Company executives at the luxury brand say they’re focusing more on content, such as exclusive designer interviews, that makes shoppers feel special, and it’s paying off. Customers who read Barneys' editorial site spend 40% more than average.

With more than half of visitors to its website coming from mobile devices, luxury retail chain Barneys New York Inc. knew it had to adjust its e-commerce strategy if the bottom line was going to continue growing.

The retailer, No. 186 in the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide, recently relaunched its e-commerce site with an eye toward better capturing the mobile shopper.

“Mobile, personalization and editorial are the most impactful e-commerce trends of the moment and will be for quite some time,” says Matthew Woolsey, executive vice president of digital. “Our new site is the first fully responsive site in luxury retail, which is a real game-changer for us.”

The retailer handled testing and design work for the relaunched site in-house, with the company reaching out to customers to find out what was working and what they were looking for in an online luxury shopping experience. Barneys’ new site aims for a clean, engaging look with plenty of white space and not a single price to be found on the main page.

True to Woolsey’s description, the site does translate well onto a mobile device, presenting a clean layout that makes it easy for shoppers to learn more about products they are perusing. Each item has a “Buy” button that is large enough to make it easy for shoppers to add items to a cart, even on a mobile phone.


“We know customers are checking in with us many times across a multitude of devices before they make a purchase, and we want to provide the richest experience possible,” Woolsey says.

Because customers are using their phones, tablets and laptops, Barneys wanted to make shopping as seamless as possible.

“Features such as favorites, the shopping cart and account all sync with our app,” he says. Barneys is hardly alone among luxury retailers when it comes to noticing the potential for revenue growth via mobile. Neiman Marcus (No. 41 in the 2014 Top 500 Guide) has enhanced its mobile offerings, including adding a Snap. Find. Shop. feature to its mobile app that lets customers photograph an item and then buy it on a mobile device.


“It’s hard to know what percentage mobile will ultimately be of the overall e-commerce business, but it’s becoming more and more of a factor in how we think about our business,” Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz told analysts on the retailer’s Q2 2015 earnings call.

One of the biggest challenges luxury brands face when it comes to e-commerce is re-creating the in-store experience. Barneys’ research indicated the company should focus on two things to grow e-commerce: personalization and content for the retailer’s editorial site, The Window, which spotlights influencers and trends.

Woolsey says a key to the company’s e-commerce strategy is going to be amping up its editorial content, because that’s an area where they’re achieving significant return on investment.


“Customers who read The Window spend 40% more than our average shopper,” he says. “So far, customers have responded extremely well to personalized editorial such as lookbooks, exclusive designer interviews, videos and Window stories that are tailored to them. Users who are engaging with our personalized editorial are converting 4x-5x higher than our average user.”