John Lewis has a comprehensive cross-channel proposition, enabling customers to complete key journeys across a variety of channels. JL stands out as one of the UK’s leading multichannel retailers; a position further cemented with the latest store opening in Exeter which has several new cross-channel and interactive features (and would have scored 22/25 in our review).
Transactional capability in all channels is strong; customers are encouraged to shop across all channels with highly visible signage across the store in all departments. In-store ordering is available through self-service terminals situated throughout the store. Customers order directly on the terminals, as they would in any normal online transaction. Payment details are entered manually using the keyboard, which is slow when compared with M&S’s in-store terminals that incorporate a card reader. The built-in card reader expedites the payment process and lessens any security concerns by automatically populating the payment fields.
In-store terminals are each merchandised to reflect the specific department and encourage customers to browse. Department specific category pages direct customers swiftly to the website sub-category pages. This approach caters well for specific product journeys, where customers search in a familiar environment, however it creates a less engaging browsing experience. Product pages show all the online product content and information as per the website including reviews and full product details; however product identification is manual as customers are required to search or navigate to products. Barcode scanners are available in store, but have no integration into terminals.
A key differentiator of the John Lewis proposition is the ease and convenience of the in store collection journey. 35% of the UK population lives within 30 minutes of a JL store, extending to 66% when including the Waitrose store network. The JL in-store collection journey is fulfilled at a conveniently situated desk often on the ground floor, near an entrance and supported by clear signage; unlike many other retailers who relegate the collection point to somewhat less prime space. On the other hand, the Waitrose collection journey can be inconsistent, failing to replicate the smooth JL store experience.
John Lewis’ ability to identify customers in-store is relatively limited; as such there are few personalised elements to the store experience. Relatively simple mechanics such as email collection at till are not currently employed. Free in-store WiFi captures key customer information, but fails to tailor any part of the experience. However, JL stands alone in allowing customer to login to “customer account” via store terminals. Customers are logged out after two minutes to appease security concerns.
The digital in-store experience is largely confined to the terminals; there is little encouragement to interact with the wider store environment. Whilst WiFi is provided…it is not used as an active way to provide store enhancing services such as product locator, barcode scanner for product information etc. The Exeter store has much more in the way of interactive features including virtual mirrors which incorporate merchandising and smart tables that facilitate product comparison.
Overall, the store experience is good, John Lewis will no doubt continue to evolve its multichannel proposition, particularly to reflect the evolving role of the mobile device as a means to enhance and personalize the store experience.
John Lewis scores 21/25 (Exeter store 22/25)
Javelin Group are Europe’s leading ecommerce & multichannel retail consultancy. Our multichannel proposition evaluation is based on our proprietary scorecard which assesses multichannel functionality & execution across 8 key customer centric areas.
Review based on Oxford Street store.
Louise Garvin, Consulting Manager Javelin Group
Louise Garvin is a Consulting Manager in Javelin Group’s Strategy practice. Louise has broad range of ecommerce & multichannel retail strategy experience working for a variety of clients including M&S, Halfords, de Bijenkorf, Dixons in recent years.