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Salesfloor, the mobile app for store associates, is launching an awards program to recognize retail professionals who are “delivering personalized experiences for shoppers and building and nurturing relationships with consumers,” the company said today.

Retail store managers and sales associates can nominate themselves or be nominated. There are three categories in the awards program. For Best Customer Experience Associate, the criteria is for a store associate who “creates memorable customer experiences both online and off-line” and “plays a major role in creating customer loyalty for their brand and builds relationships with customers who are always left with a positive impression of the brand.”

The other categories include Best Omnichannel Associate, which is for a store associate “that delivers exceptional experiences to serve customers across all channels.”

The third category is for Star Associate of the Year, which Salesfloor describes as the most “prestigious award to recognize someone who consistently surpasses their objectives while providing exceptional service and supporting their fellow associates.” Candidates for this award are those who lead by example, “inspires others, builds meaningful relationships and is an all-around extraordinary representative of their brand.”

Oscar Sachs, chief executive officer at Salesfloor, said in a statement that retail store associates and managers “have taken on more responsibility over the years, from the buy online, pick-up in-store trend to personalizing experiences for every shopper on every channel, while also having to be product and style experts.”

In regard to the timing of the launch of this award, Sachs noted that retail workers “may have recently experienced being furloughed or working from home with the COVID-19 pandemic.” Sachs said the company’s mission “has always been to empower associates, and we couldn’t think of a better time than now to launch our awards program. It brings us great joy to recognize and celebrate the dedication of store managers and associates who work hard every day to make a lasting impact on their customers on behalf of brands.”

“While the role of store associates have evolved in the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these changes significantly,” Sachs told WWD. “With most brick-and-mortar stores closed or with reduced foot traffic, associates and managers have been challenged to do even more, with less. The retailers and brands we see succeeding during these challenging times are leveraging their frontline employees and asking them to step up to new challenges — so we thought this is the perfect moment to recognize and celebrate the people that have gone above and beyond, to ensure their customers get the best experience possible, no matter the channel.”

The nomination period begins now and runs until Aug. 27. Voting will run from Sept. 3 to Sept. 24, after which a group of industry judges will deliberate. Finalists will be revealed on Oct. 6 and a virtual event will take place on Oct. 22 to recognize the winners.

The judges include Carl Boutet, chief strategist at Studio Rx and managing director at CQIC; Ann Joyce, a former c-level executive at Ralph Lauren, Aéropostale and Chico’s FAS; Bob Phibbs, ceo of The Retail Doctor; Cathy Hotka, principal at Cathy Hotka and Associates; Paula Levy, chief strategy officer at Demand Worldwide, and Ben Rodier, chief client officer at Salesfloor.