07/10/2012 09:40 am ET Updated Sep 09, 2012

Adventures In Customer Support: E-commerce Gets Some New Breast Friends

Buying a bra that fits according to expert standards has, for years, entailed a visit to a department store or a lingerie shop, where employees double as "fit experts" who determine shoppers' band and cup sizes in the confines of a dressing room. But that may be changing, as online retailers debut new methods for lingerie shopping that can be done easily--and, they hope, effectively--from a computer screen.

"People hate the fitting room experience," says Aarthi Ramamurthy, who launched online bra retailer True&Co in May with cofounder Michelle Lam.

The San Francisco-based startup relies on a questionnaire and an algorithm designed to determine bra size as effectively as a human expert. Bras from brands such as Calvin Klein and Natori are $45 and sold using a model similar to that of game-changing eyewear retailer Warby Parker: customers receive a box of five bras and have a week to try them on, keep what they want and send back what they don't. Shipping and returns are free. True&Co uses information about what you keep and what you send back to help customers make better decisions about their next purchases.

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