// 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.
- John Lewis’ 2019 Christmas advert revealed, first festive campaign with Waitrose
- Waitrose Food & Drink Report reveals 61% shop online
- John Lewis Partnership launches click & collect pilot with Boden
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.