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John Lewis invests in in-store data collection

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John Lewis has outlined plans to close the “black hole” of customer data in its stores.

As more retailers make the move online, customer data is becoming far more accessible but the department store retailer has identified unclear data that exists in its brick and mortar stores.

“Shops to some extent are a bit of a black hole, and by putting in technology such as this you can really start to join the dots to understand where the customer comes in and what they are doing,” said Mark Felix, Director of Online Trading at John Lewis.

A number of retailers have begun implementing new technology into stores, such as virtual displays and brand apps that offer an increasingly interactive in-store experience. Last year House of Fraser introduced “shoppable windows” instructing customers on how to download and use the retailer’s app in store.

“We need to help guide customers and tell them to use technology to have a better omni-channel experience and you do that by offering free wifi in all stores then you need to give them signposting and messaging to tell them what to do next,” he continued.

For John Lewis, these signposts include QR codes that customers can scan, taking them to a virtual catalogue of the collection for an item they may be viewing in the store. Certain outlets have also added signs with QR codes, with signs giving instructions such as “Scan here and read one of the 55 star reviews of the product” if a customer is having trouble deciding.

Data about customer preferences can be used to gauge item popularity, the quality of in store experience for customers and even responsiveness to advertisements.

“From an online perspective 2015 was really about mobile… and the John Lewis app was key in that. It’s not only about giving customers the tools to help them have the omni-channel journey but it’s also about helping point them and guide them to the next best action.”

Published on Friday 12 February by Philip Gallagher

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