John Lewis shortlists 6 start-ups for in-store innovation scheme

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John Lewis Mamas & Papas
// John Lewis Partnership shortlists 6 firms for its JLab retail innovation programme
// They were selected for their focus on transforming the bricks-and-mortar retail experience
// Entrepreneurs will continue discussions with JLab for potential work in the future.

The John Lewis Partnership has shortlisted six entrepreneurial firms for its JLab innovation programme, which is focused on transforming the bricks-and-mortar retail experience.

Over 160 new start-ups and established businesses entered the experiential retail challenge with the chance of being selected to develop their ideas with the partnership’s eponymous department store chain.

Eleven businesses, selected for their focus on exploring the new role for shops everyday lives, were then invited to pitch to a panel of 10 judges at John Lewis in Southampton.

A group of customers and John Lewis employees also shaped the decisions made by the judges.

The ideas put forward ranged from a new way to navigate and explore larger shops using smartphones, to the latest beauty services in your home and even pioneering technology to create “urban allotments” within shops.

The six shortlisted firms have since been invited to continue discussions with JLab with the view to potentially work for the partnership in the future.

The six firms listed are:

  • SeloyLive, which transforms shop windows into interactive displays that customers can engage with and control from their fingertips.
  • Oriient, which ensures customers can navigate directly to the products they desire in shops and unlock further exploration of the store experience through smartphones.
  • Ruuby, which allows customers to book the latest beauty treatments at home, or any other location they choose – office, shop and even a hotel.
  • MemoMi, which enables customers to virtually try on an array of fashion and beauty products, providing an innovative way for customers to navigate choice and access personalised recommendations based on their detailed image profile and preferences.
  • MakersCAFE, which is dialling up personalisation through 3D printing and laser cutting on customers’ most-loved products and gift purchases.
  • LettUs Grow, which embraces the use of retail space for farming. Their technology, through the growing of plants without soil anywhere, reimagines the world of farming and community gardening.

“Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail,” John Lewis customer experience director Peter Cross said.

“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.”

The latest JLab programme on experiential retail challenge follows on from two pitch days held in June and September 2018, which focused on health and wellbeing as well as reducing plastic waste.

John Lewis Partnership dubs JLab as “one of the largest innovation programmes in the UK” and last year it was expanded to run as an all year-round programme.

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