John Lewis names the six entrepreneurs for its latest JLAB innovation programme

John Lewis department stores

John Lewis has named the latest raft of entrepreneurs to make it through to its JLAB retail innovation programme, including a new app to allow customers to book a beauty appointment at home or in the office and a new service allowing customers to virtually try on clothing.

More than 160 new start-ups and more established businesses entered the latest “experiential retail challenge” with the chance of being selected to develop their ideas with John Lewis & Partners. Eleven businesses were then invited to pitch to a panel of ten judges at John Lewis & Partners in Southampton, as well as to a group of customers and John Lewis employees (Partners).

The chosen six are:

  • SeloyLive who transform shop windows into huge interactive displays which customers can engage with and control from their fingertips.
  • Oriient who are ensuring customers can navigate directly to the products they desire in our shops and unlock further exploration of the store experience through their smartphone.
  • Ruuby which allows customers to book the very latest beauty treatments at home, or any other location they choose – office, shop and even a hotel.
  • MemoMi who enable customers to virtually try on a huge array of fashion and beauty products, providing an innovative way for customers to navigate choice and access truly personalised recommendations based on their detailed image profile and preferences.
  • MakersCAFE who are dialling up personalisation through 3D printing and laser cutting on customers most loved products and gift purchases.
  • LettUs Grow who are embracing the use of retail space in their pursuit of a more sustainable approach to farming, and as a route to reinvigorating communities, through the shared joy of growing. Their technology, through the growing of plants without soil anywhere in the world, is set to reimagine the world of farming and community gardening.

Peter Cross, Customer Experience Director at John Lewis & Partners, said: “Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail. Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop.

Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers – offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences. We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLAB will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

John Lewis said it decided to focus its attentions on experiential retail as this is an area it has been majoring on its stores with services such as personal styling and live events.

The department store is one of a number of retailers to have started an innovation programme with start-ups in a bid to tap into their visions for transforming retail. Marks & Spencer runs a similar scheme with Founders Factory while Farfetch has launched an accelerator called the Dream Assembly.