MADE.COM trials innovative new visual product discovery engine from Hullabalook


MADE.COM is the first UK retailer to give its customers the option to experience a new type of visual search for homeware products – sofas, chairs and storage units – powered by technology from Hullabalook. The visual discovery engine will make it faster and more intuitive for customers to find what they want, and to ensure it is the right size and colour for their home.

Jonathan Howell, MADE.COM CTO, said: “Technology innovation is core to our thinking at MADE.COM and we’re always looking for ways to provide the best customer experience. As our range grows, we are particularly interested in making sure customers can find the right product for them as quickly and easily as possible.

“We worked closely with Hullabalook to create a simple and elegant solution for people who have a specific space in mind for their sofa and want to make sure they buy something that fits. The Sofasizer is unique to MADE.COM and allows customer to get instant feedback on the items that most closely fit their space and match their colour scheme.”

Described as a cross between Shazam and Pinterest; Hullabalook revolutionises the search process by reading product descriptions, and analysing product images on behalf of shoppers and transforming them into a visual product discovery experience. According to Marketing Sherpa, over 75% of all shoppers will only spend two minutes on a website before closing it if they can’t find what they want. The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does words so implementing visual discovery technology such as that offered by Hullabalook is a great way to convert browsers to buyers.

Bryony Elliott, co-founder of Hullabalook, comments: “Hullabalook is thrilled to be working with MADE.COM to bring a new type of visual search to the retail market. Finding products on retailer websites is much harder than it needs to be. Hullabalook aims to make any product findable in seconds by understanding what is really important to shoppers when they are making purchases.”

The Hullabalook visual search experience is delivered via the application of sophisticated natural language processing to analyse product data combined with behavioural analytics from thousands of other shoppers who use the site to find the most suitable product for each set of requirements. This reduces the time taken to choose a sofa to just a few seconds. Hullabalook doesn’t require retailers to go through the painstaking work of standardising all their data. The approach to data visualisation and high volume analytics which power Hullabalook draw on the years of experience the founders gained working with some of the world’s largest companies to detect Fraud and Cyber security threats as consultants with Experian and Detica.

In June 2016, Hullabalook was selected to join TrueStart Europe’s only accelerator programme which brings together the most innovative and disruptive startups in the retail and consumer sectors.

Baz Saidieh, CEO of TrueStart, said: “Hullabalook was born out of a desire to address the consumer pain point of finding and buying products that fit with the specific size and style of our homes. The team has combined state-of-the-art visual tools with artificial intelligence to give retailers a customer centric tool that will not only improve the customer’s buying experience, but increase online sales conversions. At TrueStart, we’re seeing the way buying behaviour is beginning to dictate the way consumers search to purchase. We invested in Hullabalook as we believe that visual search will disrupt and dominate retail strategies in the coming years.”