Online Retailer Exhibition + Conference will debut this coming August at Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre and is expected to be a catalyst for driving the development of internet retailing in Australia.

Under the theme ‘Unleashing the Power of Online Retailing’, the event will feature a two-day multi-track conference, international keynote speakers, 40+ education sessions, pre-event workshops, free seminars, networking events and a 2000 square metre exhibition hall showcasing the latest e-retailing technology, products and solutions.

Online Retailer covers all segments of the e-retailing space – from ‘brick and mortar’ retailers and web-only merchants to mail-order and catalogue companies, direct marketing firms and consumer brand manufacturers.

“Our goal is to make Online Retailer the premier event for the online and multichannel retailing community in Australia,” said Mark Harvey, event director of Online Retailer.

“Internet retailing in Australia is coming of age and its time the industry had its own forum to advance and shape the future of e-retailing in Australia,” said Harvey.

Recent figures from business research firm IBISWorld show Australian online spending will grow by about 5.5 per cent annually for the next five years to $21.2 billion (2013-14) from $15.1 billion (2007-08).

“These figures will account for approximately six per cent of total retail sales and if that seems like a small number, consider the seismic shift taking place in retailing today,” said Harvey.

“Store-based sales are not growing and in some cases, they’re in decline, so e-retailing is the one growth segment in all of retailing.”

In the US, Internet Retailer Magazine reports etailing has grown to $156 billion in 2008  from $8 billion in 1998 and is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2020, capturing as much as a third of all retail sales. Harvey believes Australia might be some years behind the US in terms of internet retailing sophistication, but it’s only a matter of time before Australian retailers seize the opportunity.

"There’s no doubt we are behind overseas markets when it comes to retailers selling online, however this is not due to a lack of consumers wanting to shop online, but rather the lack of many of our favourite retailing brands not catering for online shoppers. Australian shoppers are already there with their wallets open so I don’t think it’s a case of if, but when, before we see online retailing become main stream in Australia."
At a time when traditional in-store retail sales are in decline and retail executives are searching for new revenues, Harvey is optimistic this shift could be sooner rather than later.
“The time is right for the industry to shine, and that’s why it’s important there is a forum like Online Retailer. It brings together all players in online retailing and allows them to network, develop new business opportunities and share intelligence and best practices with their counterparts in other retailing channels and industries,” he said.