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E-Shop Savvy: Mark's Launches Better, Faster Shopping Site -- Free Shipping in Canada Until Year's End Super-efficient navigation, bigger, brighter photos, breezy registration and check-out -- and free shipping within Canada until the end of the year.
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Marks Look book A

SPONSORED One of the smartest things Mark's has done in recent years is invite media types and bloggers to try out some of their key innovations. At one of those two-day events, hair and makeup touch-ups were part of the experience; I was hired as the makeup artist. And I saw first-hand the surprise and delight each visitor expressed as she tried on jeans that fit designer-brilliantly, dresses that offered strategic shaping and support, and boots she'd actually wear.

I loved my own Mark's suede boots -- in fact, I wore them to death. They were perfect for everywhere, so very comfortable, and of course, reasonably priced. (Don't look for them now; they're from a couple of seasons back, sorry!)

So what's Mark's been up to lately? Well, they've overhauled their website,, in just six weeks, that's what. And it's way, waaay better than it was.

Marks Homepage

"We've added a mega-navigation bar so you can get to the product much faster, within one or two clicks instead of three or four," says Kristine Arcand, Online Business Manager for Mark's. "There's also a quick-view, which, yes, is standard practice today, but we didn't have it on our old site. Now you can get to shopping a lot quicker without having to hit more buttons."

Kristine is frank about a few glitches the team is still working on -- Marks fast-tracked what should have been a 12-week process to be ready for holiday online-shoppers. You won't be able to redeem gift cards or coupons via the website until early 2012, and little things such as colour swatches aren't all in place just yet.

Marks lookbook 2

There is, however, a new ratings and reviews function for each item so you can weigh in and/or get the scoop before you buy. The registration and checkout process has been super-streamlined as well, and -- this is the best part -- there are zero shipping charges within Canada for the rest of this year, whether you order one item or 20.

"Most people dread snow, but we're hoping for lots so you'll want to shop from your cosy couch," says Kristine.

Marks Ispiri lurex cardigan $48 and sequin tank $38_twisted yarn boyfriend cardigan $59

Snow, huh? Well, I have my eye on a couple of things (don't judge me for my love of grey sweaters, and blame Vanessa Taylor for my inability to resist sequins), and I've already ordered... socks. Knee-high T-Max® Heat Crew Socks, to be precise, which promise to be 50% warmer than standard thermal types. I want them to "winterize" my waterproof-but-not-quite-winter boots... but that's another story.

Images courtesy of Mark's.