John Lewis is investing over £500m in its digital and data operations as part of a strategy which it hopes will see online sales overtake those in store within just four years.
At the heart of the huge investment programme will be greater analysis of shoppers and their buying habits to provide what managing director Andy Street calls a “seamless journey” for customers.
Parent company John Lewis Partnership – which also owns Waitrose – kicked off the data-driven strategy three years ago, hiring Lloyds data chief Paul de Laat as its first group customer insight director.
Since then, both John Lewis and Waitrose have launched loyalty programmes, MyJohnLewis and MyWaitrose, which have been gathering shopper insights to build a more detailed picture of customer behaviour.
At the time, De Laat said: “By turning customer data into actionable knowledge, we can enhance our relevance to customers and increase value both for our customers and for Waitrose and John Lewis.”
The investment in technology will also see the John Lewis build a state-of-the-art warehouse to process online orders as well as invest in IT systems, to be completed by the end of 2018. Street said this will add hundreds of recruits to the retailer’s technology department as online demand for products continues to soar.
Internet sales at John Lewis rose 13.6% in the week to December 5 compared with the same period last year.
Street expects online sales to overtake store sales in 2019 – a year ahead of his original forecast. Total sales at John Lewis last year were £4.1bn.
Street said of the change in forecasts: “This has not blown our assumptions out of the water – but it has moved them forward. It’s very reassuring because it endorses everything we are doing.”
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