If you ever doubted that there is a future for retailing on-line there’s a new kid on the block that might just convince you that retail clicks!

The thing that I have always enjoyed most about retailing is the involvement that exists in the “brandships” between stores and customers.  Retailers have, often inadvertently it must be said, always been avid brand builders and the fortunes of the most successful are set in a history of establishing and building relationships with customers that pre-dates the acronym CRM, which is now on everyone’s lips.

I have always felt that retail was the first sector to recognise the element of community in brand-building, but when you take the store or meeting-place out of the equation there’s always a danger that you could be throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Not if Made.com have anything to do with it!

This isn’t a first by any means, but I really like the way they have used the scope of on-line to involve their customers.  This is real brand-building (in other words community).  Its a limited range, but I see no reason why that shouldn’t expand, which can only be good.  Customers, get a real sense of involvement in design and there’s a pioneering spirit about the individuality of the range that provides the essential community ingredient that is further enhanced by the opportunity customers have to vote for designs.  The people at Made.com clearly don’t need me to tell them where the opportunities lie, they are screaming at us all over this concept.  I particularly like the potential for a clicks and mortar model that’s similar to one I have in a bottom drawer right now.

Of course e-tailing isn’t the panacea that a lot of its evangelists make it out to be.  I’ve raised issues of customer service overheads in other posts and I’ll be interested to see how this essential element is handled by Made as time goes on, but Made is an idea, and we can’t have too many of them in the new economy.  Ideas are what will set the world spinning again and these people may just have it made!

Michael Weaver
March 31, 2010

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