Mydeco.com is an interior design website which aggregates products from 500 retail partners, including Marks &Spencer, John Lewis, and Argos.
Mydeco is not directly selling any of the furniture etc it showcases, but will instead work as an intermediary, taking a cut from every sale the site generates for its retail partners. The site will also sell ad space.
Founders & Funding
The site was founded by Brent Hoberman, while another co-founder of Lastminute.com, Martha Lane Fox, has joined the project as a part-time director.
Funding has come from Spark Ventures, who are the lead backers, as well as Lord Rothschild and Arts Alliance. The company has raised around £5m.
And Brent Hoberman is no less ambitious than he was a decade ago:
"In the UK 2.5% of all furniture is bought online compared with 10% in the US. We think we're in a £20bn market in the UK, for furniture, appliances and contractors.
"A 10% share of that is £2bn and we would be expecting just under a quarter of that to be going through the mydeco website in two to three years' time."
Site navigationUsers can navigate through the site by using a top navigation bar, the search box, or by choosing from three categories on the homepage.
Mydeco allows the user to search through its range of room designs, where they can pick out items that catch their attention.
More useful to shoppers looking for a particular item is the 'QuickShop' option, which allows them to search for individual items of furniture, rather than having to select from the virtual showrooms.
One slight criticism is that the categories of products aren't labelled clearly, which I initially found confusing.
Clicking on the picture of the bed below will take you to another page where you can search the entire range and filter by price, designer, colour, etc, but this isn't made clear enough.
- HomepageThe homepage has a good, clean look, and promotes the key features of the site, as well as its community features, and recent articles on home decor. Overall it's a good-looking website. Kudos to Design (UK), the agency that built it.
If you are searching through the ready made room designs, the site has some useful tools, such as the one below, which enables users to find a look that suits their budget:
Users can pick out items they like from the ready made showrooms, which are displayed as a list beside the main photograph.
Individual; product photos will depend on the partner site to a certain extent, though most items can be viewed in both enlarged and 3D views, which is essential for expensive furniture items.
The 3D Flash room planning tool then enables the site's users to try out different combinations and see how the furniture looks. The rooms can be viewed from a range of angles, and users can mix and match from over 20,000 items of furniture in 3D.
Customers can also upload photographs of their own rooms and use the application to see how they will look with new furniture and decor.
Community featuresIn addition to the shopping and showroom features, mydeco has also set up a community around its home decorating features.
Users can create a profile and upload their own room designs, view other peoples' rooms, swap ideas, and eventually publish their designs to sites like Facebook.
The team behind mydeco have devised an excellent site which has found a visually appealing way to aggregate a wide range of products from its retail partners.
Some, less tech-savvy, users may find the room planning tool hard to master at first, but mydeco will appeal to many who would rather not spend their Sundays in B&Q or Habitat.
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