18 months later… our team spent a week together IRL. Here’s what we learned.

The whole team have just returned from Hullafest 2021 – a week-long celebration of our team, dedicated to recognising our achievements and cultivating a company culture we’re proud of.

From the moment Hullabalook was founded, Hullafest was introduced as an integral part of the company. The idea was simple – we would take 1 (sometimes 2) weeks out of every year to reflect on our achievements, focus on building relationships within the team and give Hullabytes space to be creative, learn from one another and have fun.

Each year Hullafest adapts to suit the needs of Hullaybtes. Our first Hullafest was all about giving people the space to learn something new and explore the boundaries of technology. In 2021, after almost 2 years apart from one another, we decided to use Hullafest as an opportunity to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company once again.

Hullafest takes ‘team bonding’ to new heights. We spent the last week exploring London during an interactive treasure hunt game, Kayaking through the canals of East London, trying our hand at pottery and sampling Kent’s best wines.

By having such a variety of activities, we hoped that everyone would experience something they enjoy, but also step out of their comfort zones.

It takes a lot of time and planning to make Hullafest a success. August was one of the busiest months in Hullabalook history; we went live with 3 new experiences, we’re currently in the midst of our biggest recruitment drive and we’re beginning projects with some huge retailers… Essentially, we couldn’t have picked a worse time to take a week out of the office. But we felt it was incredibly important that we did. Here are some things we learned and relearned about ourselves, and some top tips for running Hullafest style events. 

What we’ve learned about ourselves

1. Our team’s individual skill sets are applicable in all situations

Even completely out of their usual habitat and elements our team’s skills shone through. When we had a minor delay to starting one of our planned activities our Customer Success team herded everyone into the nearest coffee shop and made sure that they were occupied with drinks and snacks. When a couple of the team took an unfortunate plunge off a Kayak our Engineering team were fashioning rope ladders and pulley systems to get them out of the water and back onto dry land. When everyone’s energy was dipping our Sales & Comms team were hyping everyone up, creating competitions and keeping everyone powering towards the finish line.

2. Despite a year and a half out of an office environment – our team is still a team

We enjoy each other’s company. We work together naturally and in all situations. We support each other. We’re proud of the culture and the company that we are building.

Top tips for running a successful away day(s)

The most successful away- days support what the company needs at that moment. When we were all in an office together our people needed time apart to work on individual passion/learning projects to re-energise them and spark their creativity. When we are existing virtually, our team needs time together working as groups creating shared experiences and personal connections that are difficult to achieve via Zoom alone.

“Planned Fun” is still work, and your team needs to approach it with the same mindset and dedication that they would any other work task. No opting out or deciding only to attend some parts, no sideling off to take work calls. All in, and all in together.

1. To build culture, you need to put people first

No matter how busy the company is, how many projects we have kicking off, or how demanding our deadlines are, we will always prioritise our team. By making Hullafest an ingrained part of our company culture, we have made the decision that every year, no matter what, we will take time to cultivate relationships within the team. We make sure that all Hullabytes know that Hullafest requires their full participation – you can’t pick and choose the times you attend. You’re either in or out! 

2. To nurture relationships, you need to switch off

Too often companies arrange ‘team bonding’ days that still require employees to work in between activities. We disagree with this approach. For Hullafest to be successful, we think it’s essential that everyone is given the freedom to switch off and focus on being with their colleagues. This makes the final memories shared much more powerful, and increases camaraderie between everyone.

3. It’s important to create a schedule everyone can enjoy

Our team is full of curious Hullabytes with lots of different interests. It’s impossible for everyone to enjoy every activity, so we worked hard to organise a week of varied activities that each person would enjoy. Each activity required a different set of skills – some needed a critical mind, some required creative flair and others, good coordination. Mixing up our activities meant that most people had the chance to try something new for the very first time, which we always like to encourage.

Reflecting on Hullafest, everyone within the company agreed that they feel more connected with their colleagues. They have strengthened relationships with colleagues in different teams. They have learned something new. They’ve enjoyed themselves and feel ready to accomplish more amazing things together as a team. All in all, a pretty successful Hullafest! 

Hullabalook’s technology drives 76% increase in Revenue per User for Dutch furniture retailer, fonQ 

London, 28 July 2021 – Hullabalook’s Stickers technology has driven amazing success for fonQ – the first Dutch Home & Living retailer to offer an interactive digital design tool.

Hullabalook’s technology converts retailers’ products into 2D ‘stickers’, which shoppers can select and move around a blank canvas. Users can explore the full product catalogue, design their space and then checkout with all of their favourite products in one click.

In February 2021 fonQ started testing Hullabalook’s Stickers technology and launched the ‘Styling Tool’. Today, they announced a 76% increase in RpU and their plans to expand the styling tool further.

Hullabalook, who are already working with brands such as MADE.com, Currys and Sofology, have proven that their technology is driving success across all of fonQ’s key financial metrics. 

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“The threshold for online furniture shopping has become lower because any consumer can use the Styling Tool” says Jeroen van Leenen, CX manager at fonQ. The data supports these lowered thresholds. Users who use Hullabalook’s technology convert 22% better than non users, are on the website 97% longer and AOV is increased by 44%

Speaking of their success, Hullabalook Founder, Bryony Elliot commented:

“It’s amazing to see our technology making such a positive impact for our clients. Our mission is to build game-changing technology that every shopper can use and enjoy. These financial results speak for themselves; we are seeing strong performance consistently across all geographies and product categories and look forward to rolling out this solution even more widely in the UK”

6 reasons why retailers love our Stickers technology

We launched our Stickers technology and Room Builder product suite just over a year ago – and over this year we’ve seen massive appetite in the market for this product. With customers like Currys, Furniture Village, Urban Barn, GAIA, Cox & Cox, CharlesTed all adopting it. What makes Stickers so special? Why is it working so well for retailers? In this article we give 6 reasons, but there are plenty more – we’re just scratching the surface.

1. It’s a great merchandising tool

A lot of our clients love Stickers for it’s merchandising power. If you’re looking to inspire shoppers with a specific selection of products, you can use our technology to create pre-designed rooms in your own personalised gallery. This gallery page is completely customisable, so you can swap and change rooms whenever you like. 

This isn’t just a great way to market your best-selling products, it also gives shoppers who struggle with a blank canvas an initial idea to run with. 

2. It encourages cross-category shopping

How do you inspire shoppers with multiple products across your catalogue? This has always been a conundrum for ecommerce. Luckily, Stickers can help. By turning your entire product catalogue into interactive ‘stickers’, shoppers can browse through products as if flicking through a sticker book. By trying different combinations, they’re able to visualise multiple products together and add them all to their basket in one click – an easy way to increase AOVs! 

3. It’s a cost effective way of creating semi-realistic room settings

The better shoppers can visualise your products, the more likely they are to purchase them. Stickers gives them the ability to design their own space in real-time. For example, we all know buying paint online is a pain because we have to imagine what colours work well together, and how they will look on our walls at home. By using Stickers, shoppers can select different swatches and see our semi-realistic walls changing colour accordingly as they play around with the experience. 

Offering this sense of realism can really help shoppers make better purchasing decisions – and doesn’t require investment in more immersive VR technologies (which aren’t always accessible to the vast majority of shoppers) or expensive 3D product models.

4. It can be used on any device, anywhere

Which leads us perfectly on to this point…we strongly believe that technology should enhance everyday lives. Great technology should be so intuitive that anyone, on any device, in any location can use it. We believe (and hope you agree!) that Stickers belongs in this technology bracket. It’s easily understood by shoppers, it doesn’t require them to have a high spec device – it’s a fun, interactive experience which can be used by all ages, while watching TV, or sitting on a bus. 

5. It can help reduce returns

Shoppers usually return products they bought online because they look different in real life to how they imagined. How many times have you ordered something online, only to realise it’s twice as big or small than you expected? Our technology automatically scales products to their true size, so your shoppers can see how a wardrobe will look alongside a lamp, or how big a piece of artwork is compared to a house plant. 

6. It makes you money!

You invest in technologies to drive sales, and that’s exactly what Stickers can do for you. We’ve proven that shoppers who use Stickers are more likely to add more products to their basket, therefore increasing AOV’s. Customers using Stickers have reported significant visible increases in CVR and RpU since launch, as well as an increase of time spent on their site. By providing an interactive, easy to use experience, you give shoppers the power to unleash their inner creative and find products they’ll want to keep – all while hitting trading targets! 

5 reasons why shoppers love our Sizer technology

As with all of our technologies, we built Sizer to help solve some of the frustrations we had with searching and purchasing large items (like furniture) online.

After showing Made.com our first prototype of Sofasizer in 2016, they immediately began an AB test to determine its success with their customers. That test period showed that our technology significantly increased conversation rates, AOV’s and engagement, and so Sizer was born!

Since then, we’ve worked with some of the biggest names in homewares from across the globe, in five different continents. Although each retailer has their own unique reasons for using Sizer, they all share the same desired outcomes when it comes to improving customer experiences.

So if you’re wondering how our Sizer technology may impact your shoppers, then you’re in the right place.

Here are 5 reasons why shoppers (and retailers!) love to use Sizer.

1. They can specify exactly what they want

When we’re purchasing larger items like sofas we already have an idea of what we’re looking for. We’ve envisioned it in a space at home, so it needs to have certain specifications like a size and colour. Traditionally, shoppers would need to spend time clicking a load of filters to get where they want to be. Our Sizer technology eliminates this wasted time, because it allows them to search for products by the exact size they’re after, and play around with colour variations. Our tech analyses all of the tags attributed to  different products, so when it comes to playing around with colour, our Sizer lets shoppers differentiate between different hues. For example if they click on green, they can then explore all of the sofas that have been tagged with green tones, like turquoise or emerald. Shoppers can try as many different combinations as they want, they’ll always be met with instant recommendations.

2. They get quick, instant results

Shopping journeys should mimic the experiences we have on social media. They should be instant, playful and intuitive. Sizer does exactly this – use the tool to refine your search and relevant products are shown instantly, without any need to reload the page or click on endless filters. 

3. They get to the right product really quickly

Discovery is really important for retailers. Almost all of our clients tell us their biggest problem is finding ways to get more of their products in front of shoppers eyes. Rather than relying on shoppers to take initiative and find the products they’re looking for, our Sizer technology enables the discovery of multiple products simultaneously. We will always show you the most relevant products at the top of the page, but the second line of products could be the same shape and size, with a slightly different colour, spec or brand. By keeping the product page relevant, but encouraging this element of discovery, you can shop and be inspired at the same time. 

4. They can see a full product catalogue on one page

Retailers often have 10s if not 100s of thousands of certain types of products. For example if a retailer has 100 sofas, that are available in 50 fabrics with 4 leg options, that’s 20,000 sofas! Most e-commerce platforms are not designed to let you load 20,000 products onto a page without the page crashing (or taking FOREVER to load). This leads to shoppers either having to dip in and out of subcategory pages (2 seater sofas, 3 seater sofas, love seats, armchairs etc…) or constantly having to navigate to the next page just to see the available products. Sizer allows retailers to have hundreds of thousands of products and variants on a single page.

5. It’s an experience like no other

 We always say the best shopper experiences are those which are playful, but also feel so intuitive that it feels as though it always existed. This is how we design all of our technologies, and Sizer is no exception. Every shopper wants to have an enjoyable experience when they shop with you. They want it to feel seamless, quick and fun. We think Sizer encapsulates all of these things. But don’t just take our word for it, try it yourselves! 

Missing the high-street? Here’s 4 ways to make shopping online better

Shopping in-store, so 2019! Ah what we’d give to step into a store, see and touch products, think about buying that thing we definitely don’t need but want nonetheless. Online shopping is great, it’s convenient, you get to skip the queues, you have endless options, but no matter how hard we try there are still some big things we miss about shopping in-store. 

The first obvious one is seeing products in real life. Understanding how a product will look in context, like in a roomset or on a mannequin is powerful because it gives us real inspiration. It’s very hard to know how a sofa or any home accessory will look in our homes while shopping online because we’re not given any context – we’re required to use our imaginations a little too much. 

Secondly, shopping in-store helps us understand how big (or small) products really are – how many times have you bought something online only to realise it’s half the size you expected when it arrived? Most e-commerce sites display their catalogue in the same format Amazon invented decades ago. Rectangle boxes fit for books, not furniture. 

Thirdly, there’s impulse buying. We all miss finding those hidden gems in-store, there’s nothing quite like it. Although retailers try to entice us to add other ‘similar products’ to our basket at the checkout, it’s not quite the same. 

Lastly, we can’t forget the brand experience. Your favourite store’s ambience didn’t happen by accident, brands spend huge budgets curating the perfect experience for their shoppers, from store layout to music to the shop window; everything has a purpose. The joy of shopping and discovery is one of the hardest things to replicate online. 

Online shopping definitely has its low points, but rather than dwell on the things that we miss, we’ve been thinking about how you can use technology to make your e-commerce experience better.

1. Contextualise

If you really want to inspire your shoppers, you need to give them context. If they’re able to understand how a product will work in their homes, they’re more likely to purchase it. Our Shop the Look technology helps achieve this by providing shoppers with a gallery of aesthetic-led room designs to choose from. The gallery can be completely customised and updated regularly. After choosing their favourite design, shoppers can click on any part of the image to reveal products from your catalogue that are similar. Here it is live with GAIA Design.

2. Scale your products

There’s nothing more annoying than misunderstanding the size of a product. When we first started Hullabalook, this was one of the main problems we wanted to solve. Instead of assuming your shoppers can guess the size of a specific chair or table from your catalogue, give them more confidence by scaling them accurately.

Our Stickers technology is a great solution for this. Not only does it increase product discovery by visualising how things look together, it also scales everything. So now your customers will know exactly how big that side table compared to that sofa. Check out how Cox & Cox are using it. Scrolling and sticking products to a canvas is a much funner way of exploring a catalogue, which is why clients using Stickers see an increase in engagement rates and cross-category purchases.

3. Reinvent impulse buying

Since shoppers can’t impulse purchase at your tills, give them a way to do it online. Our Mix and Match technology prompts shoppers to add more products to their basket by giving them the option to play around with new combinations at the checkout. Once your shopper has added a sofa to their basket, they will see a popup with the option to try out some cushion combinations and can then  add their favourites straight to their basket. 

4. Revive the brand experience

Every retailer is unique. It’s one of the reasons we love working in this industry, the feeling you get when you walk into Selfridges is completely different from any other store. We would love to see this sense of individualism replicated on all retailers’ websites, because they all have something different to offer. 

But the joy of shopping hasn’t been lost, just misplaced. To bring it back, you have to give your shoppers a digital experience they remember. 

Our Sticker technology, which is live with COAT Paints, lets shoppers play around with different paint colours for their wall, and swap and change furniture for the space. By implementing this element of playfulness, we’re able to replicate the experience of shoppers trying out different swatches but in a completely digital way. Becoming your own interior designer has never been easier. 

So you see, there’s no need to give up hope. We can still find the joy and fun of shopping online, you just need an open mind, a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, trust in technology and of course, a great partner to help you along the way. Coincidentally we can help you with all of the above.

What do YOU miss about shopping in-store? Let us know, our technology may be able to help.