Barneys New York says the e-commerce channel is the fastest growing part of its business and wants to keep the momentum going by playing on its international recognition.
The luxury retailer has ramped up shipping online orders off barneys.com to 90 countries including Canada, South Korea, the U.K., Australia and China, from just the U.S. at the beginning of the year.
“We did a phase-in process beginning at the tail end of February, with 20 countries at a time, to make sure we were up and running and could handle it,” Daniela Vitale, chief merchant and executive vice president of Barneys New York, told WWD.
Asked what countries are generating the most orders, Vitale replied: “Canada is very big, and we’ve had a lot of interest from Australia due to the beneficial exchange rate.” She also cited France, Germany, Italy and Mexico, which is “quite shocking considering the huge tax issues there....There’s been pretty much a great mix, but no real activity from South America aside from a little bit from Brazil but not much else yet. We haven’t done anything yet in terms of marketing. We would partner with Google to do some search-related things that apply to Brazil” and other countries.
Vitale said international tourists represent one-third of Barneys’ active customer base, and that in some flagships, like Madison Avenue and Beverly Hills, it’s closer to a 50-50 split.
With the increase in foreign shipping, Barneys is building up inventories but Vitale assured it’s an increase commensurate with sales projections.
In addition, “Our goal is that a consumer should find the same merchandise online as they find in a flagship. Our business for spring is fantastic but for fall we really will create greater parity.”
Currently, the Web site is only in English but Vitale acknowledged it should also be in French, especially for Canadian shoppers, and possibly Spanish and Portuguese, if Brazil becomes a big market, among other languages.
Some retailers use the online experience as a gauge to see the potential to open overseas stores, but according to Vitale, “We have no interest. We have enough to work with in the U.S. Obviously, we want to look more at organic growth. You never say never. Stranger things can happen, but this is not in our immediate future.”
Barneys has partnered with FiftyOne Global Ecommerce, which does the currency conversion so international customers can pay in their preferred currency, calculates the shipping cost and figures out the taxes required on orders.
Barneys has a 250,000-square-foot complex in Lyndhurst, N.J., including 100,000 square feet devoted to barneys.com, which was launched in 2005. The complex accounts for 90 percent of Barneys online orders; 10 percent is shipped from stores. Barneys also operates a transactional mobile version of its site, and The Window, a content site for an insider view to designers, fashion, events and the Barneys team.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast