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.
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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 Results, Experian Marketing Service, ROI Revolution Inc. and StellaService. 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.
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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.
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