Barneys New York’s Beacon Strategy: ‘Anything Is Possible In Our Store’

The luxury retailer is focusing on personalized content to shape customers' online-to-offline experience.

Barneys New York’s exploration of beacons and other omnichannel strategies for its flagship NYC store is going from emphasizing sales efficiency to brand affinity.

Back in February, when the upscale retailer first tried on beacons, the goal in bridging the digital and physical worlds was to offer shoppers a faster way to get the clothing and accessory items they wanted. The focus was on “connected” sales representatives that could help smartphone users with the Barneys New York app better navigate its Chelsea shop. The store also promised same day delivery for those mobile customers who otherwise had a busy day and didn’t want to lug their expensive wares along with them.

To complement those offerings, Barneys New York is working with personalized content platform RichRelevance on sending shoppers specific kinds information and articles from the department store chain’s editorial offering, The Window, which contains lookbooks and advice from designers.

Most retailers have sought to expand beacon use beyond the idea of discounts and deals to regular shoppers while in-store in favor of “enhancing the in-store experience.”

For Barneys New York’s well-heeled customers, deals aren’t necessarily what they’re expecting (besides, the definition of a Barneys New York “discount” is highly relative). And because it has such rich access to fashionable photography and big name designers, it has enough content to send to its various shoppers — younger and older, men and women, business and casual — to truly employ beacons as a content delivery mechanism that drives home the idea of the 90-year-old chain’s refined and advanced aesthetic.

“The customer experience in this store runs parallel in importance to the design, product and historic location,” Barneys New York COO, Daniella Vitale, said in a statement. ”We want the customer to feel as though anything is possible when they walk into the store. With the seamless integration of technology, our incredible staff, and a deep appreciation of our customer, we really do feel that everything is possible.”

Despite that ethos of pushing the boundaries, it’s not clear if — or when — Barneys New York will include beacons in its 26 other outlets.


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David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.