RETAILERS in Dorset are being invited to show off how well they treat their customers.

The Retail Experience Award will appear at the 20th annual Dorset Business Awards, which is backed by the Dorset Echo and Daily Echo.

The award, sponsored by the Dolphin Shopping Centre, is now in its third year.

It will be presented to the company that offers the very best retail experience.

Companies will be asked how service levels are monitored, how customer service is monitored, what training is provided to staff, and why they feel they should win the award.

The current title-holder is the Animal store in Poole. Animal, the well-known sports lifestyle brand, opened its Poole branch in the Dolphin Centre in 2004. It received the award for delivering first-class customer service and excellent product knowledge.

Rachael Tatton, store manager at Animal in Poole, said: “I was delighted and thrilled that we won this award. I’m extremely proud of all my team members past and present, as they work so hard every day and I’m usually the only one to see it.

“However, to have been acknowledged and rewarded for it by outsiders was such an overwhelming feeling for all of us.”

The branch has gone on to see improve sales and has recruited four new staff members.

Rachael added: “I’d encourage other retailers to enter the Dorset Business Awards as it’s a great way to show your team how proud you are of them.”

John Grinnell, centre manager of the Dolphin Shopping Centre, said: “We have decided to slightly change the award for 2014 and tailor it towards the shopping experience.

“We have found this to be key when operating a retail store. The experience has to be right.”

The award is open to any independent retailers and high street brands based in Dorset with a BH or DT postcode. Entrants can submit an entry via The closing date for entry is Friday, September 12.