Beyond navigation that makes sense and easy checkout that's trustworthy, savvy shoppers prefer Web sites that offer extras such as free...

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Beyond navigation that makes sense and easy checkout that’s trustworthy, savvy shoppers prefer Web sites that offer extras such as free shipping and a liberal return policy, online retail experts say.

“The technology process of ordering with ease is important,” said Mary Enderle, analyst for the Enderle Group, an emerging-technology advisory firm in Silicon Valley. A frustrated customer is an unhappy one who won’t come back.

Online shoppers also tend to buy brands they’re familiar with and are driven to sites by word of mouth.

Check out these online retailers for unique and/or personalized service: An e-mail service that scours Web sites for sales of labels that you preselect after signing up. There are 500 brands and 80 retailers, ranging from Nordstrom to The customer controls the number of e-mails received per week. Provides a boutique experience online by offering visitors a dedicated customer-care representative accessible by phone, e-mail and instant messaging. Customers can also choose to work with a personal stylist at no cost, create a profile of favorite styles and labels and browse through “look books” and trend reports. A gift concierge service that helps users narrow down a choice by recipient (mom, husband), occasion (wedding, birthday) and category (home, travel). then suggests gifts and will wrap and send them, too. Founder Bonnie Cohen calls it the “full gifting loop.” Edits a selection of apparel by body shape for customers who register their measurements. There’s also style advice, trend reports and a way to shop on your own by looking at the icons on each item that denotes what figure type will look best in it. Founder Louise Wannier said she wanted to find a way to match clothes to people using technology — the software she uses takes individual body measurements to find a fit. Founded in 1998, it was one of the first sites to offer luxury and designer brands at a sale price. The site launched “The Tailor” last month, a boutique within the site for men looking for suits, blazers and dress shirts. Shoppers can engage an on-site tailor and read tips on subjects such as mixing patterns and stripes. An invitation-only site cofounded by former eBay executive Alexis Maybank that offers designer and luxury brands at up to 70 percent off. The first sale was in November with Zac Posen. Maybank, who launched eBay Canada and was general manager for eBay Motors, said the way to get on the list for the “flash sales” is to send an e-mail to A virtual boutique that carries mostly European fashion, capsule vintage collections and a few home-decor objects. It also bills itself as an entertainment destination where users can browse links called “The Project” — computer-generated artist renderings meant to appeal to the anime/techie enthusiast. A link called the “Dream Box” allows customers to save favorite products to share with friends or be updated by Yoox if the item becomes available.