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John Lewis Partnership names six businesses that could help it reimagine the store

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John Lewis Partnership has named six businesses that could help it change the way that shoppers buy in-store in the future. The news comes at a time when, says the partnership, retailers now have no option but to inspire and delight their customers.

The retailer, which owns both the John Lewis chain of department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, has focused on in-store services and experiences in recent years as it looks for new ways to sell in the future. Innovations to date at John Lewis, an Elite retailer in IRUK Top500 research, have included an in-store concierge and experience desks, along with investment in personal styling, upgraded styling suites and dedicated fashion event spaces. It says demand is growing for personalised experiences and services such as the Beauty Studio and private shopping.

Customers, in-store staff and a ten-strong panel of judges helped to identify technologies that could play a part in the future as the retailer looks for new ways to sell. Eleven companies pitched to the partnership’s JLAB retail innovation programme and six were chosen to continue discussions and potentially work with the retailer in the future.

Among them were SeloyLive whose technology can transform shop windows into interactive displays that customers can control and engage with. Oriient enables shoppers to tap into indoor location awareness services in order to find their way around stores and malls using their smartphones. 

Digital beauty concierge Ruuby enables shoppers to book beauty treatments to be carried out in their homes, offices, shops or a hotel. 

MemoMi is aimed at customers of the luxury shopping market, enabling them to virtually try out fashion and beauty items from clothing and footwear to skin and hair care. 

MakersCAFE helps customers produce personalised products using techniques from 3D printing to laser cutting.

Finally, LettUs Grow uses technology to enable plant growing without soil, in what it says is a more sustainable approach to farming.

Peter Cross, customer experience director at John Lewis & Partners, said: “Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail. Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop. Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers – offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences. We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLAB will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

The JLAB programme started in 2014 as a series of ten-week projects. It has now expanded to a year-round programme that is open to both start-ups and more established businesses. Recent JLAB challenges have focused on health and well-being, and on reducing plastic waste.

Image courtesy of John Lewis

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