The JLAB innovation programme from John Lewis Partnership has today launched a challenge to find leading start-ups and established businesses who are creating unique retail shopping experiences.
Successful entrants will have the opportunity to develop their ideas with full support of the department store. John Lewis partner and director of customer experience, Peter Cross, says: “As customer expectations of the shopping experience 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.”
John Lewis has been investing in services and has boosted its sales with the introduction of “Experience Desks”, which offer customers concierge style shopping by rethinking and expanding its personal styling service. The retailer has also experimented with a wide range of events and experiences in its shops which have sold out, from gin masterclasses to cinema screenings, and the opportunity to stay overnight in pop-up luxury apartments in shops.
JLAB provides access to expert advice from across the Partnership, as well as customer panels, a chance to launch trials and pilots, office space and possible financial investment. It is one of the largest innovation programmes in the UK.
This new experiential retail theme follows two other JLAB challenges that launched earlier this year, “health and wellbeing” and “reducing the impact of plastic waste”. More than 200 entries were received across both challenges.
Entries for the experiential retail challenge are to made via jlab.co.uk and applications will close at midnight on 25 November. The pitch day takes place in February, with businesses presenting to a panel of seven judges, made up of senior leaders from across the John Lewis Partnership.