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And the nominees are…

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 6 May 2008

Have you ever attended a channel awards ceremony where the actual winners came as a complete surprise to everyone at the event? An awards ceremony where personal relationships and commercial interests may have had an unhealthy influence on the actual outcome?

If this scenario sounds familiar, and you want to see something very different, then pop along to the inaugural Retail Academy Awards at this month’s Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) event in Fujairah, where live electronic voting will determine the winners of all 14 awards.

The awards cover vendors, retailers and distributors working in the Middle East consumer electronics and IT channel-to-market. DCC is a business-focused networking event for the retail channel community in the Middle East.

Over the past fortnight, an executive committee comprising 23 senior retail executives has taken part in a blind vote to shortlist five nominees for each vendor award. Simultaneously, an executive panel of 22 vendor and distribution executives has undertaken a similar exercise to come up with the shortlist of nominated vendors.

The confirmed nominees for the vendor awards are (in alphabetical order):

Desktop/Notebooks: Retail Vendor of the Year: Acer, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, HP, Toshiba

Peripherals: Retail Vendor of the Year: Apple, Belkin, Imation, Sandisk, WD

Accessories: Retail Vendor of the Year: Belkin, Genius, Logitech, Microsoft, Targus

Mobile Phones: Retail Vendor of the Year: HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson

LCD/Plasma TVs: Retail Vendor of the Year: LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony

Middle East Retail: Overall Vendor of the Year: Acer, HP, HTC, Nokia, Sony

Special Achievement for Outstanding Retail Channel Development: HTC, Lacie, Microsoft Xbox, Sandisk, WD

Retail Channel Manager of the Year: Satya Rangadam, retail sales manager, Acer; Brad Whatmough, Middle East Retail Manager, Dell; Wael El Chami, retail account manager, HP; Kiran Nair, retail marketing specialist, Imation; Anil Warang, UAE country manager, Toshiba

More than 140 senior executives from the Middle East consumer electronics and IT retail channel will use live electronic voting devices during the gala dinner to pick the winner for each of the vendor awards.

Vendors have been assessed on a number of criteria including channel strategy, inventory management, margin potential, marketing, merchandising, training and support.

Live voting

“The live electronic voting for the awards promises to inject excitement and suspense into the awards,” explained Farouk Hemraj, CEO at DISTREE Events, the organiser of DCC. “The concept is simple: retailers voting for the vendor awards, and vendors voting for the retailer and distributor awards. We have an incredible turnout of vendors and retailers from across the Middle East at this year’s DCC and we wanted them all to have their say in deciding which companies and individuals deserved awards.”

The Middle East Retail Academy Awards ceremony will take place during a gala dinner on the evening of the 20th May at Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah – the exclusive venue for this year’s DCC.

Hemraj added: “Each delegate at DCC has been carefully profiled and verified by our research team to ensure that they are senior executives within the Middle East IT and consumer electronics retail channel. With such an illustrious and knowledgeable gathering, it was only right that they had the final say on the winners of these awards and that is why we have chosen to deploy a live electronic voting system. It promises to be an exciting evening and the winners will fully deserve their awards because they have been voted for by the people that matter most.”

The confirmed nominees for the retailer and distributor awards are (in alphabetical order):

Hypermarket / Big Box Retailer of the Year: Carrefour, Emax, Jarir, Lulu, Sharaf DG

Mall-based / Specialist Retailer of the Year: i2, Jacky’s, Jumbo, Plug-Ins, Virgin

Store Concept of the Year: Compume, Emax, Eon, Jacky’s Express, Sharaf DG

Best Retailer for Marketing/Promotion: Jacky’s, Jarir Bookstore, Plug-Ins, Sharaf DG, Virgin

Retail Executive of the Year: NR Ganesh, heavy household department manager, Carrefour; Hussni Chamout, regional retail director, Compume /i2; Ashish Panjabi, COO, Jacky’s; V Manoharan, VP purchasing, Jarir Bookstore; Nilesh Khalkoo, director, Sharaf DG

Retail Distributor of the Year: Delta, Emitac, ITE, Redington, Source IT

The executive committee assessed retailers on a number of criteria including customer satisfaction, sales growth, corporate social responsibility, profitability, store experience, vendor relations, innovation and service levels.

During the live awards ceremony, executives from more than 50 vendors – representing approximately 150 individuals - will cast their vote for their preferred candidates. At the beginning of the evening, vendors and retailers eligible to vote will receive a booklet outlining the achievements and plans of all the nominated companies and individuals to aid them in their decision-making process.

More than 300 senior executives from the region’s top CE and IT-focused vendors, retailers and distributors will meet later this year at Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) Middle East and Africa (MEA). Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) bills itself as the ultimate professional networking event for senior executives from the consumer electronics, digital device and ICT products retail channel in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region.

DCC MEA is a focused event for retail executives based on the successful concept of bringing high-level buyers from emerging markets into productive contact with vendors. DCC MEA was launched in 2005 in Fujairah, UAE. The inaugural event attracted support from a host of international A-brand vendors. Since its launch, DCC MEA has grown rapidly, establishing itself as the ‘must-attend’ annual event for retail buyers covering consumer electronics, digital devices or ICT products, according to the organiser.

CE ANALYSIS: The live voting will certainly be exciting and this level of transparency for an awards ceremony will certainly be refreshing for those in attendance. The variety of companies nominated suggests that the executive committees have had carte blanche to pick their candidates. With each nominee now facing the public vote, the event promises to highlight the companies and individuals that have truly excelled in their field. There will be full coverage of the Retail Academy Awards on www.channelemea.com

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