By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Dick Smith was out in force at the Online Retail Industry Awards on Tuesday night, picking up two gongs for Best Multichannel Retailer and 2011 Online Retailer of the Year. The ORIAs, now in their second year, were held as part of the Online Retailer Expo & Conference, with over 400 guests and industry heavyweights attending the event.

According to a spokesperson for the ceremony, “the ORIAs are the only awards in Australasia to recognise and reward excellence in e-commerce retailing [and they] honour leading online and multichannel retailing performers across varying categories spanning e-commerce".

Speaking about the win, Dick Smith general manager Debra Singh said the company was proud to be recognised for its strong multi-channel performance.

“As a team we are very honoured to be recipients of these two awards, and we are all very excited!” said Singh. “Becoming a truly multi-channel retailer is one of the core parts of our business strategy and these awards are recognition of the focus we have put into this area and the response we are seeing from our customers and key supplier partners.

“I believe what sets Dick Smith apart is our focus on an integrated shopping experience, while recognising that each channel meets different customer needs. For instance, our customers are able to easily research online, find their nearest store and whether their product is in-stock. They can then simply ‘Click and Collect’ which saves time in store and guarantees the stock will be there when they arrive.

“Just as easily a customer can order online and have it delivered quickly, often with free delivery, or they can call us over the phone, discuss their options and get a Dick Smith deal. Our customers tell us they want to choose where they shop, how they shop and when they shop and a true multi-channel offer provides that experience.”

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Singh also offered advice to other retailers looking at the online market. “For your online channel to be sustainable and have long term success it must be developed as part of your core business strategy, and the entire management team must believe in it,” she said.

According to Singh, the Dick Smith website is in tune with consumer’s needs, offering good value and great deals, including 3-day and 1-hour offers and exclusive online ranges.

One range that has been a success for Dick Smith (both online and in-store) is Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. Parent company Woolworths Limited announced in August that it would be the exclusive Australian retailer for the device, bringing it to Big W, Woolworths and Dick Smith stores across the country.

“The kindle has been a great success,” added Singh. “Probably the most exciting thing for us around having such a great product was the number of ‘pre-orders’ that we achieved. Customers were prepared to pre-order with us, rather than buying overseas up to 4 weeks from our release date.

“I think that shows the great strength of our brand and that people want to shop locally if you provide exciting technology, with great customer service at a great price."