The Best Connected category (sponsored by SAP) in the Transforming Retail Awards always throws up a challenge to the judges as it can mean so many different things in a business but this year the judges felt that online furniture retailer Made.com’s newly refurbished showroom in Soho really led the pack. Here’s why…

As a digital first business, Made.com’s customer journey starts and ends online, however even at a time when most shopping is taking place online, the human touch is not to be forgotten. Made.com evaluated its customer journey and the retail landscape, and developed an inter-connected approach designed to meet the needs of both digital natives and technophobes alike.

Paul Elliot and Emily Woodfield of SAP present Aimee Wells and Jamie Bennett of Made.com with Best Connected Experience of the Year

Made.com’s eight physical showrooms are designed to enhance the online Made.com experience. They are not shops – they are constantly evolving design hubs where visitors can come and see the products in a physical space, and speak to experts to answer their design questions.

At the end of 2018, Made.com opened the doors to its Soho Showroom, which had tripled in size and become the first of an international roll-out of new brand spaces. It features a constantly updated selection of over 500 products from the in-house Made.com studio design team.

So visitors to the Soho showroom can test out bestsellers in real life, then shop via the app on their smartphones, or the large format touch-screens in the showroom, or with a team member to complete their purchase.

In addition, supersized touchscreens come with exclusive features such as ‘Shop Instagram’ – a shoppable feed of posts tagged with #madedesign – and a ‘Find My Style’ function offering intuitive design advice based on style and colour choices.

The Soho showroom now sees traffic of over 10,000 visitors per month, and over the months of March-April saw an uplift to 20,000 per month. Made.com’s latest financial results also show a significant revenue growth especially in the UK.

A visit to the showroom provides a valuable human connection with the brand. The idea is absolutely not to replicate customers’ digital journey in a physical space but to provide an experience. This central London design hub puts human interaction at the heart of the physical experience with technology to support it.