By Paul Hayes

SYDNEY, NSW: At an awards ceremony to be held in Sydney in July, the online retail industry group will announce the online store that is accomplishing the most inroads into traditional retail.

The inaugural Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAs) is set to be held at the Sydney Convention Centre on 7 July 2010.

The ORIAs are designed to recognise and reward excellence in e-commerce and are being billed as the only event in Australasia to honour the performance of online and multichannel retailing across all levels.

ORIAs program manager, Grant Arnott, said that as online sales continue to gain traction, the awards come at a key time for the industry.

“As the fastest growing sector of retail by a long margin, it’s time to recognise excellence in this exciting channel.”

According to Forrester Research, online spending in Australia is expected to grow to $32 billion by 2012, a figure which Arnott said has encouraged retailers of all sizes to focus more and more on developing their e-commerce business models.

“With the online platform providing relatively low barriers to entry for retailers, a small entrepreneur with a big idea can challenge traditional retailers.

“It’s vital to provide retailers with clearer benchmarks and strategic knowledge to fend off international competition, with the internet making geographical borders virtually irrelevant.”

The ORIAs will be made up of awards across 11 categories, including the industry’s virtual best in show, Online Retailer of the Year.

Award entries and nominations are open to all members of the online retail industry in Australia and New Zealand until 30 April 2010.