sophistication abounds throughout this site. The graphics are so crisp, they all but burst with three-dimensional detail. The clarity allows you to see the exact cut of the gemstones and the smallest details of the gold and silver.
The home page makes it easy for a first-time visitor to become comfortable with the e-tailer by explaining the shipping policies, the online security, the search capabilities, special promotions, and services before you even enter the shopping portion of the site. And there are services galore! Ashford offers a credit account, an e-mail newsletter subscription, gift advisory services, a wish list capability, and a corporate gift site. And when the Cybercritic visited, Ashford was running a promotion to win a dream getaway to Ashford Castle – an Irish castle turned five-star hotel that conveniently shares a name with this e-tailer.
Navigation is a cinch on this site. All the product category links are clearly positioned at the top of each page, and each category has its own search engine that lets you find products by brand, price, product type, and keyword.
And when I finally begin my checkout procedure, I am pleasantly surprised to find no shipping fee, even though I know from the home page that Ashford uses FedEx. After checking out, I lean back in my chair, satisfied with my well-spent afternoon of shopping!