It’s your time to shine!

The SLR Awards 2022 mark the 20th anniversary of the Awards, and we are delighted to be back with a face-to-face event for the first time since 2019. To help you give yourself the best possible chance of making the shortlist, here are some useful top tips.

This is a very special year for the SLR Awards, marking as it does the 20th anniversary of the Awards. With a face-to-face event back on the cards, it’s looking set to be a highlight of the year – and we want as many of you as possible to be with us on 7 September.

Being shortlisted or winning an award can have a massively beneficial effect on your store, your team and your customers. Even entering the Awards in the first place can benefit you: it forces you to take a step back and see your store through the eyes of your shoppers. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily challenges of running the store and lose sight of what’s right in front of your eyes. Taking a deep breath and casting an objective eye over every aspect of your store will help you figure out what you’re getting right as well as spotting where there is room for improvement.

The one thing that most multi-award-winning retailers have in common is that they treat regularly entering awards as a key way of keeping their store in great shape all year round. By constantly taking a fresh look at their store these retailers make sure that standards are maintained and improved, and that the business is always making progress.

To help you prepare this year’s entries, we’ve compiled some helpful hints and tips…

1. Plan ahead!

  • Take half an hour and sit down and plan the categories that you intend to enter in 2022.
  • Then you can give yourself enough time before the entry deadline to compile everything you need for a set of strong entries.
  • Once you’ve decided, add some deadlines into your calendar now, whether that’s on your phone, your computer or on a traditional desk or wall calendar.

2. Take a deep breath!

  • When you’ve decided to put together an entry, it’s tempting to just get stuck in straight away – but don’t!
  • Take a deep breath and read the entry form carefully. It’s vital you know what the judges are expecting before you put pen to paper. Be sure to read and fully understand every question.
  • Always try to provide precise answers to every question on the form – and resist the temptation to miss any questions. Try also to avoid including information that doesn’t add anything useful or informative to your entry.

3. Focus on the positives!

  • The best place to start is to focus on areas of your store that you feel you have made good progress with over the last year.
  • It’s tempting to enter as many categories as possible but that can be counterproductive. It’s quality not quantity that matters here. It’s better to focus on the awards categories where you genuinely feel you’ve made progress in the last 12 months.

4. Be concise!

  • Nothing puts judges off more than pages and pages of text that they have to wade through, so keep it short and to the point.
  • Try to provide only information that is relevant and try to avoid including data that you find interesting but the judges might not. If the point you’re making doesn’t add to your entry, it’s perhaps best to ditch it.
  • Try to structure your entry one point at a time with one point leading neatly and logically to the next. Show the judges you understand your business.

5. Be precise!

  • Judging panels are looking for hard facts and specifics, not generalisations, to help them sift out the stronger entries.
  • Try to avoid vague statements like ‘sales rose’. Instead, make it clear that ‘sales increased by 13.2%,’ for instance.
  • Similarly, try to give precise financial information. If you are not prepared to give specifics (‘sales rose by £2,800 per week’), then provide percentage figures (‘sales rose by 14.7%’).
  • Avoid statements you can’t back up. This might include things like ‘my shoppers are much happier’ unless you provide a testimonial statement.

6. …but don’t miss anything out!

  • While it’s vital to be concise, it’s also important that you don’t submit an incomplete entry.
  • Answer all questions and provide all supplementary evidence requested, even if you’re not sure it’s important.
  • Include photographs and supplementary evidence such as Epos data.

7. Include visuals!

  • A picture is worth a thousand words so make sure to include good quality photos that highlight your entry and add energy and colour to your submission.
  • With cameras on every smartphone, there’s no excuse for not providing good quality photos to illustrate entries.
  • Critically, only send photos of what you are discussing in your entry. If photos don’t relate to the specific entry at hand, it’s perhaps best to leave them out.
  • It’s increasingly common to submit video footage, so that may be an exciting option to really bring your entry to life.

8. Do your homework!

  • You can really get an edge on the competition by doing some research. Look at past winners and see why they won to help inspire you.
  • Don’t be afraid to flatter sponsors by mentioning them by name in your entry and including their products in your photos!

9. If you do it, do it right!

  • If you’re going to take the time to enter awards then do it enthusiastically and well. It takes time to build a good entry so if you commit to entering then commit to making it the best entry it can be.
  • Judges can easily spot a hastily prepared entry and will be able to dismiss your entry quickly if you didn’t fully commit to the process.

Enter at