eTail East 2019

August 19 - 22, 2019

The Sheraton, Boston


Barneys New York – An iBeacon of Digital Retail Renaissance

Barneys New York. When it comes to luxury retail, here is one chain that’s determined to stop at nothing to deliver an – indeed – luxury experience to all its customers on an increasingly personalized level.

In February this year, Barneys New York opened up a flagship store in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The location – which in fact takes up nearly an entire city block on 7th Avenue – marks somewhat of a homecoming for the luxury retailer, being where it was originally founded as a menswear brand back in 1923.

It’s been 20 years since the original Chelsea store closed to migrate uptown to Madison Avenue. But its reclamation of the original location brings with it more than nostalgia of glory days past – indeed, the new Barneys is a beacon of digital retail renaissance powered by mobile, social media content, and omnichannel fulfillment.

The architects were tasked with designing and rebuilding an updated version of the original store, rebalancing the location’s historic roots with modern technology.

When it opened its doors, Barneys became the first luxury retailer department store in the US to launch iBeacon technology within a bricks-and-mortar space. Teaming up with RichRelevance, the Barneys flagship has integrated the company’s Relevance Cloud personalization platform to power a first-of-its-kind digital experience for its in-store customers.  

A Meeting Of The Modern And Traditional

Upon entering the store, the combination of the historic and the contemporary offers customers a unique and timeless shopping experience. Digital aspects are brought into the store, as iBeacon technology chimes with the Relevance Cloud to deliver rich multimedia content such as videos, look books and interviews with designers to inform and entertain Barneys’ consumers, all while creating a seamless and efficient in-store experience. Furthermore, the store’s sales associates carry iPads, which furnish them with all customers’ background information concerning their brands and products of interest, so each shopping experience can be personalized accordingly.

The aim – and indeed the outcome – is that shoppers are engaged across all customer touchpoints, be they online, on mobile, or in the store itself.   

“The most important touchpoint is the phone,” Barneys Vice President of Digital, Matthew Woolsey, told Digiday.“We’re proud of the way we’ve used our customer data online and offline to be fluidly connected — it allows for a personalized, consistent experience in store and online.

Meeting The Modern Needs Of The Modern Consumer

We can learn a lot from Barneys. The retailer recognizes the importance of the customer experience both in-store and out. And this is indeed important – according to Gartner, a full 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience in 2016. And so they need to be – the preferences and expectations of increasingly-connected consumers are changing rapidly in the modern era of retail, as the battleground for brand preference, loyalty and advocacy is now unequivocally being fought over in terms of the level of personalization a brand or retailer can continuously deliver to the customer.

“Customers have come to expect a personalized experience. Digital content has become an enabler of personalization across all channels and all types of buyers,” says Penny Gillespie, Research Director at Gartner. “Buyers' expectations increase with every great experience they encounter – they will expect the same high standards from their next experience. The key takeaway is that personalization offers a real competitive advantage and is a tool for promoting customer engagement but should be exercised with caution, maintaining customer privacy and keeping information in context.”

When Barneys Met RichRelevance

Shopping will always be a fundamentally personal experience, and delivering this is at the heart of the Relevance Cloud from RichRelevance.

When it comes to omnichannel personalization, there are few that will dispute that RichRelevance offer what is perhaps the most comprehensive personalization solution for retail today. Combining all the core capabilities that marketers need to deliver customers a seamless retail experience in today’s mobile-first environment, the Relevance Cloud is a truly revolutionizing platform that allows retailers to instantly innovate and deliver personalized, brand-centric experiences across all the touchpoints that a customer engages with, whether in-store or out.

It works by aggregating key data that includes customer behavior, context, content, and product information in order to deliver more rich and relevant experiences for each customer – and the technology can use this data to deliver a real-time personalized shopping experience in under 65 milliseconds. 

“Personalization is core to the customer experience, bringing together customer, product and context into a unified marketing engagement,” says David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. “The Relevance Cloud puts nearly a decade of data sciences and personalization innovation into the hands of marketers so they can bring existing programs into lockstep and create entirely new customer experiences. The Relevance Cloud manages the heavy lifting so that retailers can focus on what they do best: designing differentiated experiences that speak to shoppers based on who they are.”

When Barneys met RichRelevance, the iBeacon strategy that was implemented converted on all fronts. And the result is continuously engaged, entertained and informed shoppers who enjoy the luxury of personalized interaction with Barneys no matter how or where they choose to engage with the retailer.

“Providing an unparalleled customer experience both in store and across our digital properties is an integral part of Barneys New York,” says Matthew Woolsey. “RichRelevance has enabled us to utilize our customer data to craft new and unique digital experiences which engage shoppers on our website, on their mobile and tablet devices and in the physical stores.”


About John Waldron: John Waldron is a technology and business writer for markITwrite digital content agency, based in Cornwall, UK. He writes regularly across all aspects of marketing and tech, including SEO, social media, FinTech, IoT, apps and software development.