Melbourne-based homewares retailer Hunting for George was among the small and medium online retailers recognised at the end of last week at the national Startrack Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAS), with a number of Smart50 alumni also taking home trophies.
The awards aim to recognise the work done by businesses operating in the online retail space, allowing a panel of judges and customers to weigh in on the best performers of the year.
Fashion retailer Mon Purse took home the overall online retailer of the year award, along with the best ‘International Conqueror’ and ‘In-Store Initiative’ awards. Mon Purse landed a major deal with US department store Bloomingdale’s last year, spurring on significant international growth.
Smart50 and Hot 30 Under 30 alumnus Showpo also took home a number of awards, claiming the Best Site Optimisation and Design Award, and the Best Social Commerce Initiative award.
The People’s Choice award, voted for by customers, was taken by big name player Kogan, with founder Ruslan Kogan saying in a statement “as a consumer brand there is no better vote than the vote of our customers”.
The People’s Choice award for smaller retailers was snatched by alternative online retailer Beserk, while another Smart50 alumnus, Adore Beauty, took home the Industry Recognition award.
Recognition of independent retailers “awesome”
Homewares retailer Hunting For George claimed the Best Small Independent Retailer award, which co-founder Lucy Glade-Wright tells SmartCompany was “awesome” recognition for a small business in operation since 2010.
“The business has recently done some incredible things, so it’s incredible to have those things and the business recognised by the industry,” Glade-Wright says.
“We really like putting ourselves forward for these awards as it gives us time to reflect on our accomplishments. We’ve never won before, so we’re pretty happy to take it out this year.”
Glade-Wright says it’s important for there to be a category that recognises and celebrates small independent retailers, as many small businesses do “incredible things” with small teams.
“People need to know that we’re quite small, but we do significant things,” she says.
Hunting For George also landed a spot as a finalist in the Victorian Telstra Small Business awards on Friday, and Glade-Wright says the team had done a fair bit of celebrating last week. Aside from a little more celebration this week, she says it’s business as usual.
“It’s amazing to be recognised up there with Kogan and all the other retailers. It’s a really supportive industry, and there’s a lot of people who want to share the success and see it happen for everyone,” she says.
The business will be using the award to garner a bit of exposure and attract customers, with Glade-Wright saying social media is a key way for a small retailer like Hunting for George to connect with users.
“We’ve got an engaged audience through Instagram and Facebook, and we love telling stories on those platforms. Social media is the best way to communicate to get instant feedback,” she says.
As the business looks towards some exciting growth and new product lines over the next 12 months, Glade-Wright also notes just how far the industry has come since the business began in 2010.
“When we started the homeware space was dominated by larger players and more traditional retailers. The change with social media has given retailers like us a lot more access to customers, but it also means there’s a lot more competition coming through,” she says.
“Retailers are always needing to improve and better themselves to find that point of difference.”
Here’s the full list of award winners:
BEST PUREPLAY ONLINE RETAILER
BEST NEW ONLINE RETAILER
BEST SMALL INDEPENDENT RETAILER
Hunting for George
BEST MULTICHANNEL RETAILER
BEST IN-STORE INITIATIVE
BEST POP-UP EXPERIENCE
Grace Loves Lace
BEST ONLINE RETAIL MARKETING
BEST SITE OPTIMISATION & DESIGN
MOBILE COMMERCE SITE/APPLICATION
BEST SOCIAL COMMERCE INITIATIVE
BEST OMNICHANNEL CUSTOMER SERVICE
BEST INTERNATIONAL CONQUEROR
BEST BOOTSTRAPPED GROWTH INITIATIVE
ONLINE RETAILER OF THE YEAR
HALL OF FAME
Kate Morris, Adore Beauty
PEOPLE’S CHOICE – SMALL RETAILERS