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John Lewis looks for new ways to improve the in-store experience through its latest JLAB programme

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Entrepreneurs developing the retail services and experiences of the future are invited to take part the latest round of John Lewis Partnership’s JLAB retail technology innovation programme.

Start-ups and established business have until midnight on November 25 to apply for the programme which, in its latest round, focuses on experiential retail. The programme reflects department store John Lewis’ strategy of providing inspirational and personalised in-store shopping experiences to its customers.

“As customer expectations of the shopping experience grow grow at the fastest pace in living memory, John Lewis & Partners is actively looking to engage with the brightest and most entrepreneurial minds in the nation, whether that be a new technology solution to make shopping more convenient, or an idea that will fundamentally transform how the nation shops,” said Peter Cross, partner and director of customer experience at John Lewis & Partners.

In recent years the department store has made customer service and services its point of differentiation in a competitive market. It has opened Experience Desks with concierge-style services in some stores, while also expanding its personal styling services, and offering store-based events and experiences from gin masterclasses to the opportunity of staying overnight in pop-up luxury apartments.

This is the third JLAB theme of the year. Previous challenges focused on health and wellbeing, and on reducing the impact of plastic waste. As a result, the CupClub business will soon be starting a trial in the partnership’s London head office, while nutritional information app Best in Bag has developed a prototype for JLP business Waitrose and research projects with kitchen management and meal planning business Kafoodle and personalised health plan business OME Health are now underway.

To apply for the experiential retail challenge, visit Applications will close at midnight on November 25. A pitch day will take place in February where presentations will be made to senior leaders from the John Lewis Partnership. 

John Lewis, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, operates 51 stores across the UK and sells online at

Image courtesy of John Lewis & Partners

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