John Lewis achieved a double success at the recent Oracle Retail Week Awards, being named Multichannel Retailer of the Year in addition to scooping the Oracle Retailer of the Year award. Getting the multi-channel experience right for the customer is a significant challenge in modern retail. Winning both of these awards compounds the importance of multi-channel in delivering a consistent, exceptional and individual experience in retail today.
British consumers expect value, choice and uninterrupted availability, whenever and wherever they choose to shop. John Lewis has recognised this and has ensured that their offering fulfills the requirements of their customers, whether shopping in-store, online or via mobile. The John Lewis approach to delivering commerce anywhere is exemplary.
In-store, John Lewis has worked to revise their store format to cater for today’s consumer whilst remaining true to their brand values. British consumers see the store as a vital component of the retail experience. John Lewis has taken steps to make the store experience the differentiator, such as introducing kiosks and providing Wi-Fi for customers.
In terms of fulfillment and delivery, John Lewis offers a range of options, such as click and collect, as well as online and m-commerce with home delivery. The retailer has gone a step further, announcing last year that customers can take advantage of collections through a network of convenience stores, meeting a consumer demand for flexible delivery options. More recently John Lewis customers can now also benefit from a click and collect service where they can buy through John Lewis but collect in their local Waitrose store.
These initiatives also extend to returns, where items bought online or in-store can be returned for free through this network of locations. This offering fulfills the need for another requirement of the British consumer - a simple returns policy, which is seen as a key component of good service.
John Lewis has demonstrated an ability to adapt to changing customer requirements and has shown a strengthened focus to this recently by appointing its first Partnership Customer Insight Director. This focus on the consumer has allowed John Lewis to offer a seamless retail experience across all touch points, extending this into its partner Waitrose, allowing the company to develop their offering as their consumers’ requirements and demands evolve.
With an internet adoption rate of 81.4%*, British consumers have access to vast amounts of product information from multiple sources and consumers can compare retailers in seconds. As such, consumers expect high value, targeted assortments, competitive offers and uninterrupted availability from a retail brand, whenever and wherever they choose to shop. Retailers must therefore optimise their operations to fulfill on the complex supply chain flows to ensure that home delivery, customer pick up or any other option is available if the customer requires. The logistics behind the process matter little to the consumer, they just need to be right to support customer priorities.
John Lewis has shown that it is up to the challenge posed by the modern consumer and I congratulate them for being named both Multi-channel Retailer of the Year and Oracle Retailer of the Year 2013.
*The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All, The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, part of ITU and UNESCO, September 2012.