SurfStitch, Woolies, Sneaking Duck dominate online retail awards

SurfStitch was the star of last night’s Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAs) taking out Online Retailer of the Year as well as two other gongs in a night which also saw Woolworths and Sneaking Duck pick up multiple awards.

The online-only surfwear retailer also claimed Best Pureplay Retailer and Best Site Optimisation beating an array of big name competitors including The Iconic and CatchOfTheDay in the Pureplay category, and Appliances Online and brandsExclusive in the Site Optimisation category.

Woolworths won for Best Online Retail Marketing Initiative and Best Multichannnel Retailer, in a night where mobile commerce was emphasised for its crucial role in today’s retail model.

Chair of the judging panel, Forrester Research’s Steven Noble, said mobile was never far from the minds of the panel, regardless of the category that was being judged. “When we were judging whether a site was usable, then that included judging whether it was usable on mobile devices,” Noble told attendees at the awards dinner. “If we were judging whether a retailer was innovative, then that included judging whether they were innovating around mobile. If Australian online retailers want to succeed in 2013 and beyond, then it should never be far from their minds too.”

Sneaking Duck, an online-only eyewear retailer from the founders of Shoes of Prey, was the other player to pick up multiple gongs on the night, winning for Most Innovative Online Retailer and Best Customer Experience. It was a successful night for co-founder of the businesses Michael Fox who picked up Best Use of Technology for Shoes of Prey as well as the Industry Recognition Award for his thought leadership in the space and lobbying of government to reform the local payment processing and postal industries.

Best New Online Retailer was awarded to pure-play online fashion house The Iconic, who beat out Harvey Norman’s foray into online, CatchOfTheDay Group’s wine site Vinomofo, Sneaking Duck, The Men’s Shop and Ozmattress.

The awards dinner capped off this week’s Online Retailer Conference & eCommerce Expo, which also took a heavy focus on mobile as research revealed 55% of retailers now use m-commerce and 49% said that mobile sites were a top investment priority for the year ahead.

Online fashion retailer brandsExclusive was deemed the best example of mobile in action, winning the Best Mobile Commerce award. The full list of winners includes:

Best Pureplay Retailer – SurfStitch

Best Multichannel Retailer – Woolworths

Best New Online Retailer – The Iconic

Best Use of Technology – Shoes of Prey

Most Innovative Online Retailer – Sneaking Duck

Best Online Retail Marketing Initiative – Woolworths

Best Customer Experience – Sneaking Duck

Best Aggregation Channel – GetPrice

Best Site Optimisation and Design – SurfStitch

Best Mobile Commerce – brandsExclusive

Online Retailer of the Year – SurfStitch

Industry Recognition Award – Michael Fox, Shoes of Prey