An Ebay truck promoting online shopping to customers waiting in Black Friday lines back in 2011.
An Ebay truck promoting online shopping to customers waiting in Black Friday lines back in 2011. - 
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Once upon a time, competition in online retailing was about being able to offer you anything you wanted. Then, it was about free shipping, one-day shipping, free returns...

Now, online retailers are trying to stand-out by offering "curated lists." 

Here are five online sites, in no particular order, who offer a "curated" experience:

1. Zappos

With more than 10,000 designer brands, it’s easy to get lost shopping on Zappos. The online retailer groups designers into categories, much like a department store might. For instance, pick the "Coveted" category, and it’s like you landed in the casual designer department at Nordstrom!

2. Ebay

Back in the day, Ebay was like a huge online swap meet. And like a swap meet, it was disorienting at times. The online auction site hopes to change that these days, using curation. The homepage features "curators" instead of items. If you like their taste, you can follow them. Ebay's hope is that instead of you having to search for stuff, the stuff will find you.

3. Brit+Co

Brit Morin has been called "Silicon Valley's Martha Stewart." Her site started as a sort-of list of D.I.Y. ideas in areas like cooking, crafts and home decor. Now the site is parlaying its D.I.Y. brand to offer a curated shopping experience that emphasizes  boutique-y, craft-y items.  

4. Lyst

Want to curate your own shopping experience? The site allows you to follow more than 10,000 brands, which show up on your style feed. When your favorite designer or store adds a new item, the site notifies you. 

5. Pinterest

It's not simply meant for shopping, and Pinterest isn’t "curating" the lists, per se, but many of the most ardent "pinners" go there to lust after clothes, bags and stuff for home. And they’ll follow the folks posting -- or "curating" -- all that stuff.