Jonathon Brown is Head of Online at John Lewis, and has played a key role in integrating the website with the rest of the company’s operations, as part of its multichannel approach to retail. 

Jonathon will be at Econsultancy’s JUMP event next month, talking about the multichannel measurement challenge: how to measure success across channels, and the best metrics to use. 

We don’t want to give too much away before the JUMP presentation, so I’ve been asking him about some other areas of John Lewis’ multichannel strategy… 

How effective have in store kiosks been in
driving sales?

Customers want to be able to use the channel they want at any time. As part of this multichannel approach, the website is key, as is mobile and catalogues. There are a myriad of touchpoints that we provide for customers. So customers can order in store, from our contact centre, or from the website 

Kiosks are an important part of this multichannel approach, and they have been
successful at driving significant volumes of sales through our stores.

We
provide the option if customers cannot find what they want in store, or if they
want to order something from the website with the convenience of having it
delivered to the store.

These kiosks drive
hundreds of sales every week from each of our stores.

You have been opening smaller At Home stores
recently – are the kiosks central to this strategy?

Yes, it’s about
providing the convenience of a local John Lewis store for customers, though
without the full department store offering. We use the kiosks and
our online capacity as a way of extending the range of products available to customers
through these stores.

These At Home stores
are driving greater usage of our in store ordering options. It works the other
way too. For example, the Croydon store drives the highest percentage of click
and collect orders of any of our branches.

Another interesting
point to note is that, when we open a new store, online sales from that area
increase. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it shows that having a brand
presence in the catchment area can drive sales through all channels 

With one channel driving transactions that take
place in another as in the case with reserve and collect, how do you apportion
credit for sales?

We run a catchment area
approach, so we look at the locality of sales and the share of customer spend
in each local area, whether it is online, through a contact centre, or a local
store.

It’s a very
cross-functional approach, we using all channels to drive all the sales, and recognise
that they all contribute.

For example, we can
drive incremental stores in sales from customers who arrive to collect products
they reserve online. We encourage them
to buy more in a number of ways. So in the
Glasgow store, we give customers a voucher which entitles them to a free
coffee in the café, and this encourages them to spend a bit more time in the
store.

What were the major
challenges in implementing multichannel at John Lewis?

The pace of change was
one of the major challenges, trying to run very quickly to deliver change while
still maintaining the quality of service. The company quickly grasped
the idea that a multichannel approach was important, and this has reaped
dividends.

You mentioned mobile
before, but you don’t currently have a site.
 Is this something you are planning?

We’ll be announcing this
very soon. In fact, by the time I speak at Jump, I’ll be talking about our new
mobile offering.  

Have you opted for a
mobile site or an app? Will it be transactional? 

We’ll start with a mobile
site, though apps may follow. The customer feedback is that, while apps are
great, the mobile site is the best approach. It will also be a
fully transactional mobile website.