John Lewis joins the online revolution

Wow, John Lewis is really pulling out all the stops. First the AW08 and SS09 ad campaigns with Karen Elson, then a fashion push in its online offering (fashion currently comprises only 6% of total sales, it aims for 30% by the end of the year). Online branded fashion and beauty ’boutiques’ are being rolled out with a total of 16 expected to be in place by the end of the year with Ralph Lauren, Bobbi Brown, Orla Kiely and Mulberry some of the names being bandied about so far.

On digging further, I’m told that the goal of this new push is to ‘reflect the instore experience online’. As well as translating the expertise that John Lewis prides itself on (Marie O’Riordan, ex-editor of Marie Claire, provides the trend tips), there is a focus on convenience. Customers can return their unwanted items to a branch instead of dealing with post offices (and postal strikes) and possibly – this is still being trialled – pick up purchases from a local Waitrose store. This is the kind of initiative that might get me interested as I’ve still not been bitten by the online bug.

Incidentally, Tesco has just launched its own fashion ecommerce site and Selfridges is aiming to follow suit with the full-on online fashion experience next year, so 2010 is really shaping up to be the year online fashion goes fully mainstream. But back to John Lewis. Still on the ‘expert’ tip, for the last year the store has been expanding on its personal shopping service. This month, the focus is on fashion guidance for graduates. Graduates going for job interviews will be invited to bring in interview-appropriate pieces from their existing wardrobe to be teamed with key items from John Lewis to bring them up to date. Tips on general professional presentation (nails, hair etc) are all part of the service. What a good idea. If there’s one thing the recession has done, it’s making retailers try harder and initiatives like this should help give John Lewis the edge over competitors. Let’s see what they come up with next.

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7 Responses to John Lewis joins the online revolution

  1. enc says:

    Oh, that IS brilliant. I can't think of any retailer that's offering to work with one already has instead of trying to persuade them to bulk up on only new items.

    I like J.L., and I think this is a great move.

  2. Style Bite says:

    Nice post:) I'm happy to see so many designers and retailers venturing online. While I still do most of my shopping in store, i usually end up making my final purchases online because I'm able to surf around and check for the best prices, and don't feel any pressure to make an impulse buy.

  3. That's Not My Age says:

    Oh yes I saw they were giving graduate tips, now there's an idea…

  4. Make Do Style says:

    I love John Lewis but they won't hit target, the ads are bland even though Karen looks great.
    I do think their ideas are good but … I will await the figures. I have a view on all of this…as you can tell!

  5. Couture Cookie says:

    Interesting developments in online shopping for sure… although I'm not sure how it will have any big effect on sales. Living in a big city, having everything at my fingertips, I don't really care much for online shopping. I like trying things on before I buy, and I think most people agree with me, regardless of their location.

  6. Blue says:

    there is something so lovely about John Lewis and it's very intresting they are upping up the brands in their stores but Peerrrrlease do a posting about how UTTERLY awful their advertising is ! it's sooo bad I've never seen Karen elson and jaquetta(sp!)look so crap .I'f John Lewis wants to get on board the fashion bus then they should hire a great stylist/photographer and new face . Phew I am glad I got that off my chest !
    Rant over
    btw. Good fashion week blogging x

  7. Rollergirl says:

    Hi Couture Cookie,
    Interesting what you say. I did think that 30% target was ambitious but I'm sure (I hope) they've done their research and didn't pluck that figure out of thin air! Like you, I'm from a big city but had never equated this as the reason I hadn't embraced ecommerce. And yet, you could be right, why shop online when you have Portobello, The Shop At Bluebird and Liberty on your doorstep? Mind you, everyone doesn't live in a big city and the convenience of online is clearly a big draw. Hmm, let's see,
    Maybe this time next year we'll be eating our words and picking-n-clicking like the rest of them!

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