Pure-play online retailers have a leg up on brick-and-mortar merchants that had to customize their shops for e-commerce, but a focus on providing the best possible customer experience can still spell success, experts say. "You've got to have great assortment to start with; a search function which takes customers to the products they want; easy navigation; and filters so customers can edit a selection. If a customer can't find it they can't buy it," said Sean O'Connor of U.K.-based department store John Lewis.

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