The 2012 ORIA Winners! SurfStitch Blitzes Online Retail Industry Awards

This year’s Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAs) seemed to have one overriding theme: Mobile. Not only did 2012 mark the introduction of the Mobile Commerce Award, but innovation and mobile usability was a key element in every part of the judging process. The ORIAs capped off day three of the four day Online Retailer Conference and E-Commerce Expo with a glamorous Gala Dinner attended by the who’s-who of the online retail industry.

“If we were judging whether a site was usable, then that included judging whether it was usable on mobile devices,” said Chair of the Judging Panel, Steven Noble of Forrester Research, in his address at the Awards. “If we were judging whether a retailer was innovative, then that included judging whether they were innovating around mobile.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” he added, “mobile wasn’t the only issue…But it was never far from our minds, and if Australian online retailers want to succeed in 2013 and beyond, then it should never be far from their minds too.”

The star of the 2012 ORIAs was SurfStitch, taking out Best Pureplay Retailer, Best Site Optimisation and Design, and Online Retailer of the Year to top it all off. SurfStitch trumped an impressive array of finalists, including The Iconic and CatchOfTheDay in the Pureplay category, and Appliances Online and brandsExclusive in the Site Optimisation category.  From stunning imagery to seamless shipping and fulfilment, SurfStitch excels by providing the best end-to-end user experience, clearly making its mark on the Australian online retail landscape.

Best New Online Retailer is always an exciting category, with contenders varying from the controversial Harvey Norman to Vinomofo (which was recently acquired by CatchOfTheDay). But it was The Iconic, with its bold marketing strategy that saw it go from launch in October 2011 to become a household name seemingly overnight, that deservedly won the award.

Grocery giant Woolworths won Best Multichannel Retailer as well as Best Online Retail Marketing Initiative, showing that long-standing, traditional retailers are following suit with their UK and US counterparts, utilising a multitude of channels from mobile apps to virtual stores and QR codes.

The Industry Recognition Award was presented to Michael Fox. Fox contributes to the online space, not only as Co-Founder and Director of pureplay sites Shoes of Prey and Sneaking Duck, but through sharing his retail experience via his 22Michaels blog and regular contributions to Power Retail, StartupSmart and NETT. He is a staunch defender of online retail, lobbying government to reform the local payment processing and postal industries.

Not only did Fox win the Industry Recognition Award, but Sneaking Duck was awarded Most Innovative Online Retailer and Best Customer Experience, while Shoes of Prey won Best Use of Technology. A notable night indeed for Fox and his fellow Co-Founders.

With mobile making its mark in the 2012 ORIAs and the high calibre of entrants making use of innovative technologies and marketing initiatives, it’s exciting to think what’s in store for 2013!


Best Pureplay Retailer


Best Multichannel Retailer


Best New Online Retailer

The Iconic

Best Use of Technology

Shoes of Prey

Most Innovative Online Retailer

Sneaking Duck

Best Online Retail Marketing Initiative


Best Customer Experience

Sneaking Duck

Best Aggregation Channel


Best Site Optimisation and Design


Best Mobile Commerce


Online Retailer of the Year


Industry Recognition Award

Michael Fox, Shoes of Prey


Steven Noble, Forrester Research

Dan Ferguson, VistaPrint

Jake Hird, Econsultancy

Martin Newman, Practicology

Ross McDonald, Google

Laura Yeomans, ShopStyle

Joanna Lord, SEOmoz

Grant Arnott, Power Retail

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