John Lewis launches virtual queuing system trial

John Lewis Oxford Street
John Lewis Oxford Street

John Lewis has launched a new virtual queuing system which will “let you wait for your turn in line from the comfort of your car”.

The new virtual queuing system will allow shoppers to scan a QR code with their smart phones then track their position in a virtual queue via SMS in real time.

Shoppers can then wait in their vehicle or browse another shop until they receive a notification informing them their slot is now available.

The new system, which is being trialled for four weeks at three John Lewis stores and six Waitrose stores, enables shoppers to also book a time slot to return if they cannot enter the store immediately.

It is hoped the scheme will encourage customers, including those who are nervous or vulnerable, to feel safer and return to in-store retail.

Waitrose Customer Experience Director, Peter Cross, said: “As a nation, we’re famous for our love of queuing but as the uncertainty around the pandemic continues and the long hot days of summer become a distant memory, we know a long wait outside in the rain to enter your favourite shop isn’t an appealing notion for anyone.

“Which is why we are thrilled to work with Qudini on this brand new trial, which will let you wait for your turn in line from the comfort of your car, ensuring that everyone can continue to shop safely and seamlessly. It’s a great opportunity for us to test the viability of this type of queueing for the future.

John Lewis’s businesses has been radically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced it to close its 50 stores during lockdown, nine of which are to remain permanently closed.

Its online sales are expected to represent around 60% of its sales, versus 40% pre-pandemic. The business has also said it is investigating other business models, including rental, which it has started to explore in furniture.

It has also been reported that John Lewis is preparing to drop its “Never Knowingly Undersold” pledge after first introducing the price-matching pledge in 1925.