John Lewis trials latest shopping technology

John Lewis trialled three new technological developments in its department stores over the festive period.

John Lewis trials latest shopping technology

John Lewis Oxford Street became the first department store in the world to be fully mapped by Google Street View. The new service will be the largest of its kind with over 500 panoramas, allowing customers to navigate the retailer’s flagship shop and virtually walk through the aisles.

This experience has been designed by Ideal Insight to help busy shoppers plan their trips and navigate their way around the seven-floor department store. John Lewis says if the trial is successful, it could be rolled out to other branches in the next two years.

John Lewis Cheadle, John Lewis Brent Cross and Peter Jones trialled in-store transactional tablets, enabling customers to skip the queues at till banks and make their purchases directly with staff members who advised them. In a UK retail first, the tablets were fully linked to the shop’s till systems, allowing customers to fully complete their purchase in the shop or arrange home delivery. The tablets give shoppers instant access to a range of product information including customer ratings and reviews. The tablets were trialled in a number of departments including technology and white goods.

The Peter Jones and Watford shops were involved in the final development of a trial of ChargeBox, a free to use mobile phone charging station which provides 30 minutes of power for mobile phones, tablets and other devices, allowing customers to shop for longer without fear of falling out of touch with friends, family or the web.

Equipped with a variety of cables, shoppers simply locate the correct one for their phone or tablet, connect their device and lock it safely inside the individual unit while they shop. After 30 minutes, charging stops and the device remains securely locked until the owner returns with the key to release it.

Wall-mounted units were installed in both the audio and TV departments and free-standing units were located next to the Place to Eat in both shops. If successful it is hoped ChargeBox will be installed in other John Lewis shops in summer 2014.

Simon Russell, director, retail operations development at John Lewis, said: “We intend to keep investing and innovating in our shops so that they remain compelling and hassle-free places for customers, offering multiple reasons to visit them. Partly this will see us use an increasing amount of technology to make shopping easier and offer more ‘in shop help’. But this is also about offering inspiring experiences.”

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