InternetRetailing: You’re speaking at IRX on using new digital innovation in store. How do you see the role of the high street store changing at the moment in the light of digital?
Jamie Bennett, head of showrooms at Made: Physical retail is changing, but it isn’t going away, I think we are seeing a shift in how customers use stores - customers expect a reflection & enhancement of what they have seen online. At Made we have focused on making our showroom experience as good as our digital one. We are a digital retailer, our customer journey will always start and end online, but our showrooms add value for our customers, providing different interactions with Made through both tech and showroom team insight.
IR: Made has talked about selling in the way that younger shoppers want to buy – can you sum up what it is that is different about your approach?
JB: At Made we want to engage with our customers in a way that they feel comfortable with, in designing our customer journey we have made sure that people who visit the showroom can interact with us in the way they want to – having a great interaction with a team member, browsing via our in store app on our touch-tables, using their own device in store or having a video call from home with one of our showrooms to browse products in the showroom remotely. For us it is all about offering the best, most flexible customer experience to each visitor.
IR: Tell us about one or two innovations that Made has brought into store that you’re particularly pleased with, or that work particularly well. Did the results of introducing these innovations surprise you?
JB: The app that runs on our large in store touch tables is at the centre of our customer journey, allowing customers to browse the full catalogue but also print postcards of the items they are interested in, get inspiration through user generated instagram content and use ‘find your style’ to get intuitive design recommendations according to your own taste. We have also worked with Hullabalook to who developed our online ’sofasizer’ tool to create an in-store app that allows customers to shop by size, colour & product type, this allows people to narrow down their search easily and has allowed for some great customer interactions.
Something we are also proud of is bringing the showroom experience into homes. MADE customers can use a new ‘View it Live’ function which allows them to video call with our showroom teams to see a product that they are interested in up close and gain the insight from the team first hand without having to leave the comfort of their sofa. This additional dimension allows us to enhance both the online and offline experience for our customers.
IR: Is there one piece of advice that you have for other retailers that are considering how best to rethink their store estates in the light of digital?
JB: At MADE we have focused on understanding where our clients spend their time, and hiring & training our teams carefully - customers are looking for convenience and for a great interaction in our space, we have made sure our teams are ready to deliver this, and that we are in the best location for our customers.
IR: Apart from your own presentation, what are you most looking forward to at IRX 2019?
JB: I am really looking forward to seeing the panel discussion about creating a culture able to take advantage of technological innovation - I think it is so important that retailers do not let scale or operational issues slow their uptake of new tech that can add value to their customers.
Image courtesy of Made