By  on August 7, 2014

NEW YORK — Daniella Vitale, chief operating officer and senior executive vice president of Barneys New York, stressed the importance of operations to a group of graduate students at LIM College here.

“It’s not necessarily the glamorous part of the job,” she said. “The operations of a company, that includes the physical [stores] and the e-commerce channel, is the backbone of the company. If the product’s not delivered on time or the POS system doesn’t work or the Wi-Fi doesn’t work” the customer’s experience suffers, said Vitale.

“Restaurants also fall under purview of operations,” she said, adding, “We’re going to roll Fred’s out in our downtown location.” Vitale said that Barneys will launch a digital concierge in its Beverly Hills flagship, which is being renovated.

“E-commerce has been the biggest growth property for the company,” she said. “Both the physical stores and e-commerce coexist and feed off each other. Based on the customer’s browsing and purchasing history, we want to personalize the online experience. We just launched a program that helps customers with sizing based on certain algorithms and past purchases. We encourage sales associates to use the Web site to check inventory. Everyone [sales associates] in the stores in due time will have an iPhone or mini iPad.”

Barneys, which has been converting its Co-op units to Barneys New York stores, operates 32 stores. “We don’t have that many stores,” Vitale said. “We don’t have a presence in Miami. We’ll probably need more than one store there. We could use another store in Northern California.”

The company, which ships to 80 countries, would like to expand its reach. Barneys uses a third party to ship overseas. “We want to own that process from start to finish,” Vitale said. “It’s critical to servicing the international customer. The international piece is very big for us.”

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