Developed by micro-location specialist Localz, John Lewis trials technology that will help shoppers avoid queues to pick up click & collect parcels. The system, uses smartphones to identify customers’ exact location. Also automatically triggering a customer’s click & collect order to be picked up as they enter a shop or a carpark. It can also help them navigate their way around a store based on their own online shopping wish list.
The retailer believes the technology could cut down waiting times and lengthy queues for collection, which have caused serious delays at peak shopping times such as Black Friday and Christmas. John Lewis is investing heavily in omnichannel shopping, where online shopping as a percentage of total trade has more than tripled over the past eight years (from 10% to 33%).
The new tracking system is being trialled in its Peter Jones store in central London and will be further tested in stores in Watford and Cambridge. If successful, it could eventually be rolled out to all 43 John Lewis outlets across the UK and the 336 Waitrose shops where the click & collect facility is available. The project uses iBeacon around the exterior of the store, activated when customers with the new app in their smartphone are 70 metres away. The shopper is asked when they want to collect the parcel and back office staff are simultaneously alerted.
Paula Nickolds, director of buying and brand at John Lewis, said: “We have been focusing more and more on systems development and JLab is an opportunity to inject the startup spirit into our innovation efforts. We are very excited by what Localz has come up with, which lets you know when the customer is near or in the building.”
Following a successful first year in 2014, JLab will this year offer funding and office space to up to 10 startup businesses. At the end of the programme in October, one winning startup will receive a contract to trial its solution in John Lewis stores, and up to £100,000 in further investment.