John Lewis - The Hayes, Cardiff
Image Source: ell brown
Rebecca Wayman

John Lewis Partnership programme invests in startups to 'shape future of retail'

Today (October 29), the John Lewis Partnership’s retail tech innovation programme, JLAB has launched a challenge to find startups and established businesses which could shape how we shop in the future.

Successful entrants will have the opportunity to develop their ideas with John Lewis & Partners.

The retailer is investing in service and services, and has boosted its sales with the introduction of Experience Desks which offer customers concierge style shopping; and by rethinking and expanding its personal styling service.

John Lewis & Partners has also experimented with several events and experiences in its shops which have sold out, from gin masterclasses to cinema screenings.

Peter Cross, partner and director of customer experience at John Lewis & Partners, said: “As customer expectations of the shopping experience grow at the fastest pace in living memory, John Lewis & Partners is actively looking to engage with the brightest and most entrepreneurial minds in the nation…

“Whether that be a new technology solution to make shopping more convenient, or an idea that will fundamentally transform how the nation shops.”

This new experiential retail theme follows two other JLAB challenges that launched earlier this year - health and wellbeing and reducing the impact of plastic waste.

Research projects with Kafoodle and OME Health are now underway and Best in Bag have developed a prototype. Further discussions are also to be explored to see if the prototype can potentially work for the Partnership in 2019.

Four businesses who can help reduce plastic waste by reusing and reducing food, liquid and postal packaging were selected at last month’s pitch day.

One of the businesses - CupClub™ - will start a trial in the next few months within the Partnership’s head office in London and options are now being investigated with the three other businesses, with further discussions on how they can potentially work with the Partnership in the future.

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