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John Lewis experiments with new ways for customers to use its shops

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John Lewis is to explore the future role of the shop in its customers’ lives by testing new in-store  ‘experience playgrounds’.

The retailer says its relaunched Southampton store, which reopens tomorrow, will offer a new customer-centric approach to retailing where shoppers can experiment with products from make-up to gadgets in dedicated stay and play areas. They can take part in cookery classes at the first Waitrose Cookery School to be located inside a John Lewis & Partners shop, and they can take part beauty and fashion gift experiences including a personal styling package. 

The store features a new farm shop and roof garden from the John Lewis Partnership’s Leckford Estate and customers can also take in specialist talks on gardening, or have a home consultation for their garden redesign. 

Pop-up workshops will teach customers new skills from barista level coffee-making to photography and wreath making. Over Christmas, shoppers will be able to learn to tackle seasonal recipes from gingerbread to yule logs at the Waitrose & Partners Cookery School, find out how to style a Christmas tree, or find the perfect party outfit. 

Interior designers, chefs, wine experts, gardens, gadget specialists and personal stylists will all help the retailer deliver a combination of services and experiences that feature on every floor of the new-look store. If the experiment is successful, it could be replicated in John Lewis stores across the country.

“Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in as many areas of their lives as we possibly can – in a way that is uplifting and inspiring,” said Peter Cross, customer experience director at John Lewis & Partners. “Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in as many areas of their lives as we possibly can  in a way that is uplifting and inspiring.

“We know that shopping for a new gadget or beauty product ca be a daunting experience, with so much choice on offer. We want to help navigate customers through that. Our new concept store is an example of how we’re reinventing the department store fo the future to make us stand out from the competition.”

Setting the context

The new launch comes at a time when retailers are working to find new ways to sell to shoppers who are choosing to do more of their shopping online. Department stores in particular are seeing their business go online quickly and are responding by giving shoppers more reasons to come in store. 

John Lewis is an Elite retailer in IRUK Top500 research. It sells online and through 50 John Lewis shops around the UK, including 37 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home stores, and branches in London St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2. 

Image courtesy of John Lewis

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