I am writing you to explain why you are losing me as a customer.
I used to spend a lot of money at the Barneys Flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York. I only shopped on the 3rd floor and I knew all the sales associates there. I felt a personal connection to several of them (Roberto and Anthony) and they were all very cool, edgy, they wore interesting smelling perfumes and they were knowledgeable about contemporary fashion. In short, they made me want to spend money.
I loved the store because you would receive lots of great runway pieces from my favorite designers: Lanvin, Rick Owens, Jil Sander, Burberry Prorsum, Raf Simons, Yohji, Augusta (now A1923) and MMM. I would estimate that I spent close to 20k dollars over the course of about 3 years.
A year ago, I moved to the west coast; the closest store to me now is in LA. Unfortunately, I have been pretty underwhelmed by the pieces you get at the LA store. You don't carry Rick Owens, the Lanvin pieces are fairly conservative, the footwear section is depressing and everything just feels more "boring" than in NY.
I understand that Maxfield has some sort of exclusive contract with Rick Owens but.....come on.....you are Barneys. You should be able to get Rick Owens. I can even find Rick Owens at the Nordstroms in San Diego (albeit pretty conservative pieces). While Maxfield has a lot of great pieces, their staff ruins the entire experience for me. That leads me to my next problem with your LA store; your staff. It feels like they are there to cater to rich yuppies that have no clue about clothing. They don't really have much style themselves and none of them seem particularly passionate about what they are doing or selling. Actually there is one older woman there that I found really pleasant; I believe her name is Barbara (?). But I don't feel like i can "geek out" with any of them and they are kind of transparent....I could put on a jacket that is 3 sizes too big and they would probably still tell me it looks great. I want a passionate sales associate that knows what they are selling, that is not scared to tell me something looks like shit and who has style and personality. Maybe it's my fault for not getting to know them better but at the NY store I didn't feel the need to exert myself to want to befriend them.
Now let's talk about your webstore. You guys recently did a giant makeover. I understand that this was necessary because the previous version of your site was not very good. The images were small, items often only one or two crappy photos and it was not a smooth user experience. Despite all this, I still bought stuff from your webstore. Your free shipping and returns policy are both great and the online stock used to be a subset of your Madison Ave store stock.
The newly made-over webstore is pretty crappy. It pales in comparison to LN-CC, Oki-Ni, SSENSE and Mr Porter. The new site suffers fromsome major usability problems which I have listed below. Also, I don't know if it is just me, but the pieces you now offer online feel pretty conservative and boring. I want to be able to see ALL the cool stuff you guys sell at the New York since I can no longer go there.
Here are some of the usability problems with the new site:
1. There is a top navigation row (Womens, Mens, Home, Kids) with drop down menus that have the exact same things as the second level navigation. Choose either a drop down or a second level nav. If you choose a second level nav, make it bigger.
2. The list of designers (http://www.barneys.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-BNY-Site/default/Designer-Show?cgid=men) shouldn't have a rotating banner with photos and brands that I don't care about. The brand list page should be just a list of brands organized alphabetically and I shouldn't need to scroll down one entire page length just to see them.
3. When viewing items, the filtering/sorting/category widget on the left-hand side makes no sense and is difficult to use. When I click the designers tab, there is a list with like 5 brands and I need to scroll endlessly within it. The whole thing is not intuitive.
4. The giant "Love it, save it" banner that floats over the items is extremely annoying. I don't care about saving items for later. I want to go to your site, look at what is there and what is new. I will either buy it, bookmark it or just come back later if I am unsure.
4. The item photos are not consistent in size. Also, the primary photo is sometimes of an item and sometimes of a person wearing clothes. I don't want to have to read the item title to figure out what piece on a person is being sold. The primary photo should be the product and then when I click on it there should be a picture or two of a person or mannequin wearing it.
5. There is no good sizing/measurement information. If i'm going to spend $2000 on a blazer, I want to know the shoulder and sleeve length. For pants, I want to know the waist, crotch and inner seam. These things are all no-brainers. It would also help to know the fit. I want to know the country where it was made and the fabrics/percentages.
6. When viewing an item I don't want to have to click on some box just to get a description of an item. If I have to click like 10 times just to get to a product and get info about it....i will just go to LN-CC instead.
7. When viewing an item, I shouldn't need to scroll through a little image gallery to see all the thumbnails. The item photos are completely disproportionate. The main photo is huge like a Boeing 747 and the thumbnails are small like snails. The new site has tons of white space (which is good), I shouldn't need to scroll through a widget to see photos. There shouldn't be suggestions to other items that are bigger than the thumbnails of the product I'm looking at.
8. I don't care about sharing your products socially on facebook or twitter or twatter or pintrest. I am on your webstore to spend copious amounts of money.....not to brag to my broke friends that I am spending 3000 dollars on a Raf Simons jacket.
9. The line going through the main photo in the background is pointless. it looks like I am supposed to print out the page and fold it closed.
10. The quantity drop down is pretty dumb. No, I don't want to buy ten of the same, $2000 Jil Sander jacket. You guys are not walmart; you don't need to try to be "high volume" for one particular item type. If I really feel the need to buy more of one thing, I am capable of clicking "add to cart" twice.
11. The banners "ads" that show up below the navigation rows are just plain annoying and take up way too much screen real estate. I don't want to see a boring office photo of two guys in Richard James, Roda, Etro and Harris Crocket while I am looking at Givenchy clothing.
12. The default sort order for everything should be "newest items" first.
I know I sound really negative but I am simply trying to communicate that I am really disappointed with what you guys are doing.
I used to love Barneys so much and now, no matter how hard I try, I don't.
A formerly loyal customer,
PS. please forward this message to someone at barneys that actually cares about my opinion