Barneys recognized that the divide between its in-store and online customers was blurring, and that “shopping” was an ever-changing notion. Customers who traditionally frequented its department stores were now looking to digital channels and increasingly visiting the Barneys website before, during and after in-store visits. Barneys.com was the company’s fastest growing channel, but online sales still lagged behind the stores’.
Barneys wanted the new site to refresh the way it communicated with customers and integrate seamlessly with the in-store experience. Shopping online needed to be engaging, inspirational and easy.
Our design focus, in close coordination with Barneys, was three-fold: first, elevating the products themselves, with a clean site aesthetic mirroring the minimalist design of the stores and updated navigation and categories; second, reinforcing Barneys’ emphasis on “shopping with a story” by enabling users to personalize and share their shopping experience; and third, expanding and simplifying the shopping experience for men, who research showed were an ever increasing share of conversion but often flummoxed by the existing architecture of the site.
Technical development and execution presented their own challenges. Unique aspects of the new design—including product filters and an unconventional integration of product pages with editorial content—along with resource and time constraints led us to recommend using a hosted e-commerce solution (Demandware) that offered out-of-the-box functionality. But the platform needed to be adapted, and our senior web developers customized it to make it easy for Barneys to manage internally, with minimal IT staff, and also to yield a non-standard interface that supported the special, branded experience of shopping at Barneys online.
Since the new Barneys.com launched in May 2012, site traffic is up 34% and is now the the second-largest revenue producer after Madison Avenue. After receiving tremendous accolade in the press and larger fashion and retail community, the redesigned Barneys.com went on to win the OMMA Online Advertising Creativity award for the best retail website in 2012. Luxury Daily also cited Barneys’s ecommerce renovation as key to clinching the online magazine’s 2012 Luxury Retailer of the Year award.