John Lewis is introducing a ‘concierge-style’ shopping experience to be trialled at its new service-led shop in Oxford as part of plans to reinvent the department store.
The new Oxford shop, which opens its doors on Tuesday 24 October, has one fifth of its floor space dedicated to services and experiences.
It will offer 21 different services in total, from travel advice to eye tests through to a children’s shoe fitting service, child car seat fitting advice and a nursery advice service.
Brand new services, meanwhile, will include a free personal styling service for men, free technology training workshops to help customers get the most out of their purchases and learn about the very latest technology, and John Lewis’ first express nail and brow bar.
At the heart of the three-floor, 120,000 sq ft shop will be an Experience Desk managed by John Lewis’ first ever brand experience manager.
Service Partners at the desk will be able to tell customers everything the store offers, book them into one of the exclusive events happening that day – such as a pop-up barbers shop or a make-up masterclass – help them choose the best partner for their styling or home design appointment, or book them a table at the Scandinavian rooftop restaurant, KuPP.
The 322 partners recruited to work at the new shop have been given bespoke training by The Oxford Playhouse, learning voice and body language skills used by actors to help them confidently deliver customer service in their own authentic way.
In addition to training, partners will also receive a new uniform created by John Lewis’ in-house fashion team. Updated each season, the uniform has been chosen to make partners stand out and showcase the retailer’s own-brand fashion, Kin.
For the first time, John Lewis will also be trialling new ‘hotel-style’ tours to show customers around the new shop.
“As part of our plans to differentiate the John Lewis brand and to reinvent the department store for the 21st century, our shops continue to be a place where customers come and experience our brand – the physical manifestation of what we stand for,” says Paula Nickolds, managing director at John Lewis.
“More than a route to selling things, our Oxford shop is a place that aims to inspire and delight our customers and is entirely focused on customer experience with partners and finishing details at the heart of that.”
Julie Blake, John Lewis Oxford’s head of branch, adds, “I was thrilled to be asked to run John Lewis’ 49th shop and help shape the future of this and other shops.
“My team and I cannot wait to welcome customers into the shop and tell them about all it has to offer; from pampering to fashion advice, dinner at our fantastic new rooftop Scandinavian restaurant, and workshops on and demonstrations on the very latest tech products.”
John Lewis has invested approximately £18 million in building the 120,000 sq ft shop, which is the anchor tenant at the new Westgate development.
The shop will stock over 55,000 products and more than one thousand different brands.