Department store retailer John Lewis is looking to expand its online retailing services through arrangements with retail partners.
The current John Lewis ‘click & collect’ service, which operates through the retailer’s sister chain Waitrose, enables its online shoppers to collect orders from their nearest Waitrose store. Customers can also opt for the home delivery service if such collections are inconvenient for them.
The retailer has now revealed that it is in talks with a number of parties about growing the click-and-collect service; customers would have the opportunity to pick up their purchases from other retailers. John Lewis is “forging partnerships with others”, said its managing director Andy Street, who was speaking at the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Symposium.
British retailers would need no more than 70 outlets to reach every customer in Britain if retailers adopted an “omnichannel” strategy – selling goods from stores, over the Internet, smartphones and by click-and-collect – said the company’s MD.
With retail now being all about “clicks and bricks together,” said Street, online sales at John Lewis were growing at an annual pace of about 40 per cent. The Internet has allowed consumers to become more price-savvy: they can carry out competitor price monitoring online and using this pricing intelligence in their purchasing decisions. It has also enabled retailers to offer more competitive pricing as it offers them the opportunity to monitor the competition online.
Three formats were currently being developed at John Lewis: less “regional flaships”, a chain of smaller department stores and home furniture stores where customers could collect products bought on johnlewis.com.
“We believe that national coverage for an online retailer in 2020 is no more than about 60 or 70 shops,” said Street. He added that the days for needing 200 stores to cover the UK were “clearly history”.
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