FIRST, the Forum for Internet Retailers, Sellers, and Traders that was recently launched by MSME Minister Shri Narayan Rane, at an event in Delhi, announced the winners of the first-of-a-kind seller awards. The award ceremony witnessed the presence of dignitaries including Dr. J.U. Chandrakala, IAS, Director, Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation Institute, Department of MSME, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Mr. K. Mariappan, President, Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association (TANSTIA), and Mr. Krishna Gupta, Chairman and National President, Federation of All India Distributors Association, among others.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Vinod Kumar, President, India SME Forum (ISF), stated, “It is our pleasure to honour these exceptional retailers who are revolutionizing the shopping experience for customers through ambivalent solutions. We wish to provide all the support they need in their journey ahead and look forward to how they set an example for millions of others in their industries.”
Mr. Girish Krishnan, Director, Amazon Pay Rewards & Merchant Services, said, “It is heartening to see how traditional retailers have embraced technology to transform their businesses. We are humbled to see thousands of sellers across India adopt the Amazon Pay Smart Store program that offers the widest range affordability options such as no cost EMI, instant discounts, and best in-store payment experience, enabling higher footfall, conversion and sales. We remain deeply committed to building innovative solutions to serve and empower offline local retailers.”
Mr. Prahlad Kakar, Brand Guru and Chairman, India SME Forum, said, “It’s inspiring to see businesses evolving with time. Fear stops people from innovating but it’s good to see entrepreneurs here who have transcended traditional restrictions to adopt hybrid solutions to further their business.” Dr. Aruna Sharma, Retd. IAS and Secretary General, FIRST, said, “We, at FIRST, take immense pride in the success stories of these retailers. Through these inspirational stories, our aim is to encourage more businesses to leverage digital solutions, helping them become self-reliant and sustainable.”
Having received 1800+ nominations from across six South Indian states - Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Goa - the ‘Best Sellers of India Awards - Recognising Phygital Excellence in Southern India’ recognized the outstanding achievements of 13 retailers who successfully adopted a combination of in-store and online retail sales by leveraging the latest technologies, credit facilities and digital solutions to offer the best possible deals while recording growth. This comprised retailers across categories such as Food & Beverages, Fashion & Apparels, Jewellery, Furniture, Grocery, Home & Kitchen, Electronics, and Lifestyle. Additionally, the awards included 3 special category winners – Best Fintech User of the Year, Best OmniChannel Store of the Year, and Best Smart Store of the Year.
The awards in each category was judged by a panel of jury comprising eminent dignitaries including Mr. Amar Patnaik, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Dr. Aruna Sharma, Retd. IAS, Former Secretary to the Government of India and Secretary General, FIRST, Mr. Dhanendra Kumar, IAS, Former Chairman CCI, Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, IAS, Former Secretary, DPIIT, Mr. Prahlad Kakar, Chairman, India SME Forum, Mr. TK Arun, Editor, The Economic Times, Ms. Shriti Malhotra, CEO, Quest Retail, The Body Shop, Mr. Prashant Lohia, Managing Director, Ginesys, Mr. Nandakumar G. W., General Manager & Business Head MSME, South Indian Bank, and Mr. Harish Kohli, President & Managing Director, Acer India, and Mr. Vinod Kumar. Each entry was evaluated on the basis of both financial and non-financial indicators such as growth performance, financial soundness, future proof orientation, and digital journey among others.