Barneys Takes a Cue From Pinterest

Smart brands are moving beyond thinking of “social” as channels to thinking about how they can make everything they do be social.

Barneys New York has rolled out a new social strategy throughout its website. Consumers can sign up to have a more social shopping experience on Barneys.com, which goes beyond suggesting what customers might like or want through wish lists and impersonal algorithms. Instead, visitors are encouraged to set up their own collections of items they like — and to explore those created by others, from celebrities to their own friends to other site visitors with similar tastes. Digital agency Huge worked on the site.

In the first day of the launch of this new experience, 675,000 people signed up, and 95 percent tied their accounts to existing accounts on Facebook or Twitter. The launch was promoted via social media, email, on Barneys.com and via digital media buys.

“We have found that luxury is a very social experience,” said Matt Woolsey, svp of digital at Barneys. “Our customers love finding and sharing experiences and being exposed to new ideas.”

Barneys may be taking cues from Pinterest, which has grown quickly as a destination for people to collect interesting items. In a similar way, Barneys is attempting to modernize its shopping experience by helping people discover products through collections assembled by others.

That’s why the most-followed fashion industry leaders were asked to personally put together their own lists of their favorite Barneys products, which appear on their own Facebook and Twitter feeds. Any of the products influencers include on their lists are marked on Barneys.com.

Consumers can also find and follow friends to see their customized lists and feeds. Users can follow specific designers and categories to receive notifications when new products from designers arrive. People can share products, lists and feeds with each other through the site, as well as post them to Facebook or Twitter. The idea is to go beyond hitting like for products and make the shopping experience fully social.

“The value of this customized shopping experience is in helping users find something they did not know they wanted,” said Woolsey. “That plays to our curational nature. That curation of what you might want becomes the way to get people to really enjoy the core value of Barneys online.”

Barneys’ branded content site, The Window, which launched a year ago, is another way that the brand is trying to tell the stories and history behind its products. It’s a site with original content about art, culture, fashion and beauty. Barneys posts two to five articles a week here and distributes the content via social media. The new Barneys.com also includes links to The Window.

“Content is the thread that connects everything,” Woolsey said. “It connects inspiration, education and purchasing. It’s our way to communicate the value behind the product and the story behind it. Our customer longs for this.”