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Behind the scenes of the Hot 100
For the last 15 years, the editors of Internet Retailer have evaluated and compiled annually a list of the e-retail web sites that push e-retailing's boundaries. This year is no exception: The e-retailers profiled in this issue, while they range from a company that sells just six products to the likes of Amazon.com Inc., are all doing their part to advance the retail industry in delivering top-notch shopping opportunities to consumers through the web.
Here's how the selection process works. Internet Retailer's 16 editors draw on their experience viewing thousands of sites a year and each nominates about 20 sites. We also reach out to industry experts for their recommendations, and sites that have been submitted to us directly for consideration go on the list too. The editors break into teams and get to work, pitching their nominations and showing the other editors features and functions they deem noteworthy. Sites are also evaluated against their competitors to confirm that the nominated site is indeed doing something worth writing about. Editors vote a site up or down until a final list takes shape.
Some e-retailers, like Walmart.com, have appeared on the list several times, but others will be new to many readers. For instance, Bourbon & Boots Inc., Xiaomi Inc. and Dafiti are relatively new to e-retailing overall, but their profiles are rising quickly because of what they are doing online. Gift e-retailer Bourbon & Boots is flying highly due in part to its prowess on Pinterest. Xiaomi, a maker and retailer of smartphones, this fall hired away a Google Inc. exec to be its head of global as it sets to expand from its base in China. Dafiti, an e-retailer that debuted in Brazil less than three years ago, has raised more than $225 million in funding and already sells in five countries using a novel blend of merchandising tactics.
If you have e-retail sites you'd like to see in the Hot 100 next year, e-mail me at email@example.com and tell me why you think they are hot sites. In the meantime, we hope you find the sites profiled in this issue useful as you make your site design plans for 2014.