What sources are used when compiling the Second 500 data?

Internet Retailer researchers contact each retailer by phone and e-mail several times over the six-month course of data collection to compile, collect and fact-check each merchant’s information. If the merchant did not provide full financial, operations and web site summary information, Internet Retailer used metrics from that retailer’s category—as well as analyst interviews and historical knowledge of the industry—to formulate estimates. Additional data are supplied to the Second 500 from these information partners: comScore Inc., Compete Inc., Compuware Gomez and ROI Revolution Inc. In all instances where an estimate is used or the data is supplied from a third party, the figure is footnoted. Retailers were given multiple opportunities to review and respond to estimates and metrics provided by third-party research firms.

How is the Second 500 data compiled?

The starting point for data gathering is the retailers’ web traffic from Compete Inc. and comScore Inc. That list is supplemented with merchants that Internet Retailer has covered. Whenever possible, web sales listed in the electronic and print versions of the Second 500 came from the company. If the company did not provide sales figures, Internet Retailer estimated sales based on traffic and assumed conversion rate and average ticket for that retailer’s category. Internet Retailer also uses analyst interviews and historical knowledge of the e-commerce industry to formulate its estimates. For monthly visits and monthly unique visitors, official numbers were supplied by many retailers. When a retailer did not reveal numbers, researchers used comScore, Compete or Internet Retailer estimates. For the conversion rate, in most instances researchers used category data and analyst interviews to formulate estimates. For the average ticket, if the merchant would not reveal a number, researchers used category data and analyst interviews to formulate estimates. In all instances where an estimate is used it is footnoted. Retailers were given multiple opportunities to review and respond to estimates.

How often is the data for the Second 500 in the Top500Guide.com updated?

The newly compiled annual information for all Second 500 retailers is updated each year in early July. Data and profiles for individual retailers are updated throughout the year. Updates may include new vendor relationships and newly hired or promoted executives.

Do the Second 500 rankings change each year?

Yes. Each year as the web retailing market grows in size, new and bigger web retailers are added to the rankings while some smaller companies drop off. In the 2013 edition, the company ranked as No. 501 had annual web sales of about $18.5 million.

Can I export data from a Top500Guide.com report directly into an Excel, PDF or other format?

We get this question asked of us multiple times each day—and the answer is a respectful “no.” The information contained in the Top500Guide.com database has been meticulously collected and updated by Internet Retailer for about a decade. We have spent considerable time and resources building and copyright protecting our database product. The database gives subscribers a multifaceted research tool that lets them research the North American, European, Asian and Latin American online retailing markets and create custom reports based on their individual requirements. In order to preserve Top500Guide.com as a serious research tool, we don’t allow data exports of the information into Excel, PDFs or similar formats.


The amount by which Second 500 e-retailers grew in 2012


Median merchandise return rate of Second 500 merchants


2012 growth rate of consignment apparel retailer Real Real Inc.


The amount by which Second 500 apparel retailers grew in 2012

Key Features

  • Sales Figures2012 web sales of mid-market e-retailers

  • Thorough AnalysisKey financial, operations, payments & performance metrics

  • Comprehensive ReviewThe content and frequency of merchants’ e-mail marketing strategies

  • Industry ContactsNames of more than 1,200 e-commerce execs

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