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Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 11:04 GMT
Shopping and voting
e-shopping PA
Home delivery is getting more popular
By BBC News Online internet reporter Mark Ward

Britain's electronic shoppers who want to curse or champion e-tailers are being invited to cast a vote on the subject.

Credit card giant Visa is asking cyber-consumers to help it decide who should win any one of a series of awards that aim to encourage better customer service and more user-friendly technology.

E-tail awards
Pain Free
Bricks to Clicks
Best Value
Customer Service
Door 2 Door
Best Family e-Business
Made to Measure
Safe as Houses
The awards pit well known high street names that have only just set up their online stores against some of the most established electronic retailers. Consumers can vote until 11 February.

Visa announced in late October last year that it would run an annual e-tail awards scheme to recognise and reward the firms doing a good job. All of the UK's e-tailers were asked to enter the awards and a shortlist was chosen from the entrants by a panel of judges.

Cash prizes

Now, consumers are being asked to use the experiences they have had to identify who is getting it right and who deserves recognition.

In a bid to tempt consumers to visit the site, anyone who votes is entered into a prize draw that gives them a chance to win one of five 1,000 prizes.

Awards are being given in nine categories and consumers can decide who wins in eight of them. Well known e-tailers such as Amazon have been shortlisted, as have relative newcomers such as shirt shop Charles Tyrwhitt and drinks delivery firm Last Orders.

The categories range from "Pain Free", which tries to find who is making shopping online as straightforward as possible, to Best Family e-Business, which targets smaller online retailers such as hotel chain Elegant English Hotels and pharmacist Allcures.com.

"The awards will act as a unique barometer of consumer confidence and satisfaction online," said Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President at Virtual Visa.

The winner of the final category, which rewards innovative use of the web, will be chosen solely by the panel of judges. The winners of the Visa awards will be announced at a ceremony held on 20 February.

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