Made.com’s Micro Social Network
Shrewdly paying homage to the huge influence of visual social networks Pinterest and Instagram, British designer furniture e-tailer Made.com has launched its own social network – Made Unboxed – as a way of showcasing its products in context.
Made Unboxed is a pinboard-like sharing network that encourages existing customers to show off their creative interiors, allowing would-be customers to connect with them for advice and reviews.
Users are able to search by product to see what's popular, or by postcode, enabling them to see pieces in homes in specific neighbourhoods. Socialising the concept further, users can then message one another, and even arrange home tours to see the furniture for themselves.
At present, much of the content on the site comes from 100 'brand advocates' who have had their homes professionally photographed, but scores of other users have also joined from across the UK and Ireland.
The concept leverages the perceived authenticity of community-driven content to build trust and drive sales – a strategy that many brands are pursuing through existing social networks. See upcoming report Instagram for Retail Brands, and Social Commerce for the Luxury Sector.
Made Unboxed is a bold attempt to create an in-house network that is more shoppable than Instagram and Pinterest. Other luxury retailers have already made steps in that direction, such as Net-A-Porter, which launched a social shopping app in 2013 (see our blog post for full details). But it remains to be seen whether these single-brand efforts will appeal as much as the mixture of branded and social content available on conventional networks.