More than 150 people queued for the launch of John Lewis’ new omnichannel store in Exeter.
The store is the first of a new flexible format that brings digital into a department store. It will be used to trial interactive technologies and test new concepts.
From the first day of the store, such features include interactive information screens that ask customers questions in order to help them find the right products. Digital store guides help customers to find their way around the new store, while larger wall-mounted screens provide information on products from the wider John Lewis range.
Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis
, said: “Today marks an important milestone in our growth strategy and we are thrilled to be expanding our offer to customers in the South West. This is the first of our full line flexible format department stores, a concept which means we can now consider opening shops in areas that were not always thought feasible for a traditional John Lewis department store building. We hope customers will be as delighted with the shopping experience that this new shop offers as we are.”
The new store, which stocks fashion, beauty, consumer electronics, home and nursery equipment, will create around 300 local jobs, in total. John Lewis says this is its omnichannel store, with a full assortment complemented by a comprehensive online operation. It sits between a traditional department store and one of its smaller digital-focused ‘at home’ stores, where digital is used to bring the wider range into store.
Tim Harrison, head of format development, John Lewis said: “We understand that customers now shop in many different ways. We have chosen our Exeter shop to test a range of new concepts and trial a selection of interactive technologies for the very first time. Over the coming months we will be looking at customer feedback and exploring how these initiatives can be enhanced and added to, not only for our shoppers in Exeter, but across the country in other John Lewis shops.”
Further stores following the same format are scheduled to open in York in 2013 and Chelmsford in 2014. The department store group has also identified at least eight other locations in the UK that could support such shops.