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The Top 500

The Top 500

The Top 500

In 2014 InternetRetailing will reveal its research and ranking programme into the multichannel ecosystem – retailers, suppliers and individuals. Ian Jindal ponders the meaning of “top”.

Since our first issue in 2006, InternetRetailing has focused upon the multichannel retail ecosystem – the retailers, who seek to delight and profit from customers, and the suppliers who seek to do the same from the retailers, allied to the key people who drive, invest in and transform both. While we’ve eschewed ‘top’ lists for a long time, our growing research business and examinations into the drivers of performance has led slowly but surely to our upcoming “reveal” on March 26 at the InternetRetailing Expo (IRX).

Over the last year, we’ve been referring to “IRDX” – the internet retailing ecosystem guide. You will see this on our portal at, where whenever a retailer, supplier or key individual is mentioned we tag them so that all mentions are aggregated on their IRDX record page. This provides an at-a-glance thumbnail sketch of the company, their connections and their mentions on Internet Retailing. Take House of Fraser as an example [IRDX RHOF]. Their IRDX record (http:// shows an outline of the business, recent mentions, key staff and key suppliers. [Online readers will also see at the bottom of this piece a “Mentioned in this piece…” section that summarises the IRDX mentions]. One of their suppliers, ChannelAdvisor has a profile that gives a thumbnail of their business and offerings, along with their clients.

People, suppliers, retailers: we are connected in business, in our aspirations and now also via our interactive ecosystem index, IRDX.

Having completed this first stage of activity, we now turn our attention to the biggest, brightest and best. This is a natural question, but the challenge we have is how we define “best”. This is where we’re turning to our community in order to decide. It’s relatively easy to determine the biggest by turnover, but that does not necessarily mean ‘best’.

What about profitability, reach, growth rate, potential? Also, in our fast-changing industry we need to be alive to smaller, innovative and disruptive businesses who may have a great impact on the customer and set the context for established businesses.

At the end of March, we will be asking our readers what ‘best’ means to them. We will be seeking ideas, prioritisation and combinations of factors that in aggregate make a business the ‘best’. We’ve covered size and footprint above, but other dimensions are going to include: operations and supply chain; crosschannel and mobile; reputation and customer sentiment; product and range wrangling; plus of course measures of innovation, adaptation and skills development.

We will make the resulting assessment approach open to our readers – not only to encourage discussion, but because we will amend the criteria slightly each year as we learn, the industry changes and we seek the formula to create a leading indicator as much as a retrospective award!

Helping us navigate, prioritise and assess will be our advisory board, whose members we’ll announce in the Spring. These experts will help us determine the components of performance that – taken as a whole will correlate to performance now, and in the future.

The rollout of our Ecosystem will be:

  • “Footprint” – at IRX we’ll reveal who’s in our Top500 Footprint list, covering the ‘size and reach’ dimensions of retail;
  • “2014 Procurement Guide” – showcasing the suppliers to the Top500 retailers; “2014 Top500” – revealed,
  • a ranked list of the top retailers, at October’s ninth annual InternetRetailing Conference.

Please keep an eye on our newsletter and communications for our calls for insight and participation. If you’d like to draw retailers to our attention please see

This is an exciting and significant undertaking by the team at IR Towers and we recognise that the input, ideas and critique of the talented multichannel community is a vital component of the programme.

As we seek to map the dynamic ecosystem of our industry – people, retailers and suppliers – we recognise that to succeed we must incorporate, from the outset, the voice of that very ecosystem. If you have ideas on companies who should be included, interesting trends or disruptions, thoughts on the components of success and lead indicators of progress, please just drop me a note ( and shape the thinking.

Ian Jindal will be revealing the Top500 on 26 March at InternetRetailing Expo, IRX. See for free admission, and join us for the live debate and report.

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