As regular readers of our blog will know, we’ve been watching John Lewis with interest over the past couple of years as they seem to be one of the retailers that has been ‘getting it right’ in terms retail strategy. During these continued times of economic uncertainty in the UK high streets, John Lewis’ increased sales and ongoing success have been a reflection of their excellent policy for planning ahead and flexibility in adopting new retail technology in order to stay on top of their game in an increasingly volatile market. So, last week we were very interested to see that they have opened a new smart home display in their Oxford Street flagship store – embracing the growing popularity amongst consumers for interconnected devices and the rise of the ‘internet of things’.
The new display covers 1,000 square feet of prime retail space and has been developed in direct response to an 81% increase in smart home product sales at John Lewis over the last two years.
In addition to growing sales, the retailer noted a dramatic increase in online searchers for smart home products on their website and – as always – responded swiftly and directly to these trends – a strategy which has been paying dividends for the retailer so far.
Talking to Retail Week, Jonathan Marsh, buying director for electricals and home technology at John Lewis described the new smart home display as a move to demystify the latest smart technology for their customers:
“In-store experiences are now key as we’ve seen customer demand for physical experiences before committing to purchase increase.”
And it’s not just the customers that need to be demystified: The store’s core staff have all received extensive training to help them to be able to understand and effectively demonstrate all of the smart technology included in the display.
The new section comprises four displays of interactive technology; focused on kitchenware, entertainment, sleeping and home monitoring.
Products in the kitchen area include a Samsung refrigerator that allows you to monitor the contents of your fridge via a mobile app – and a smart oven that can be switched on and off remotely. Meanwhile the home monitoring display features a range of innovative interconnected gadgets including a home security camera that uses facial-recognition technology.
John Vary, Innovation Manager at John Lewis, explained why the new display is such a strong move for the store:
“Smart home technology is designed to make life more convenient, and the introduction of this new curated experience – the first on the high street – marks a brilliant step in innovation for John Lewis.
“Showcasing the latest smart products, this experience demonstrates in a real-life setting, how technology has exciting and far-reaching implications for today’s lifestyles.”
Once again, John Lewis have responded to consumer trends and taken swift steps to make sure they are ahead of the rest of the pack in delivering what customers want. We are sure others will be scrabbling to follow their lead – and we will be watching with interest to see what they do next.