NAMM Top 100 Dealer Awards: A Look Back

Elizabeth Dale

Dubbed the "Retail Oscars" by Music Inc. magazine, the Top 100 Dealer Awards highlights the industry’s best music product retailers and shares their strategies for success.

Chosen by an independent panel of judges, the Top 100 Dealer awards also recognizes outstanding NAMM Members in seven “Best of” categories, from which the prestigious “Dealer of the Year” is selected.

Top 100 Dealer Awards - Call for Submissions

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Started in 2011, the NAMM Top 100 Dealer awards are a staple of the Summer NAMM experience. Original categories included “Dealer of the Year”, “Best Merchandising Display”, “Best Use of Social Media”, “Rookie of the Year”, “Best Website”, “Best Sales Promotion”, “Best Curb Appeal”, and “Best Ad.” The awards are celebrating their ten-year anniversary in 2020 and over the past decade, there have been ten Members that have been named a Top 100 Dealer since the beginnings of the award. Causby Challacombe, NAMM’s director of membership reflected on the awards program stating, “Stores look forward to this event each year. They work on their entries with their staff and it provides an opportunity for collaboration between the staff and community.”

The 2019 awards saw the addition of the new, “Customer’s Choice” category which allows for consumers to vote on their favorite retail store. The category’s inaugural winner was five-time Top 100 award winner, UK based retailer, Andertons Music Co. Ran by managing director, Lee Anderton, he attributes much of the success with their customers to provide superior customer service, that translates from their brick and mortar retail location to their customer engagement on their website and social media platforms. As an enthusiastic embracer of platforms such as YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/AndertonsMusic), Andertons has worked diligently to curate unique programming to recreate the interaction customers receive in their physical locations with their employees. With 644,000 followers, their strategy seems to be paying off. Anderton reflected on their YouTube presence saying, “Often the best parts of your favorite small music stores, the customer service, and relationships, can disappear once a store grows too large. Replicating that charm is extremely difficult to do on a large scale. Except, Andertons has managed to do this on YouTube. Our mission is that it isn’t completely about selling products, it is about recreating that small music shop vibe. My advice, lose the ‘QVC’ approach to pitching products on your YouTube channel and embrace your ‘small shop’ roots by sharing licks, talking about gigs, and being honest about the right product for the right type of musician.”

How We Got 75 Million Views on YouTube by Lee Anderton

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Anderton indicated, “We approach each year not necessarily operating with the intention of winning a Top 100 Dealer award, but we continue to remain aware of the opportunities that arise to make for a compelling entry for the awards. Our employees take great pride in being able to say that they work for the ‘world’s best’ music store and thoroughly enjoy participating in the submission process. Andertons has found the reputation that you earn by receiving such an award from a globally recognized organization like NAMM goes a long way.” Challacombe continued the sentiment remarking, “Top 100 continues to be a fun and exciting program for NAMM. If you examine the scope of winners, they come from all over the world and are both small stores and large stores. Each winner has one common thread - the joy of creating music.”

If you are looking for some tips for creating a standout application, please visit https://www.namm.org/summer/2020/articles/tips-creating-winning-top-100-entry.

Editor’s Note: The 2020 NAMM Top 100 Dealer Awards will be presented at Believe in Music Week, the week of January 18, 2021. Submissions are due no later than October 2, 2020, and can be submitted at https://topdealer.namm.org/.