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Visual element is key in 3rd annual National Retail Innovation Awards

Date Published: October 18, 2019

Winners put their best foot forward

Three innovative retailers from across Canada will accept awards in Halifax on November 1. The National Retail Innovation Awards, recognizing outstanding leadership in the retail sector, are presented by the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services, located at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

“As the largest private-sector employer in the country, retailers in Canada hold a critical role in our economy,” noted Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO of Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and a member of the David Sobey Advisory Council. “And to grow and prosper in a competitive global environment, our retailers are innovating in technology, customer loyalty, store and product design and much more.  We applaud this year’s winners as they embody innovative thinking and customer care – Bravo to Poppy Barley, Dash Hudson and Six Hundred Four!”

The three category winners are:

  • Sustainable Retailing Innovation: Poppy Barley works with family-owned factories in Mexico and Brazil to craft a sustainable supply chain and a beautiful, ethical product line.
  • Retail Technology Innovation: Dash Hudson provides brands like Amazon, Kylie Cosmetics, and Apple with a one-stop solution to predict performance, distribute, measure, and enhance engagement across key visual marketing channels.
  • Retail Customer Experience Innovation: Six Hundred Four creates limited edition art shoes. Their in-person Sneaker Gallery elevates sneaker buying to art immersion, and a virtual reality online store mirrors the unique experience.

On November 1, representatives from these businesses will accept their awards at a luncheon hosted by the David Sobey Centre.

“The David Sobey Centre's mandate is help build a vibrant retail sector in Canada. We engage in applied research that guides retailers and support innovation that solves problems or creates new opportunities for retailers,” said Dr. Ramesh Venkat, Director of the David Sobey Centre. “The National Retail Innovation Awards is a celebration of successful innovation in Canadian retailing.  We hope the stories of these visionary entrepreneurs will inspire many others.”

The David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services, founded in 2014, funds research projects relevant to the retail sector, sponsors retail innovation and student competitions, and offers executive education for the retail sector.


National Retail Innovation Award Winners – 2019

Retail Technology Innovation Award: Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson is a visual marketing platform used by the world's most discerning brands and publishers. Brands use Dash Hudson to create and share photos and videos that people care about. Their visual marketing software provides a one-stop solution to create, measure, and predict performance, see trends, enhance engagement, and distribute content from different sources.

Marketing today relies heavily on online channels. Marketing online has become very visual, thanks to social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Dash Hudson is helping retailers and brands effectively engage customers through visual marketing.  Dash Hudson’s retail clients include Nordstrom, COTTON:ON, Anthropologie, and Eddie Bauer among many others.

Dash Hudson is the 2019 winner of the Retail Technology Innovation Award, thanks to their unique AI-driven platform that helps companies leverage their visual assets and engage customers.

Retail Customer Experience Innovation Award: Six Hundred Four

Six Hundred Four partners with artists and turns their art into limited edition shoes. Each artist is featured on a total of 604 pairs, and each pair is laser-engraved with an individual ID number. Each pair is crafted with premium materials while utilizing specialized printers that effectively tattoo the art onto the shoes. This allows each pair to be worn comfortably and freely, with no fear the art will bleed, crack, or crumble away. The company has a brick-and-mortar Sneaker Gallery, which is an art and sneaker experience unlike anything else in the world. Their unique virtual reality store online creates an engaging shopping experience.

Six Hundred Four is the 2019 winner of the National Retail Innovation Award for customer experience innovation.

Sustainable Retailing Innovation Award: Poppy Barley

Poppy Barley is a Canadian luxury brand that’s rethinking every step of the fashion industry—from design to factory relationships to retail experience. Poppy Barley partners with family-owned factories in Mexico and Brazil, to ethically craft foundational footwear and chic, functional accessories, which are sold at fair prices. Poppy Barley is founded on the belief that social and environmental objectives matter as much as profits and happy customers.

This young retailer has demonstrated their commitment to the environment and sustainability in different ways.  Poppy Barley has a leather shoe recycling program, they donate 1% of sales to worthy causes, they pay a living wage, and they use recycled material for packaging. They are a certified B Corporation, and personally visit their factories to ensure their sustainability efforts are being carried out. For their partners in Mexico who are burdened by high interest rates, Poppy Barley has created a low-interest loan program.

Poppy Barley is the 2019 winner of the Sustainable Retailing Innovation Award.

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