Why Made.com is taking the tech back out of shopping

Online retailer Made.com has had resounding success with its high street showrooms, but as it opens a slew of new spaces it’s adopting an unexpectedly analogue approach. Here’s why it’s bucking the trend and putting the technology back behind the scenes

From showrooms to stock, everything at Made.com is run in testing mode. All products listed online go through a strict 8-week trial, at the end of which poor performers are axed entirely. This has allowed the company to avoid the burden of warehouses full of dead stock, as well as take risks on new design ideas. “Everything you see on the site is only there because people want it,” explains Chief Creative Officer Jo Jackson. “Made is producing on demand, to a certain extent. We’re watching what the trends are, and having a lean approach to producing what we need and when we need it.”

It’s a reactive approach that’s been applied to its real-life show spaces from the get-go. The brand’s first showroom took over the 9th floor of Made’s original office building in Notting Hill, in 2012, and allowed shoppers to scan QR codes to find out more about pieces, as well as take home fabric samples and view miniature furniture models. Much as it continues to do today, Made used the space to work out what people actually wanted from a showroom, and adjust their response accordingly. And while many high street stores are suffering, Made’s forays into bricks and mortar prove that it’s an environment that can work in tandem with its e-commerce – with Jacskon saying around 30% of people that visit go on to buy a product, and that sales are noticeably higher in areas with Made showrooms.