As Made.com’s flagship London showroom has a makeover, Retail Week talks to chief executive Philippe Chainieux about how the retailer is becoming the go-to brand for millennials.
Made.com is fast becoming the go-to store for millennial homemakers with its trendy products, stylish stores and Instagram-friendly marketing.
Last week, Made opened the doors to its revamped Soho showroom, which has tripled in size and will soon house a chic cafe.
Made, which started life as an online retailer, uses this, and other strategically located stores, to show off its product and give shoppers the confidence to buy.
However, no products can be taken away from its stores. Instead, shoppers are directed to buy online and have items delivered to their home.
The Soho showroom, which is now more than 1,100 sq m, stocks just 450 products that are regularly rotated to fall in-line with what’s on its website.
Each product in-store is assigned its own QR code, which shoppers can scan with their smartphone camera to be taken directly to the product page online to make a purchase.
At the centre of the store is a gigantic tablet that allows shoppers to search the brand’s 5,000 products online and browse Made’s Instagram page to buy exact looks from its feed.
Rather than a physical catalogue, Made is championing sustainability by offering the option to print off a small postcard with product details on if customers feel the need to take away physical details of potential purchases. These are printed off directly from the tablet in seconds.
What millennials want
Once upon a time, furniture was considered a sector unlikely to move online. Buying big ticket items without seeing, feeling and making sure it fits into your living room, was considered a step too far for most shoppers.
However, with even sector giant Ikea plotting an online marketplace for furniture, ecommerce is clearly having an impact.
Made is benefiting from this. Chainieux told Retail Week that the UK business made a profit in the UK last year as sales jumped an impressive 34%.
He says: “I believe that we’ve seen in the UK and across Europe more and more people being comfortable buying big ticket items online and more and more comfortable buying sofas online.”.
“The number one reason for that is that there’s a new generation coming, there’s a new expectation of consumers and I think we as a brand have the ability to be more relevant to that customer.”
“They need to engage with the brand, they need a little bit of transparency, they want something more personalised to them, they want something that’s not a mass market product, they don’t want the same thing that everybody else has.”
In a world driven by online influence and the ability to share anything instantly, people’s homes have become an extension of their personalities and Made.com wants to serve these shoppers with product that is “more individualised”, according to Chainieux.
Made.com’s Talent Lab is designed to create more unique product and differentiate it from mass market retailers. Talent Lab encourages up-and-coming designers to submit work to the company. Made shortlists pieces, presents them to the public and the designs that get the most customer pledges are commissioned.
Chainieux says: “I want to do things differently and I want to engage our customer base. That’s exactly what Talent Lab is about, saying to our customer base ‘help us to find new successful designers.’”
The Soho store showcases some of the best designs to have emerged from the Talent Lab platform, giving these young designers more exposure.
Such is Chainieux’s confidence in truly understanding what millennials wants, that Made has made the somewhat eyebrow-raising move of launching an array of lifestyle products such as bikes, bathrobes and bags.
Chainieux says he wants Made to be “a destination for a generation” and if it can apply the same ingredients that make its furniture resonate with a millennial audience - which he says is “nice design, different, great quality product and great price” - those new categories will thrive.
From beds to bikes, Made.com is creating a destination for every millennial need.
Jo Jackson, chief creative officer of Made.com, will be speaking at Retail Week Live 2019 on March 28. Find out more