John Lewis is opening its second little Waitrose shop in a department store.
The new branch will open in its Southampton store this year. The first little Waitrose in a John Lewis department store opened in Watford in June 2013 as a trial.
Speaking to a packed audience at RBTE on the secret to successful retailing in an omni-channel world, Simon Russell, director, retail operations and development, said the move was part of the retailer’s plans to evolve the role of its shops in future.
John Leiws has already introduced the Danish coffee bar, Joe & The Juice, at its Solihull department store and a Hotel Chocolat catering concession at its Edinburgh branch.
Russell told delegates shoppers would “see more of that to get people to stay in our shops for longer”.
John Lewis currently operates 40 stores, comprising 30 full line department stores, nine John Lewis at home shops and one flexible format store in Exeter. A second flexible format store will open in York in one month’s time. In addition, it operates 280 Waitrose stores.
According to Russell, web sales now account for just under 30% of turnover.
“The economics are really compelling,” he said, revealing multi-channel shoppers spend three and a half times more than store-only or web-only shoppers. They are also more loyal, he said.
Russell revealed the technologies John Lewis has deployed to encourage shoppers to change channels. They include provision of free Wi-Fi, in-store kiosks and investment in space for click and collect services.
“A high percentage who come into collect end up spending on other items they had not planned to do,” said Russell.
Click and collect, which is also available through 250 Waitrose stores, also helps drive footfall to Waitrose and attracts new customers to John Lewis, Russell said.
Investing in its people has been key in helping to convert shoppers from shop-only customers to multi-channel customers, Russell told delegates.
Despite 95% of staff having internet access outside work, John Lewis took partners on training courses to take them through the online transaction. It also transferred its staff discount scheme to a secure online site to enable partners to experience the .com business and become ambassadors for the brand.
KPIs were adapted to incorporate online sales data alongside shop sales. John Lewis also targeted growth in those online orders, which are created in the stores.
These measures have helped grow the online business from £540m in 2010 to £1.1bn in 2013, said Russell.