John Lewis pilots virtual personal shopping service

John Lewis
Re-opening preparation at John Lewis Kingston

John Lewis has launched a free virtual personal shopping service to help customers find what they are looking for and receive the product advice they would get in a department store without leaving their home.

When booking, customers will be asked a few questions about what they are shopping for so the personal shopper can prepare.

During the appointment, which will be held via a 30 minute video call on Zoom, customers will be shown around the areas of the shop which they want to visit. The personal shopper will show the customer products they think suit what they are looking for and answer questions about them.

The personal shopper will also be able to make recommendations on a wide range of products from gifts, bedding, cookware, toys and clothing, with their expert colleagues joining to advise on more complex products such as tablets and phones.

The free service is available to customers across the UK, initially being tested by personal shoppers based in two stores – Peter Jones in London and Southampton.

This pilot follows the successful launch during lockdown of three other John Lewis virtual services – home interiors, personal styling advice, and advice for expectant parents.

John Lewis reports that over 3,500 appointments have been booked since mid-April, as  virtual masterclasses on skincare and makeup has proved very popular.

Steven Hand, Head of Customer Experience said; “What our partners offer in our shops is impartial expertise and advice from our Partners and this pilot means we can offer that again to customers all over the UK who cannot get to our shops. The lockdown has changed customer habits but customer service remains as important as ever.

How the service works:

  • Book a 30 minute appointment on johnlewis.com
  • During the booking process you will be asked a few questions about what you are shopping for so the personal shopper can prepare for your appointment
  • Your personal shopper will send you a reminder and appointment link ten minutes before your appointment
  • During the appointment you will be shown products the personal shopping Partner has picked for you, will be able to ask questions and have the opportunity to see other products in the shop
  • After the appointment you can either have the products you want to buy sent to your home or, if you’re local, you can collect them from the Customer Collection Point in the shop
  • You can either pay online, over the phone or in the shop
  • Standard delivery times 3-5 days

Last week, John Lewis announced it is to permanently close eight of its stores, putting 1,300 workers at risk.

The John Lewis Partnership said the decision was made to “secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs”.

It said department stores in Birmingham and Watford will be affected, along with four At Home stores in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, and travel sites in Heathrow Airport and St Pancras Station.