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Carly Wickham, Head of Marketing

One of the examples in our recent ‘Clicks-to-Bricks’ report (an exploration into how online retailers are making an impression on the high street) is This online homeware retailer has opened a number of physical showrooms, pop-ups and recently a MADE PRESENTS events collection in Shoreditch. In each case their ability to link the online and in-store customer journey is worthy of note. is a “convergence of online and offline”

CEO and founder Ning Li says the future for is a “convergence of online and offline”, experimenting with the showroom to improve the online retail experience.

The way in which have achieved a very deliberate symbiosis between physical retail and e-tail is exemplary. Each channel is designed to complement and add value to the other, a learning many retailers are still trying to get right.

We’ve explored three elements of this symbiosis below:

1. How do you showcase your huge online catalogue in a space with physical limitations? chief Ning Li said: “Everyone is trying to find a way to link both online and physical worlds. Online, there are no square footage constraints – space is endless – so coming up with ways to showcase our full catalogue [in a showroom] was a challenge. We’ve achieved this by incorporating digital elements but only in ways we feel add value and are not in any way gimmicky.”

One way in which this has been achieved is by using light projections to suggest a range of furniture that would complement the physical object on show in the retail space. Another way is by coordinated use of digital devices whilst in the showroom environment. physical digital retail

2. How do you embrace stop-start behaviour prevalent in omnichannel shoppers’ paths to purchase?

Firstly, by embracing the idea of showrooming. Their retail spaces are even called showrooms, designed to really give customers a hands-on feel for designs. The space has a museum like style, Ikea meets the Tate Modern, with polished concrete floors, information cards about the displays, bespoke light installations, and even a postcard wall for you to remember details of up to 600 different products. These postcards are tangible reminders of what you liked when you were browsing, they are an effective physical prompt for you to remember your desire to purchase after you have left the store.

As with many ‘clicks-to-bricks’ retailers, is innovative in its approach to digital integration within the retail space. On entering the store, you’re presented with a bank of Android tablets on a stand. It’s a call to action to pick one from the magnet rack. The information required before launching the program is an e-mail address. then have the ability to track the customer instore, and later online and therefore attribute the cost of sale correctly across their portfolio.

tablet in retail

3. How do you effectively learn from instore data capture?

Just take a quick look at the learnings that were happy to publish about the success of their CloudTags trial … has been trialling CloudTags and found that half of all consumers used a NFC enabled tablet in-store to engage with the omnichannel shopping experience. In addition, 21% of shoppers opted-in to have their in-store digital collection emailed to them, then 41% of those shoppers continued the brand experience by browsing products on the website. As a result of the in-store technology, also saw a 15% increase in its average order value. also used data to help them decide which window displays were more effective, reporting that when they connected their window displays to the wider marketing campaign it had an “incredibly positive” impact. According to’s commercial director Annabel Kilner, it drove a 10-15% increase in footfall into the showroom and greater use of the tablets inside to browse the rest of the collection. retail window display


Recognising the symbiosis of physical and online retailing and linking them so that the sales can be correctly attributed to each, will give retailers a greater understanding of how to cater to the needs of today’s demanding customer.