Barclaysquare, the internet shopping mall operated by Barclays Bank,
is undergoing a revamp which is intended to lead eventually to a big
expansion in the range of products available for sale.
So far, there is a new look and feel, designed and produced by new-media
agency Wicked Web, and an editorially-led approach which moves the site
noticeably away from the ’shopping mall’ metaphor it followed before.
Barclays has hired an editor, Amanda McCrystal, to produce The Cafe, a
weekly-updated online magazine that looks at shopping and consumer
Reciprocal deals struck with consumer print publishers mean that much of
the content will carry the authority of those titles - tests of desirable
consumer gadgetry courtesy of T3 magazine, for instance, or men’s shirts
reviewed by Esquire.
The articles are heavy with recommended items, none of which are currently
sold on the site. In fact, the number of ’stores’ on the site is still
just six, including Interflora, Victoria Wine and the much-maligned
”We want to get to the point very quickly where, if something is
recommended, you’ll be able to click on it to buy it,” said Stuart
Haining, product and marketing manager for Barclays’ Emerging Markets
Great emphasis is also being placed on ease of use and security, and the
site now offers the Barclaysquare Safe Shopping Guarantee, which promises
to reimburse customers ”in the unlikely event of fraudulent use of your
credit card as a result of a Barclaysquare purchase”.
There is also a Smart Statements feature which allows shoppers to see
details of past purchases and check the status of current orders.
The challenge for Barclaysquare, however, will be more than just getting
people to visit, but also to persuade them that a bank is a credible place
to buy things like digital cameras and lingerie, especially when the
competition includes the likes of Virgin Net, which is aggressively
Despite the site not yet being promoted heavily externally, traffic stands
at around two million impressions a month.