Thursday, 25 March 2010

John Lewis Sees Its Future Online

Yesterday we watched the third part of the entertaining BBC documentary "Inside John Lewis", which had extensive coverage of the retailer's online operation, John Lewis Direct. The company very much sees its future in online retailing, and here are the facts and figures we learnt:

Hannah Belted Mac in Mint from John Lewis

- In 2009 John Lewis Direct did around £400m turnover.

- John Lewis Direct makes more money than their biggest real world store, John Lewis Oxford Street, which turns over around £300 million a year.

- With increasing internet access, their website is proving popular with older surfers, as they find it less effort than going to the shops (don't we all!)

- John Lewis sees the biggest expansion potential as being online, and are aiming to be the first bricks and clicks retailer (i.e. has both offline and online operations) that gets to a billion pounds online turnover within the next few years.

- In late 2009 they had online fashion sales targets of £750,000 a week, which they managed to meet. Fashion is seen as a very important sector for them online, and they have revamped their image to appeal to younger consumers as well as their core older market.

- A lot of time and effort can be spent photographing a knitted jumper for the website, so that it gives the right impression and does not look scruffy.

- As with the High Street business, the Managing Director Andy Street sees the business competing online through customer service. He feels he can distinguish the brand online by bringing service into the online selling equation, e.g. through a superior customer delivery service and through bringing John Lewis product expertise online. We ourselves have also noticed that John Lewis often offer superior warranties, e.g. their 5 year warranty on TVs.

- MD Andy Street said of the future of John Lewis, "It will be almost dominated by its online piece, that will become the shop window, the brand leader. It's a really big change in mindset. The role of the business will still be to edit choice and provide recommendations to the customer as to what really suits them."

Why not take a look at the John Lewis website now and see how they're doing.

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