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John Lewis invests £4m in in-store digital customer service initiative

John Lewis is to invest £4million in a new customer service initiative in 20 of its shops as it looks to strengthen its omnichannel customer experience.

DEPARTMENT STORES

John Lewis invests £4m in in-store digital customer service initiative

The plans will include 8,000 shop floor staff being given an iPhone loaded with a dedicated 'Partner App' designed to enable them to help customers with information about products, check stock availability, and place orders. The retailer said the move will mean that customers will no longer have to wait for staff to go to stock rooms to see whether a product is in stock, or check information at tills.

The app was designed and built by John Lewis's in-house online team using feedback from staff in its Cambridge shop where the project was tested with customers for five months. After a period of training, staff will see the mobile phones rolled out in the 20 stores this summer.

John Lewis said the app gives staff visibility of stock availability in all shops and at John Lewis's warehouse in Milton Keynes, where online orders are fulfilled, as well as product information, customer reviews, the ability to email customers product information and to place orders. During the busiest week in the trial, half of all online purchases made in the shop assisted by a staff member were made using the app.

Craig Inglis, John Lewis's customer director, said: “As online and physical worlds increasingly come together, this initiative, which forms the foundation of our digital strategy for shops, will support our Partners in offering great customer service in a digital world.

“During the trial in our Cambridge store, customer feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It consistently speeded up response times to customer queries as Partners didn't need to leave the customer to find answers, or complete a purchase. This is just the beginning. We will keep adding to the Partner App in the future with new, innovative ways to help our customers.”

Earlier this year the retailer introduced a self check-in option at its collection desks in shops. Customers wanting to use this put their order number into an iPad while they are queuing, and the staff member serving them greets them with their order.

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