Internet Retailer Hot 100 2016 Best Retail Web Sites

Hot 100 Overview

By Allison Enright

The new Hot 100

As you page through our annual Hot 100 issue, you’ll likely notice that we’ve made some changes this year.

In previous editions, the editors and researchers at Internet Retailer generated the Hot 100 list based primarily on design-driven criteria—the selected retailers were doing something online that was different or better than their competitors. Our goal was to highlight the best e-retail websites out there that we considered influencers when it came to how they looked and functioned.

This year we changed the criteria we used to select the Hot 100 to make is less about design and more about innovation, in all its various aspects. We did this for a number of reasons. First, e-retailers have gotten much better at designing appealing and usable websites. Second, e-commerce has evolved. There are mobile apps to consider and multiple other ways retailers can take orders, such as through shopping tools on social networks or through web-connected devices separate from a computer screen.

So we decided to change our goal from selecting the “world’s best e-retail sites” to selecting the “world’s most innovative e-retailers.” That threw the door open for us to really think differently about what and who is advancing e-retailing. For example, this year’s list includes a business model category featuring merchants that have trotted out different business approaches and services that can only exist because the Internet exists. The new approach also allowed us to include the buzzy “omnichannel” category to highlight the multichannel retailers that are creatively bridging the online and offline divide. You can read more about our new approach to selecting the Hot 100 in the overview story on page 8.

We encourage you to review the profiles that follow, and then explore the e-retailers’ approaches further yourself.

As always, if you have e-retailers you’d like to see in the Hot 100 next year, e-mail me at and tell me why you think they are outstanding. We take nominations year-round and begin making our selections in August. In the meantime, we hope you find the e-retailers profiled here useful in developing your own e-retail businesses.

Get the Hot 100 Issue.