’t stress enough the importance of the photographs. The early rounds are judged anonymously using only the pictures you’ve sent in. Be sure to submit HIGH QUALITY photographs that give a good impression of the whole site and the relevant categories.
Top tips from the sponsors
Palmer and Harvey Principal sponsor
Richard Hayhoe, marketing director for Palmer and Harvey: "To me a winner is someone who thinks outside the box, and is constantly chasing ways to attract and keep more customers; someone who sees the current economic situation as an opportunity not an obstacle. I know there are a lot of exciting retailers out there and I’m looking forward to finding the industry’s leading lights."
Heineken Best site with a Licence to sell Alcohol
Nichola Cookland, customer marketing manager of Heineken: "’Shoppers looking for beer and cider in your forecourt store will be wanting to take it home or to friends’ houses to drink almost immediately. So, in a winning retail outlet we would be looking for a tight range of the leading brands such as Foster’s, Heineken and Strongbow which are easy for shoppers to find in the chiller. Following Heineken’s Star Retailer principles which you can find at www.starretailer.co.uk will help you to understand what you need to do to be celebrating success in 2012.’’
Convenience Distribution Group Best Car Car and Lubricants Outlet
Graham Tissiman, sales and marketing manager of CDG: "The car care bay and planogram needs to address the different needs of the motorist, from the distress purchase of things like tow ropes and fuel cans, to impulse items such as air fresheners, valeting and cleaning products. The winner will have a good cross-section of brand leaders."
Harvest Energy Best Design and Development Simon Davis, head of sales and logistics: "We’re looking for a retailer who can demonstrate innovation and development within the design of the entire site from canopies to price poles, the layout of pump islands, to car parks and facilities."
Ginsters Best Display of Chilled Food
Phil Eastham, channel controller at Ginsters: "It’s all about the presentation and theatre which will drive customers to the chilled fixture. A combination of lighting, cleanliness, availability, the range, the brands, pricing, signposting, and fixture position in-store, are all key factors. Ask yourself: would I buy fresh, chilled food from this fixture?"
Wilcomatic Best Eco-friendly Outlet
Kevin Pay, managing director of Wilcomatic: "We have vastly reduced the amount of energy and water our machines use, with no loss of performance. But there are plenty of other innovative ways that the best retailers are getting their green act together: low-energy lighting, low-energy fridges and freezers in the shop, modern efficient heating systems. Customers should also be aware of all this so judges will consider not only what the operator has done, but also what steps have been taken to publicise it."
Rollover Best Food-to-Go Outlet
Tony Owen, sales and marketing director of Rollover: "We are looking for the forecourt that is tailoring and maximising its opportunity in food-to-go by using the key things at their disposal such as NPD, staff initiatives, and POP execution."
Wayne Best Forecourt Facilities
Soren Powell-Holse, sales manager of Dresser-Wayne: "We are looking for a retailer who takes pride in making sure customers visit a clean and welcoming forecourt with modern fuel dispensing equipment, good car washing facilities as well as other community relevant facilities."
Costa Express Best Hot Beverages
Oona Rosser, marketing manager at Coffee Nation: "The winner of the Best Hot Beverages category will be the business that best demonstrates a wide choice of quality drinks that appeal to consumers, visibility and availability of the hot drinks offer and the generation of new sales and customer loyalty through innovative promotional materials."
Torex Best Site Manager
Charlotte Hardy, marketing manager at Torex: "The winning site manager will be a master of stock and availability. He will know his customers, understand what they want and when they want it and will analyse stock and sales information to make sure they are always satisfying their customers’ needs. Customer service will be at the heart of the store, with fast, efficient service, great customer interaction and minimised queuing. And most importantly, the Best Site Manager will be the one who most inspires their staff, instilling a sense of teamwork and pride in the appearance of the store."
Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) Best Soft Drinks Outlet
Selina Taylor, trade communications manager of CCE: "We’re looking for those forecourts which demonstrate best practice and understand their shoppers’ different needs and preferences, and tailor the range to meet these needs. A tip is to focus on the best sellers, as the top 30 drink-now products deliver 50% of sales. Successful entries are often those that also look to innovate with secondary sites, POS, promotions, and link deals."
Imperial Tobacco Best Forecourt Innovation
Mike Laney, Imperial Tobacco’s head of convenience: "The winner will be a forecourt retailer who has driven their business forward by adapting the company’s working practices to reflect the evolving needs of its shoppers.
Cross-category knowledge, consumer insight, and the ability to demonstrate increased footfall through innovation, will be key to impressing the judges."
The judging team is chaired by Forecourt Trader editor Merril Boulton, and includes the Forecourt Trader team and awards’ sponsors. The team will also include our very own Shop Doctor, and last year’s overall winners.
The first round of the judging takes place at William Reed Business Media’s head office in Crawley, West Sussex. The process involves looking at all the entries, which are presented anonymously. Marks are awarded for each entry, including an overall mark for the site and a separate mark for each specialist category. This round relies heavily on your photographs so make sure they show off your forecourt and facilities to their best advantage. The written entry is also key.
Judges then take to the road and visit the top-scoring forecourt in each category, to see if the forecourt is trading as well as is shown in the pictures. Cleanliness, tidiness and friendly and helpful staff are key elements for consideration at this stage, as well as adherence to the criteria for the specialist categories. If the site is every bit as good as the photographs suggest, it goes on to the final rounds. If the site doesn’t come up to scratch, judges move down the list to the next highest scorer, and so on. Thus high-scoring sites from round one can be knocked out at this stage. So make sure you don’t let standards slip once the pictures are taken!
There will be three finalists competing for each of the specialist category awards; and also three finalists in each of the regional and two-tier volume category. The overall winner is chosen from these category winners.