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NEW YORK — Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue flagship isn’t the only thing getting a facelift — the retailer is also revamping barneys.com.
Barneys is relaunching its e-commerce site with a complete redesign that has multiple new features. The new look was quietly introduced on Thursday, and the full launch, with all the site’s new features, is slated for Monday.
This story first appeared in the May 18, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Executives felt a redesign was long overdue. Even though e-commerce is not the largest door for the specialty store, it is the fastest-growing channel and fuels much of Barneys’ growth and future strategy.
“It’s a huge emphasis for us as a company,” said Daniella Vitale, chief merchant, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s merchandising and barneys.com. “It represents one of the biggest opportunities in terms of revenue growth and market share. We wanted to create a completely dynamic and very emotional experience, which we couldn’t do with the old site.”
To that end, Barneys worked with digital agency Huge to retool its online presence. In collaboration with Barneys’ in-house team, they developed a cleaner aesthetic that mainly serves to highlight available product. Barneys sought to simplify the navigation process for visitors, and registered users can now shop with as few as two clicks.
Similar to Twitter or Facebook, shoppers can “favorite” items they like, and their selection will then appear on a personal list through a new “Favorites” tool. They can share the list through social-media platforms Facebook, Twitter, The Fancy or Pinterest. Based on their picks, Barneys will also propose items that these customers could like.
“With the list and things that you favor — it could be a designer, it could be a shoe — we will be able to tell your shopping patterns and recommend anything from a shoe size to a brand,” Vitale noted.
Effective Monday, the site will feature special lists by celebrities, fashion personalities and other tastemakers. For the launch, these include favorite lists from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Julianne Moore, stylist Leslie Fremar, Katie Holmes and her co-designer Jeanne Yang, and chefs Melia Marden from The Smile and Michael Chernow from Meatball Shop.
The “Most Loved” feature displays the most trending items of the moment, which are measured against users “favoriting” pieces. “Exclusively Ours” informs visitors of items exclusive to Barneys, while “The Window” adds an editorial context to the site with information about art, lifestyle, culture, fashion and initiatives related to Barneys that can be linked back to the designer merchandise for sale.
The visual icons associated with each tool will be part of Barneys’ overall strategy and will also be reflected at store level.
Vitale said it was “critical” to engage consumers today. “The mobile device, the iPads, the smartphones…have changed life forever,” she said. “It’s very integrated in everyday life. The notion of on- and offline behavior has fallen by the wayside. It’s completely seamless. We use technology, we use mobile devices, we use Web sites to do everything these days.”
While planned before, the Web relaunch is the first major activity since Perry Capital became the majority owner of Barneys earlier this month. The redesign is part of the overall strategic direction and overhaul spearheaded by Barneys chief executive officer Mark Lee.
“We are not changing the DNA of Barneys but reviving the way we communicate with customers, and how we highlight what we do best and curate the best — product,” Vitale said. “The renovation of the store [serves] to create a clean backdrop, and that’s what we are now doing on the Web site. We know we have huge penetration of customers who shop Madison Avenue and the Web site. We want to make sure the messaging is the same.”