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Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 11:01 GMT
It's in the bag
Visa e-tail awards BBC
Visa is trying to find the the consumers favourite e-tailer
By BBC News Online internet reporter Mark Ward

Credit card giant Visa is launching an award to find the best electronic retailer.

The winning e-tailer will be decided by consumers who will vote with their mouse on the best companies.

Visa hopes the awards will help to raise standards in electronic commerce and give smaller companies doing a good job a chance to shine.

Many e-commerce firms have been criticised for concentrating on technology at the expense of customer service.

On Monday Visa launched its E-tail Awards that will try to find and reward the UK's best electronic commerce firms. Visa is now looking for nominations in 11 categories covering everything from best family e-business to technology innovators.

Award categories
Pain Free Shopping
Best Value
Bricks to Clicks
Door 2 Door
Made to Measure
Safe as Houses
Technology Innovation
Customer Service
Best Still at School
Best of British Export
Best Family e-business

For a fee companies can nominate themselves or hope that consumers do the job for them. A panel of judges will pick a shortlist from nominated companies, and then consumers will be invited to vote for the best performer in each category.

"It is a great opportunity to see what consumers think and an effective barometer of the state of e-commerce in the UK," said Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President for Virtual Visa and one of the award judges.

Ms Alzetta hoped that the awards would raise standards in e-commerce companies. Recently some surveys and reports have revealed that many e-tailers fall short on customer service.

An undercover investigation by trading standards workers in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Shropshire found some shocking examples of service. Many e-tailers lost orders, failed to deliver and didn't respond to customer queries.

Companies and consumers have until 13 November to make their nominations. Voting will take place between December and January with the winners announced in February next year.

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