Barneys New York’s next move in the realm of personalization is to target individual customers based on purchase and browsing behaviors, rather than communicating with shoppers by segments. Josh Lieberman, Barneys’ executive vice president of digital, spoke with eMarketer’s Tricia Carr about the first steps in achieving this and the challenges it has encountered along the way.
eMarketer: Why is personalization a top priority at Barneys this year?
Josh Lieberman: Digital continues to grow for our business, and we continue to invest more in our inventory position for digital. With that, we need to find ways to scalably grow our customer base and our marketing program.
Personalization and technology are two critical components of how we scale and grow and show the right things to our customers. We have very different customers. A millennial beauty shopper is much different than a made-to-measure suit shopper. It’s important to organize our products in a way that’s relevant to these different segments. Personalization technology allows us to do that in a relatively straightforward way.“We’re using the behavioral data we have and allowing customers to opt in to receive targeted communications.”
eMarketer: What type of customer data is most important for personalization?
Lieberman: The most important thing to capture is our customers’ purchase behavior. Nothing tells us what they want more than what they’ve purchased in the past. We also use behavioral data from our digital channels to help inform intent. What are our customers shopping for? What are they browsing? What are they searching for? That, in addition to purchase behavior, helps us predict what they want.
eMarketer: What are the biggest personalization initiatives right now for Barneys?
Lieberman: We’re focused on personalized communication based on the products that someone has purchased and looked at. Our communications are targeted to segments, but the next step is targeting them based on individual behaviors.
eMarketer: What steps are you taking to achieve this?
Lieberman: We’re looking at how to use our inventory across the organization efficiently. For example, if you like a specific designer or a specific product, we can let you know when there are new arrivals for that designer, or products related to the one you came for.
We’re using the behavioral data we have and allowing customers to opt in to receive targeted communications. We’re also putting programs in place that allow us to communicate directly with customers based on explicit preferences they tell us.