John Lewis investing in digital customer service

British department store John Lewis plans to invest 4 million pounds in a new digital customer service initiative that will be rolled out to 20 of its stores as it looks to strengthen its omnichannel customer experience.

The investment will see 8,000 store workers receiving an iPhone loaded with a dedicated ‘Partner App’ designed to enable them to check product information and availability and place orders.

The app, which was designed in-house, was developed as a way to put an end to customers waiting for shop floor staff to go to stock rooms to see whether a product is in stock, or check information at tills, as they will now be able to help on the spot via the iPhone 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.

The ‘Partner App’ has been trailed in its Cambridge store with customers for five months, where the customer feedback was “overwhelmingly positive” Inglis added, as the app speeded up response times to customer queries.

“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 added.

John Lewis looks to strength omnichannel customer experience with new in-store app

The app gives visibility of stock availability in all shops and at John Lewis's warehouse in Milton Keynes, where online orders are fulfilled, as well as product information, customer reviews, the ability to email customers product information and to place orders.

During the busiest week of the trial, half of all online purchases made in the shop assisted by a salesperson were made using the app.

Following a training programme this summer the mobile phones will be rolled out to the 8,000 shop floor staff in 20 John Lewis shops across the UK.

John Lewis has gained a reputation for its omnichannel approach to retail, it first started bringing its online business into its shops in 2008 when it installed screens so that customers could look up product information and check online availability. Earlier this year the retailer also introduced a self check-in option at its collection desks in shops, which allow customers to input their order number into an iPad while queuing, and the store worker serving them will greet them with their order, so speeding up the process.

The department store group operates 48 shops across the UK including 12 dedicated home stores and travel shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2 as well as online at

Image: courtesy of John Lewis


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