FAQs General FAQs
How is the Top 500 data compiled?

The starting point for data gathering is our list of retailers from the previous year, combined with updated web traffic figures from comScore Inc. and Compete Inc. That list is supplemented with merchants that Internet Retailer has come across in its research, requests from retailers to be included and suggestions from technology vendors and e-commerce analysts. Whenever possible, web sales figures listed in the electronic and print versions of the Top 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--as well as analyst interviews. 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 and 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.

What sources are used when compiling the Top 500 data?

Researchers contact each retailer several times over the 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—to formulate estimates. Additional data is supplied to the Top 500 from these information partners: comScore Inc., Compete Inc., Compuware Gomez, ForeSee, Experian Marketing Services, ROI Revolution Inc. and StellaServices. In all instances where an estimate is used or the data is supplied by a third party, the figure is footnoted. Retailers were given multiple opportunities to review and respond to estimates.

Do the rankings change each year?

Yes. Some retailers such as Amazon.com will be in each annual issue. But 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. 500 had annual web sales of $18.7 million while the cut-off in 2012 for No. 500 was $14.8 million.

FAQs Print FAQs
Where do your figures for a certain e-retailer’s online sales come from?

For about half of the list, from the horse's mouth— that is, from the e-retailers themselves. For the other half we make an estimate of the e-retailer's annual sales online for the past year. We reach that estimate by analyzing traffic patterns for the e-retailer's web site, taking into account our historical knowledge of the merchant, which is based on numbers we get from comScore and Compete, and by applying average tickets and conversion rates found for other sites in the retailer's merchandising category.

How do we get our web site listed in the Top 500 Guide?

Somewhat the way a musician gets to Carnegie Hall, except that practice, practice, practice is replaced by sell, sell, sell. Since all e-retailer rankings in the Top 500 Guide are based on a web merchant's prior year online sales, retailers must demonstrate that they have annual online sales that are at least as high as the 500th-ranked web site. If your site has those numbers and we failed to include you in the Guide, contact Internet Retailer's senior editor of research, Stefany Moore, via e-mail (stefany@verticalwebmedia.com) and she'll get back to you.

How do you collect all the additional non-sales information on each of the e-retailers profiled in the Top 500 Guide?

The Top 500 Guide uses a combination of internal research staff and well-known e-commerce market measurement firms such as Compete, Compuware Gomez, comScore, ForeSee and Experian Marketing Services, StellaService and ROI Revolution to collect and verify information. For example, the internal research staff spends up to four months breaking down the social media affiliations, individual features and functions and other metrics for each Top 500 web site. Key metrics such as monthly unique visitors or total monthly visits are supplied by the retailer or compiled by comScore or Compete.

Who on the IR team researches the Top 500 Guide content?

A team of six senior editors headed up by the research director spends six months each year compiling data, writing profiles, researching companies and fact-checking data for each Top 500 retailer. Surveys with compiled historical information are sent to each existing Top 500 merchant and likely newcomers at the beginning of each research cycle. Retailers then update their information and the new data is verified and edited by the research team. Each retailer sees their individual compiled data summary at multiple times during the course of the research to verify and update their information.

If we don't want our company in the Top 500 Guide, can we ask you to not include us?

You can ask, but the answer will always be no. The Top 500 Guide is a painstakingly researched and objective editorial product. If we have information that puts your company among the 500 largest e-retailers in the country, we owe it to the buyers of the Guide to include you in the rankings.

Why is the Top 500 Guide published in May when the numbers it collects and reports are for the prior year's online sales?

The Top 500 Guide is edited and published as soon after the end of the fourth quarter as humanly possible in order to supply the online retailing market with the most-up-to-date information. Most Top 500 retailers, including both public and private companies, don't disclose their annual financials such as web sales until the period of late January through early April. By the May publication date, the Top 500 staff has surveyed the industry and compiled the latest web sales total for each merchant ranked in the Top 500 Guide.

You sell up to three copies of the Top 500 Guide at a reduced rate on your web site. Do you offer even lower per-copy prices for volume orders that exceed three copies?

Yes. To purchase more than three copies of the Top 500 Guide (there is no limit as long as the stock is available), contact Chaz McCrobie-Quinn (chaz@verticalwebmedia.com), who will quote volume discount prices and process your order.

How can we advertise in the Top 500 Guide?

Contact the IR advertising representative for your region. For information on whom that person is, go to the Contact Us page of this web site.

Is the Top 500 Guide updated with fresh sources of additional material each year?

As web retailing becomes more complex, the Top 500 Guide keeps up with the times by adding new metrics each year. For example in the 2013 edition, new metrics include the countries each Top 500 merchant ships to.

FAQs Online FAQs
How often is the data in the Top500Guide.com updated?

The newly compiled annual information for all Top 500 retailers included in the 2013 edition will be uploaded and available to subscribers in early May. Data and profiles for individual retailers are updated throughout the year. Updates may include newly released quarterly web sales, new vendor relationships, and newly hired or promoted executives.

How is the Top 500 data compiled?

The starting point for data-gathering is our list of retailers from the previous year, combined with updated web traffic figures from comScore Inc. and Compete Inc. That list is supplemented with merchants that Internet Retailer has come across in its research, requests from retailers to be included and suggestions from technology vendors and e-commerce analysts. Whenever possible, web sales figures listed in the electronic and print versions of the Top 500 Guide 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—as well as analyst interviews. 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 and 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.

What sources are used when compiling the Top 500 data?

Researchers contact each retailer several times over the 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—to formulate estimates. Additional data is supplied to the Top 500 from these information partners: comScore Inc., Compete Inc., Compuware Gomez, ForeSee, Experian Marketing Services, ROI Revolution Inc. and StellaServices. In all instances where an estimate is used or the data is supplied by a third party, the figure is footnoted. Retailers were given multiple opportunities to review and respond to estimates.

Can I access data and profiles from earlier editions of the Top 500 Guide?

Yes. You have access to databases that archive information from the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 editions of the Top 500 Guide. To select an edition, click on Select Another Guide, beneath the Welcome box. Only one edition can be accessed at a time.

Do the rankings change each year?

Yes. Some retailers such as Amazon.com will be in each annual issue. But 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. 500 had annual web sales of $18.7 million while the cut-off in 2012 for No. 500 was $14.8 million.

Top 500 Facts
15.8%

Growth rate in 2012 U.S. e-commerce sales

17.5%

How much the Top 500 grew in 2012

2086.1%

2012 e-commerce growth rate for Groupon Inc.

27.1%

Amazon’s 2012 growth rate

Key Features

  • Sales Figures2012 web sales of 500 largest U.S. e-retailers

  • Thorough Analysis243 total metrics per profiled e-retailer: financial, operations, performance and others

  • Comprehensive ScopeA decade of data analyzing growth of Top 500 e-retailers

  • Industry Contacts2,338 online retailing executives

See all features

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