LEAVING SIDELINES, BARNEYS.COM GOES LIVE

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Barneys New York isn’t sitting on the virtual sidelines any longer.
The fashion-forward retailer launched a noncommercial, information-driven site, at barneys.com, on July 12, offering data on the company’s store locations, merchandise and the designers who make those goods.
Internet users who visit barneys.com also can purchase a Barneys gift card and submit a personal profile, which could help the the company target them with various promotions.
“Initially we were wary of how to translate our unique fashion sensibility to an electronic medium,” Allen Questrom, chairman and chief executive officer of Barneys, said in a statement. “Barneys is an elegant specialty store; what we offer is so personal and service oriented.
“We were, however, delighted with Kioken,” Questrom added of the New York-based interactive agency that designed the company’s Web site. “They did an amazing job capturing the rarefied essence of Barneys New York.”
The Web site’s sleek design is aimed at reflecting Barneys New York’s commitment to the motto of “taste, luxury and humor,” according to the retailer.
By clicking on the women’s tab on the home page, for example, shoppers are shown new fashion images that slide horizontally across the screen, and a menu of merchandise to browse, from the “main floor” to the “fifth floor.”
After sliding a mouse over those floor designations, users see a list of the classifications they can browse in those areas, like accessories, jewelry, shoes and hosiery on the main floor, and goods from the Co-Op on the fifth level.
There are sensual touches, such as the list of brands on the fifth floor, which become bigger and bolder in a subtle fashion as the mouse is slid across them.
“It was a challenge to both our programming team and our designers to effectively translate the Barneys brand online — a challenge we enjoyed meeting,” said Tony Lee, vice president and chief operating officer of Kioken. “We wanted to push the envelope and create an online experience that would pique the interests of those unfamiliar with Barneys, while still offering their current clientele a sense of continuity with the offline brand.”

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