John Lewis & Waitrose launch experiential concept store in Southampton

John Lewis & Waitrose launch experiential concept store in Southampton
John Lewis recently launched a new customer experience-focused concept - in conjunction with stablemate Waitrose - at its Southampton branch (pictured).
// John Lewis & Waitrose to launch customer experience-focused concept store in Southampton
// The shop will feature experts in cookery, gardening, beauty, fashion and gadgets as well as a farm shop & roof garden
// If successful, this “experience playground” model could be rolled out across the UK

John Lewis and Waitrose are set to launch a customer experience-centric concept shop at Southampton, as part of a trial that could be rolled out nationally if successful.

Located within the John Lewis Partnership’s Southampton store, the “experience playgrounds” concept will take centre stage on every floor and bring John Lewis and Waitrose closer together.

Highlights of the new concept include stay and play gadget areas, a new farm shop and roof garden from the partnership’s Leckford Estate, the first ever Waitrose Cookery School inside a John Lewis store, beauty and fashion gift experiences including a personal styling package, and specialist gardening talks and home consultations about garden redesign.


The Southampton store will also host pop-up workshops offering shoppers the opportunity to learn a new skill including photography and barista courses, wreath-making and modern calligraphy.

Shoppers can book time with experts and buy gift experience packages at the Southampton Experience Desk inside the store.

The customer experience concept will launch tomorrow (November 19).

John Lewis Partnership said that the trial at Southampton is successful, it could be rolled out across the country.

“Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in as many areas of their lives as we possibly can in a way that is uplifting and inspiring,” John Lewis customer experience director Peter Cross said.

“We know that shopping for a new gadget or beauty product can be a daunting experience, with so much choice on offer.

“We want to help navigate customers through that. Our new concept shop is an example of how we’re reinventing the department store of the future to make us stand out from the competition.”

The announcement comes a few weeks after John Lewis Partnership revealed plans to streamline its operations by bringing John Lewis and Waitrose closer together, rather than operate them as two separate businesses.

From February, the two retailers will continue to operate separately but will be managed by a single executive team instead.

The move is expected to lead to an overall cost saving of around £100 million over time, and around 75 roles from the current total of 225 senior management positions will be made redundant.

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  1. Experiential is the way ahead for traditional retails – I really hope this works for JLP and that other High Street stalwarts catch on before they disappear.

  2. That sound like JLP have really understood that all retailers need to ensure they have an Experiential environment in their stores if they want to attract shoppers. Well done!

  3. I’m happy that John Lewis and Waitrose are planning to please the customers. My concern is having a top management team for both businesses. Retail selling of food is totally different to selling the goods that John Lewis sell.

  4. This really is not the way forward for JLP. What they need to do first of all is inject a big slug of character into their dull and anodyne retail estate. Sitting in the top floor cafe at JL Southampton is dull as ditchwater – a drab space with a drab view, bog standard china, queues for food like in the Soviet Union. Why not have beautiful lighting fixtures – chandeliers even – with waiters and waitresses in smart outfits, a constantly evolving menu, lots of house plants. Just use your imagination instead of making everything look like it was designed by a committee of accountants!


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