John Lewis is to launch its first ever technology incubator ‘JLAB’ later this year as it celebrates 150 years of trading.
JLAB, a partnership with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks, aims to identify and develop technology innovations to provide John Lewis with a future strategic advantage.
Activity to mark the retailer’s 150th anniversary kicks off in May with the incubation period running from June until September, with the retailer and Stuart Marks to work with five start-ups who will be based within JLAB during that time.
Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis, said: “We have been ahead of the game in omnichannel retailing and through our JLAB incubator we will nurture the next generation of technology start-ups while helping ensure we remain on the cutting-edge of retail change.”
The winning company will receive £100k of investment from John Lewis and Stuart Marks.
The firm wants technology that will help customers shop such as innovation around the “internet of things” and data to drive real-time and in-store personalisation.
“The innovation focus we are looking for needs to help provide our customers with the most coherent, cross-channel shopping experience possible,” commented Andrew Murphy, Retail Director at John Lewis. “We know customers really value being able to shop with John Lewis by phone, in shops and online and anything which enhances or simplifies that experience is of interest to us.”