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Four ways that John Lewis customers shop

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John Lewis has identified four key shopping missions that governed how customers bought over the last year.

The retailer’s How we shop, live and look 2016 report found that customers are no longer loyal to one particular approach to shopping. Instead, they move between shops, mobile and desktop to achieve their mission.

“Today purchase behaviour is more closely linked to customers’ goals than ever before,” said the report from John Lewis, an Elite retailer in IRUK Top500 research. “Their individual needs are at the centre of the journey, whether they are shopping with a phone, on a laptop or visiting a shop. Through mixing and matching channels they can cater for any possible scenario, from seeking inspiration to making an emergency purchase.”

All of these missions are characterised by a move between online and the store: around two-thirds of shoppers use both digital and the store in the course of a single purchase.

Urgent need

These customers, says John Lewis, are on an urgent mission to get hold of their desired products quickly and conveniently. They buy using smartphones and are likely to use commuter stores such as the John Lewis shop at St Pancras. There the retailer’s top-selling items include phone chargers, tights, headphones and ties.


When shopping is about the experience, customers are more likely to shop with family or friends and to take in experiences such as tastings, spa visits and trying out new products. Social media is used on these middions to find inspiration and ideas.

Looking for advice

When customer reviews and social media do not meet customers’ need for advice they visit the store for personal advice, asking staff for their help in making the right choice.

Buying on a whim

More than a third of customers in a John Lewis shop are just browsing and are likely to buy as they spot items they need.

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