The Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAs), the only awards in Australasia to recognise and reward excellence in e-commerce retailing, has named the 2011 finalists.

Over 100 entries were received from established retail players such as Bing Lee, Sportsgirl, Big W, ABC Shop, Dick Smith and Teds Cameras, to niche/specialist retailers including, Shoes of Prey, Appliances Online, OZScopes and Joe Button.

 “The year ending mid-2011 was a period of extraordinary growth for Australian online retail. Existing merchants vastly improved their online offers, while high street retailers took important steps online and new players continued to enter this market,” said Steven Noble, chair of the ORIA judging panel and senior analyst serving the eBusiness and channel strategy professional with Forrester Research.

“The quality and quantity of the ORIA entries this year reflected the expansion and increasing maturity of Australian online retail. Practices that were noteworthy 12 months ago are quickly becoming standard, and this year’s best entrants have risen to the mark, setting new benchmarks for what we expect in this country.”

As the online retail industry has diversified, so too have the ORIAs with the introduction of the new category Best Aggregation Channel, which will award aggregators and channels that boost the online retail ecosystem, such as marketplaces, comparison sites and group buying sites. The finalists in this category include: ClubQT, GetPrice, StyleTread and Buyii.

The shortlisted entrants will now proceed to the final stages of judging, with one winner to be announced for each category, and one contender from all categories to be named Online Retailer of the Year for 2011.

The nominees for the ORIA Industry Recognition Award have also been released, with some familiar names and notable industry figures entering the race:

•    John Debrincat, CEO, eCorner
•    Ruslan Kogan, Founder and CEO, Kogan and Milan Direct
•    Michael Fox, Co-Founder and Director, Shoes of Prey
•    Peter Pakarinen, Owner, Niche Fashion Technology
•    John Winning, CEO, Appliances Online
•    Paul Greenberg, Executive Chairman,
•    Gabby Leibovich, Director,

Honouring the leading online and multichannel retailing performers across varying categories spanning e-commerce, the ORIAs not only provide a standard for online retailers to strive for, but will establish an important focus on what constitutes best practice and excellence within the local industry.

The Gala Awards Ceremony for the ORIAs will be held at the Parkside Ballroom, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour on Tuesday, 27 September.