November 14, 2002, 12:00 AM

Internet Retailer announces its Top 50 web sites for 2003

Internet Retailer announces its 2003 Best of the Web. The Top 50 sites run the gamut of retailers and sizes--from Amazon.com, big and broad, to Guild.com, small and focused.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

In a year that has seen online retail sales jump by 30%, somebody must be doing something right. Or more likely, somebodies. Among those somebodies are the retailing web sites that make up the 2003 Internet Retailer Best of the Web--The Top 50 Retailing Sites. Internet Retailer is pleased to announce its 2003 Best of the Web today.

The Top 50 sites run the gamut of retailers and sizes--from Amazon.com, big and broad, to Guild.com, small and focused. But what they have in common is that they use the web in innovative ways and, among the vast majority of merchants, to link together multi-channel offerings:

  • Target Corp. uses what might be called a multi-multi-channel approach. Its multiple channels are not just web, catalog and stores but its three brands as well--Target, Marshall Field’s and Mervyn’s. It allows online shoppers to buy from all three brands at the same time and check out from a single shopping cart.

  • Apparel retailer Buckle Inc.’s Buckle.com takes an innovative multi-channel approach by giving away concert tickets to shoppers who register to win at the web site, but then requires winners to pick up the tickets in one of its 300 stores.
  • Omaha Steaks International Inc. uses OmahaSteaks.com to extend its product offerings beyond its catalog and reach new customers; OmahaSteaks.com sells lobsters and side dishes--products that online customers respond to but catalog customers do not.
  • Drugstore.com Inc. is a good example of how the information that the web makes available can be turned into retailing gold. Drugstore began selling pet toys, medications and supplies when it noticed that many customers used pet names as passwords.
  • While many retailers are developing ever more sophisticated self-service applications on the web, electronics retailer Crutchfield is happy when shoppers contact a customer service rep. Each of Crutchfield’s 150 agents undergo three to four months of training, must pass exams and receive ongoing instruction from Crutchfield and vendors, all to the end of up-selling, cross-selling and closing more sales.

Internet Retailer’s Best of the Web recognizes sites in seven categories that are adopting interesting and innovative approaches to online retailing. They are not necessarily the biggest, busiest or most profitable sites. The editors base their selections on consultations with members of Internet Retailer’s Editorial Board of Advisers and with industry consultants and analysts, nominations from readers and the editors’ own experience in dealing with sites, both professionally and personally, throughout the year.

We are pleased to present this year’s Internet Retailer’s Best of the Web--The Top 50 Retailing Web sites:
1-800-Flowers
Albertson’s
Altrec
Amazon
American Greetings
BackcountryStore
Barewalls
Bellacor
Best Buy
Blue Nile
Bombay Co.
Buckle
Buy.com
Cabela’s
Camping World
Cooking.com
Crate & Barrel
Crutchfield
Dell
Drugstore
eBags
eBay
FAO Schwarz
Fortunoff
Guild
Hanna Andersson
Harry and David
HPShopping
Ice.com
Igo.com
J. Crew
J.C. Whitney
Lands’ End
Lowe’s
MLB.com/Shop
Office Depot
Omaha Steaks
Oriental Trading
QVC
RadioShack
Red Envelope
ReturnBuy
Safeway
Sharper Image
SmartBargains
Starbucks
Target
TechnoScout
Tower Records
Undergear

Details of the Top 50 will be included in the December issue of Internet Retailer, which subscribers will receive around Dec. 1.

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