John Lewis has invested £4m in a new digital customer service initiative that will be rolled out to 20 of its stores and which will see 8,000 store workers armed with an iPhone and an app to check product information and availability and place orders.
The dedicated “Partner App” was designed in-house and has been trialled at its Cambridge store. It was conceived to put an end to to customers waiting for “partners” to go to stock rooms to see whether a product is in stock, or check information at tills as they will be able to help on the spot.
During the busiest week of the trial at the Cambridge store, John Lewis claims that 50% of all online orders made in-store were assisted by store worker using the app.
“As online and physical worlds increasingly come together, this initiative, which forms the foundation of our digital strategy for shops, will support our partners in offering great customer service in a digital world,” said John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis.
Inglis added that feedback from customers during the trial was “overwhelmingly positive” and consistently speeded up customer response times. “[…] partners didn’t need to leave the customer to find answers, or complete a purchase. This is just the beginning. We will keep adding to the Partner App in the future with new, innovative ways to help our customers,” he said.
John Lewis has gained a global reputation for its omnichannel leadership. It started bringing technology into stores almost 10 years ago when it installed screens so that customers could look up product information and check online availability. Earlier this year it introduced a self check-in option at its collection desks in shops allowing customers to input their order number into an iPad while queuing, and the store worker serving them will have their order ready for them when they reach the front of the queue.
The department store group operates 48 John Lewis shops across the UK (34 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as its website at www.johnlewis.com.