// M&S completes rollout of Sparks “Book & Shop” service ahead of a second lockdown in England
// First major UK retailer to roll out appointment shopping to help customers plan ahead & avoid queues
// Follows successful launches in Scotland & Wales
Marks & Spencer has completed the national rollout of its Sparks “Book & Shop” online reservation service just as England prepares to enter a second lockdown for a month.
The service allows customers to use M&S’s website to book a guaranteed slot to shop at their local M&S store that sells food and grocery – removing the need to queue when they arrive, should there be one.
The Book & Shop service is available for use at 566 M&S food halls and larger M&S stores containing food halls.
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Start times are allocated in 30-minute intervals and on arrival, and customers – up to two people from one household – check-in with the hosts at the entrance of their local M&S store.
M&S said the Book & Shop service was trialled in 80 stores across Scotland and Wales following increased restrictions in those regions.
Sparks Book & Shop also allows M&S door hosts to manage the number of customers in store at any time – booking in customers with allocated slots and factoring in customers who have not reserved.
M&S said it remained committed to limiting the number of customers in store and was still using a counting app to ensure social distancing can be maintained at each one of them.
“With winter ahead, we know customers are increasingly concerned about queuing, so in response, we wanted to deliver a quick, digital solution to help them shop,” M&S stores director Helen Milford said.
“Designed by our in-house tech teams – Book & Shop does just that, helping Sparks customers guarantee a slot at a time that suits them and removing the need to queue should there be one.
“Of course customers will always be able to visit M&S without a slot but we hope this is a small way we can help make things a little easier for our customers.”